What Are the Benefits of Sage Tea for Lung Problems?

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a perennial woody-stemmed herb which remains evergreen in milder climates and regrows each spring in areas with harsher winters. Sage has long oval-shaped pebbly-textured leaves which give off a heady aroma, which arises from sage's essential oils. These oils are the source of the many benefits of sage tea for lung problems and common respiratory ailments.

Two cups of herbal sage tea on a table. Credit: OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images

Cough

Sage tea is a traditional treatment for sore throats and coughs, reports Dr. Tieraona Low Dog at Integrative Practitioner, an informational website for practitioners of integrative medicine. Traditional use of sage tea for coughs spans the globe. The Ohlone people, indigenous inhabitants of the central coast area of California, used local varieties of sage (Salvia apiana and Salvia melliflera) for cough treatment. A 2006 study of indigenous uses of local medicinal plants in Azad jammu and Kashmir by a researcher at the Department of Botany of the University of Azad jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, determined that sage leaf tea was being used to treat coughs, colds and sore throats. The Georgetown University Medical Center reports that sage tea is used commonly in Europe for treatment of coughs. As a side benefit, sage tea has been demonstrated in at least one pilot clinical trial to reduce plasma LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels, and it is also rich in antioxidants, according to Georgetown University Medical Center.

Infections

Sage is an expectorant which helps expel mucous from the respiratory track, according to Ayurvedic practitioner Vikrama, writing at drvikrama'sfriendlyholisticherbalist. Sage tea is effective even in the severe case of hemoptysis, or hemorrhaging from the lungs brought on by respiratory infection, Dr. Vikrama reports. Salvia officinalis has antibacterial, astringent and antiseptic properties, advises the Georgetown University Medical Center. These properties may account for sage's usefulness in treating lung disorders. Coughing up phlegm or blood may be indicative of a serious health condition, however, so be sure to consult a physician and follow medical advice before engaging in self-treatment with sage tea.

Sinusitis and Lung Congestion

The rich aromatic properties arising from sage's volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene and salvene can be put to use by inhaling sage tea's vapors to dispel lung disorders and sinusitis, Dr. Vikrama advises. Crush a handful of fresh sage leaves in between your fingers, place them in a bowl and pour in hot water, then drape a towel over your head and breathe in the fumes. Alternatively, brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or a vaporizer. But avoid sage tea during pregnancy, the Georgetown University Medical Center advises. It may stimulate contractions of the uterine muscles.

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