Mundane & Magickal Uses Of Sage

Mundane & Magickal Uses Of Sage

Plant/herb – Sage (Salvia Officinalis)


Sage (Salvia Officinalis) is a herb that is native to the Mediterranean region, however it has been cultivated worldwide for thousands of years. A member of the Mint (Lamiaceae) family, Sage has been in recorded use since ancient Egyptian times for medicinal and magickal purposes. Sage can be used as a spice, herb, tea, essential oil, or burned as a smudge stick/smoke cleansing herb bundle.


Climate and Soil:

  • Sage is native to the Mediterranean region and thrives in warm, sunny climates.
  • It prefers well-draining soil with good fertility and a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.


  • Sage can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, or division.
  • Seeds can be sown indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost or directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.
  • Cuttings can be taken from mature plants in the spring or early summer and rooted in a moist, well-draining potting mix.


  • Plant sage in a location with full sun exposure. If the climate is very hot, some afternoon shade may be required.
  • Space plants about 18-24 inches apart to allow for adequate air circulation.
  • When planting seeds, sow them shallowly and cover lightly with soil.


  • Sage is drought-tolerant once established and prefers infrequent but deep watering.
  • Water newly planted seedlings regularly until they establish strong roots.
  • Avoid overwatering, and never allow sage to sit in water as it is susceptible to root rot in excessively wet soil.


  • Applying a layer of organic mulch around sage plants can help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  • Use materials like straw, shredded leaves, or compost for mulching.


  • Sage generally doesn't require much fertilization, especially if grown in nutrient-rich soil.
  • If soil fertility is poor, you can apply a balanced fertilizer sparingly in the spring.


  • Sage should be pruned lightly in the spring to remove any dead or woody growth and to maintain its shape.
  • Avoid heavy pruning, as sage tends to grow slowly and can be sensitive to excessive trimming.

Harvesting and Drying:

  • Sage should be allowed to grow for a season prior to harvesting leaves.
  • Sage leaves can be harvested once the plant is established and mature,
    harvesting sage
    usually in its second year of growth.
  • Harvest leaves in the morning when the aromatic oils are most concentrated.
  • Cut stems just above a set of leaves using clean, sharp scissors or shears.
  • To dry sage, tie the stems into small bundles and hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
  • Once fully dried, strip the leaves from the stems and store them in airtight containers away from heat and moisture.

Mundane Uses of Sage: 

Sage has been used for thousands of years in varying mundane practices. Aside from being a valuable culinary herb, Sage was also a foundational healing plant in medieval European gardens and apothecaries. Some of the mundane uses of Sage include:

Culinary uses of Sage

  1. Seasoning for Meats & Cheeses: Sage is frequently used to season meats & cheeses, particularly poultry, pork, and sausages. It adds a savory, earthy flavor that compliments the richness of meat dishes.

  2. Flavouring for Stuffing and Dressing: Sage is a classic ingredient in stuffing or dressing for poultry, such as turkey, chicken, or duck. Its aromatic flavor enhances the taste of the stuffing and pairs well with other ingredients like bread, onions, celery, and herbs.

  3. Herb Butter or Compound Butter: Sage-infused butter, also known as compound butter, is delicious when spread on bread, used to flavour

    sage butter on bread

    vegetables, or melted over grilled meats. It can be made by blending chopped sage leaves into softened butter along with other herbs and seasonings.

  4. Sage Pesto: Sage can be used to make a flavourful pesto sauce by blending fresh sage leaves with olive oil, garlic, nuts (such as pine nuts or walnuts), Parmesan cheese, and salt. This pesto can be served with pasta, grilled vegetables, or as a spread on sandwiches.

  5. Sage Risotto: Sage adds depth and aroma to creamy risotto dishes. Simply sauté chopped sage leaves with onions or garlic before adding rice and broth to make a delicious sage-infused risotto.

  6. Herb Roasted Potatoes: Sage pairs well with potatoes, especially when roasted. Toss potatoes with olive oil, chopped sage leaves, garlic, salt, and pepper before roasting in the oven until crispy and golden brown.

  7. Sage-infused Soups and Stews: Adding fresh or dried sage leaves to soups and stews enhances their flavor profile. Sage complements the savory flavours of vegetables, beans, and meats in hearty dishes like bean soup, potato soup, or beef stew.

  8. Sage-infused Pasta Sauces: Sage can be used to flavor pasta sauces, particularly cream-based or butter-based sauces. Sauté sage leaves in butter or olive oil before adding cream, cheese, and seasonings to create a rich and aromatic sauce for pasta dishes.

  9. Sage-infused Beverages: Sage can be used to flavour beverages like cocktails, teas, and lemonades. Infuse sage leaves in simple syrup or muddle them with other ingredients to add a unique herbal note to drinks.

