Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sage - a Versatile Medicinal Herb Used in Traditional Hair Treatments
Author: Christiana Roberts
Sage, also known under its botanical names Salvia officinalis or Salvia salvatrix, is a universal flavouring and medicinal herb, a native of the Northern Mediterranean coast and the American continent. For many centuries, it has been used as a powerful folk medicine to treat a number of health and cosmetic conditions, including hair loss and greying hair. A stimulant and an anti-bacterial plant, it has been traditionally applied to treat indigestion, ulcers, dandruff, bleeding gums, sore throat, fever, and a number of nervous diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine values sage as an herb able to combat liver, kidney, lung, blood, and stomach diseases. Sage infusions are known to cure joint pains, wounds, nervous headaches, excessive perspiration, lethargy, and even measles!
Long ago, miraculous healing qualities of sage were noticed by ancient Greeks, Romans, Native Americans, Arabs, and Asians. Sage was believed to have healing, strengthening, and purifying qualities. Spiritual ceremonies of American aboriginals still include burning sage to “clean” the spirit before it enters supernatural realms. Ancient Arabs praised sage for its curative powers, as a general tonic, and as a medicine for snakebites; Arab women used it extensively to keep their hair dark, thick, and healthy. Smoking sage was believed to cure coughs, chest colds, and asthma. In the Middle Ages, sage was even considered a “cure-all”.
In many cultures, sage has gained a reputation of a miraculous hair medicine. Sage applications were considered the most effective natural therapies to reverse baldness and restore the dark colour of greying hair. In “The Book of Natural Remedies for Ancient Ills” by classical English physician Nicolas Culpepper, we can read that sage preparations were extensively used in antiquity to combat the fall of hair.
Ancient Greek doctor and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides in his famous book “De Materia Medica” mentioned that drinking sage tea could make greying hair restore its black colour, while topical applications of fresh sage juice were able to treat baldness.
According to the book “Sage: The Genus Salvia” by Anthony C. Dweck, common sage is a great hair-toning aid. In order to prepare a toning hair infusion, fresh sage leaves should be brewed in water and then applied to the scalp and hair. To treat alopecia, Anthony C. Dweck recommends to use freshly-made sage infusions as a hair lotion, massaging the brew into the scalp three times a week. These treatments are also said to promote the health of hair and ensure its shiny glow.
The Dweck’s book mentions that sage preparations are particularly good to strengthen the hair roots, stimulate hair growth, and deepen the rich colour of naturally black hair. Historically, elderly African Americans used to make sage tonics for hair applications to maintain their hair strong, black ,and shiny, he writes.
Naturally-occurring volatile oil in sage is, probably, the main ingredient that does miracles to support the strength of hair.
Sage preparations work especially good when combined with rosemary - another traditional hair remedy. A very beneficial hair lotion can be made from equal parts of sage and rosemary leaves slowly simmered in water for several minutes and then steeped, covered, for a few hours. The brew should be rubbed into the scalp and hair every night as a wonderful strengthening medicine to fight hair loss, rejuvenate the hair follicles, maintain the colour, and ensure the growth of thick, healthy locks.