  10. Sage-infused Breads and Biscuits: Adding chopped sage leaves to bread dough or biscuit batter imparts a fragrant aroma and savory flavor to baked goods. Sage bread or biscuits pair well with soups, stews, or served as a side dish with meals.

 Aromatic Properties Of Sage

Aromatically, Sage has a strong, pungent fragrance due to it's volatile oils. It is often used in more masculine fragrances due to its pungent aroma.

  1. Perfumery: Sage is used as a fragrance note in perfumery to add depth, complexity, and herbal freshness to perfumes and colognes. Its aromatic profile blends well with other scent notes, such as citrus, floral, woody, and spicy notes, creating balanced and sophisticated fragrance compositions.
  2. Candles and Home Fragrance: Sage-scented candles and home fragrance products are popular for their aromatic qualities and ability to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Sage candles can be used to freshen up indoor spaces, eliminate odors, and promote relaxation and well-being.
  3. Incense: Burning dried sage leaves as incense releases a fragrant smoke
    sage incense
    that purifies the air and creates a soothing ambiance. Sage incense is commonly used in spiritual and ceremonial rituals, meditation practices, and aromatherapy sessions to cleanse and purify the environment and promote mental clarity and spiritual connection.
  4. Room Sprays and Air Fresheners: Sage-infused room sprays and air fresheners are used to add a natural and refreshing aroma to indoor spaces. They can be sprayed in rooms, closets, linens, or cars to eliminate odors, neutralize unpleasant smells, and create a clean and inviting atmosphere.
  5. Potpourri and Sachets: Dried sage leaves can be incorporated into potpourri blends or sachets to release their aromatic fragrance gradually. Sage potpourri can be displayed in decorative bowls or sachets placed in drawers, closets, or linens to add a subtle herbal scent and freshen up the surroundings.
  6. Aromatherapy Products: Sage essential oil is used in aromatherapy products, such as diffusers, inhalers, and massage oils, to harness its therapeutic properties and aromatic benefits. Diffusing sage oil in the air or adding it to massage blends can promote relaxation, reduce stress, and uplift the mood.
  7. Personal Care Products: Sage is used as a fragrance ingredient in various personal care products, including soaps, shampoos, lotions, and body sprays. Its aromatic scent adds a refreshing and herbal note to skincare and haircare products, leaving a lingering fragrance on the skin and hair.
  8. Herbal Baths and Bath Products: Adding sage leaves or sage essential oil to bathwater or bath products creates a luxurious and aromatic bathing experience. Sage-infused bath salts, bath bombs, or bubble baths can help relax the body, soothe the senses, and promote overall well-being.

Medicinal Properties of Sage

Revered for its healing properties, the name of the genus Salvia is derived from the Latin salvere, 'to be saved', relating to the curative properties of the herb.  Sage has a long list of properties including:

  1. Sage is topical anesthetic, antinociceptive, antiseptic, astringent, stimulant, styptic (can stop bleeding), tonic & carminative.

Medicinal Uses Of Sage

  1. In ancient Greek society, Sage was used for memory enhancement. Sage promotes mental clarity and has been linked to increased longevity.
  2. Sage has been said to be useful in preventing cognitive decline in the elderly. Studies have linked Sage with slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
  3. Taken as a tea, Sage will help to settle an upset stomach and ease
    sage tea
  4. Sage tea is also said to aid in decreasing anxiety levels and helping to lift depression.
  5. Sage tea can be used as a skin wash to treat ulcers and to heal raw abrasions of the skin.
  6. Sage is said to be good for the teeth and gums. A Sage gargle can be used for sore throats, bleeding gums and to prevent an excessive flow of saliva. To make a gargle, boil a cup of water and add 1/2 tsp dried sage (1tsp fresh) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder. Cover and let steep until room temp. Strain and use as a gargle.
  7. Taken as a tea with honey, sage is a valuable remedy for sore throats.
  8. Used as a hair rinse, sage can make hair shiny, healthy and can prevent graying.
  9. Sage can be burnt in sick rooms to help cleanse the air- do not burn sage or any  other material near people with respiratory ailments.
  10. Sage has been said to reduce blood sugar by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin .
  11. Sage has been said to have anti cancer properties.
  12. Sage can help to reduce cholesterol.
  13. Sage has also been credited with reducing hot flushes in menopausal women. 

Caution: While Sage is generally considered safe for culinary and aromatic use, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes, especially if you're pregnant, nursing, or have any underlying health conditions.

*Sage should be used with doctor/herbalists guidance whilst pregnant or breastfeeding as it can slow milk production.


 Magickal Uses Of Sage

Folk Names: Common Sage, Garden Sage, Red Sage, Sawge

Gender: Masculine, Hot

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Earth, Air

Powers: Banishing, Cleansing, Healing, Immortality, Longevity, Prosperity, Protection, Purification, Wisdom, Wishes. 

 Parts Used: The whole herb, the leaves

Magically, Sage is seen as a spiritual teacher and has been used to help individuals uncover their own secrets and find their inner truth. It has long been associated with wisdom- hence the term 'sage advice'. Also known to be an emotionally healing plant, especially for the healing of grief, it was customary in some churchyards, to sow all of the graves with Sage.

Seen as a herb or prosperity, it was traditionally held that the Sage plant would thrive or wither, in line with the success of the owner's business.

sage leaves

It is said by some to be bad luck to plant Sage in your own garden and as such you should have someone else plant it for you.

Sage is most commonly used for purification and protection, however it is also commonly used these days for fertility magick and invoking luck and prosperity.


How to use Sage in Magick

  1. Dried Sage can be added to sachets for spells. Added to a green sachet for healing or prosperity, black for protection etc.
  2. Dried Sage can be used in prosperity spells- add the dried herb to a green or gold sachet, or dress a green or gold candle with dried sage and use in a prosperity spell.
  3. Sage bundles, incense or the loose herb can be burnt to cleanse an area of negativity.
  4. Sage smudge sticks, bundles, incense or the dried herb can be used to cleanse magickal tools.
  5. Sage bundles, incense or the loose herb can be burned as part of a
    sage smudge stick
    protection spell. Sage can also be used to dress a candle for protection magick.
  6. Sage can be used to invoke spiritual purity. It is burned to help one ground, and centre prior to undertaking magick.
  7. Sage can be carried in a herbal sachet to promote wisdom.
  8. It is said that if you wish something to become manifest, you write your desire on a sage leaf and stick it underneath your pillow. If you dream of your wish it is said that it will come true, however If after three nights of sleeping over your wish, you have not had a dream of your desire, bury the Sage leaf so that you will not come to any harm.

Do your own research before working with each ingredient always and consult sources from your own ancestral background. What is right for me in my situation, may be completely wrong for you.

Are Sage & White Sage The Same Thing?

Most people these days when referring to Sage (especially in the context of magick) are often referring to White sage (Salvia apiana) . Most of the Sage Smudge sticks that you see in new age shops are made with White Sage. So what is the difference between Sage and White Sage? Belonging to the same genus (Salvia), White Sage (Salvia apiana) has a more resinous scent than

white sage vs common sage

Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) and is more often used in magick i.e. rituals, smoke cleansing etc. Common Sage is more often used in mundane applications such as cooking, medicine etc. In fact, due to its thujone content, White Sage should not be consumed in large quantities and should not be consumed or burnt by pregnant people without direction from a medical professional.

What About The Ethical Issues Around Using White Sage

White Sage is a controversial herb. White Sage has become popular since the 60's, especially with the new age community and there has been some major issues with overharvesting and cultural appropriation. Whilst we have an article that we wrote here, and our opinions have changed over time, and keep evolving as we discover new evidence/opinions, we advise you to do your own research on this topic and make up your own mind as to whether or not you wish to use white sage in your practice. 

The white sage smudge sticks we sell are made in Australia, from white sage grown in Australia. They do not come from America where there have been major issues with overharvesting and commercialisation of white sage.

If you wish to view our collection of herb cleansing bundles "smudge sticks", click here. 

Let us know what you think about this fantastic plant. Do you grow it? If so what has been your experience with it? Do you use it for mundane purposes, magickal purposes, or both? We'd love to hear your experiences.

Please note: This information is for entertainment purposes only and should not replace medical advice.  I am not a qualified herbalist/ doctor and am only reporting self researched information.


Darcey, C. (2018). The Book Of Herb Spells (p. 165). Rockpool Publishing.
Diaz, J. (2020). Plant Witchery (pp. 287-288). Hay House.
Dunbar, J. (2022). Secrets From A Herbalists Garden (pp. 24-25, 74). Watkins Publishing.
Cunningham, S. (2021). Magical Herbalism (18th ed., pp. 90, 196-7). Llewellyn Publishing.
Mastros, S. L. (2021). The Big Book Of Magical Incense (pp. 59-60). Weiser Books.
Nock, J. A. (2014). The Modern Witchcraft Guide To Magickal Herbs (pp. 133-4). Adams Media. Grieve, M., Mrs (1978). A Modern Herbal (pp. 700-705). Penguin Books.
Cunningham, S. (2006). Cunningham's Encyclopedia Of Magical Herbs (2nd ed., p. 223). Llewellyn Publications.
F. (n.d.). White sage: Plant, care & effects of the sacred sage. Plantura Magazine.
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