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Sage Tea for Cough and Sore Throat (Recipe)

1 serving

Recipe for Sage Tea

You may have already seen it in the shops: sage mouthwash or gargle supposed to help kill bacteria and viruses in the mouth and throat. Or perhaps your mother made you drink hot sage tea whever you had a sore throat or persistent cough as a child. The point is, sage has been widely used as a natural remedy for all sorts of diseases and health problems affecting the mouth and throat. From sore throats, coughs and halitosis (bad breath) to laryngitis, tonsillitis and canker sores, the range of oral diseases sage tea has been claimed to prevent or treat is wide. But the interesting question is, has sage tea actually been shown to live up to these health claims? In this article, we take a look at the science behind the purported anti-cough and sore throat fighting properties of this medicinal tisane, plus provide tips on where you can buy sage tea in the UK or US. But before we delve into all that, let's take a look at a basic recipe for sage tea. This recipe will help you make the perfect cup of sage tea, regardless of whether you use dried leaves bought from the store or fresh sage leaves picked from your garden:


  • 1 U.S. cup water
  • 1 tsp dried sage (or 2 tsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp buckwheat honey


  • Place the dried sage inside of a tea sieve. If you're using fresh leaves, use double the amount (as per our conversion formula for fresh / dried sage). If you're using fresh sage leaves from your garden for your tea, it is also good to know that 7 whole leaves is approximately equivalent to 2 teaspoons of minced fresh leaves.
  • Heat the water in nonreactive pot to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat source. Plunge the tea sieve into the water. Steep for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove tea sieve and place aside. Pour your sage tea into a cup or mug, and sweeten it with buckwheat honey if you like. One of the most-touted health benefits of buckwheat honey is its ability to reduce coughing. An intriguing study published in the December 2007 edition of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that children who took a small amount of buckwheat honey before bedtime experienced less nocturnal cough than children who took dextromethorphan, a common cough-suppressing drug.
  • Enjoy your cup of healing sage tea, and if you like, make yourself another cup using the same recipe. But do not go overboard with your sage tea consumption – sage tea contains thujone, a substance that may cause serious side effects and adverse reactions if consumed in high amounts.

Is Sage Tea Really Good for a Sore Throat and Coughs? Review of the Evidence

In 2006, a team of German scientists published an interesting study on the effects of sage on acute viral pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx caused by a virus and manifested by a sore throat). The researchers investigated the effects of mouth sprays containing sage extracts against a placebo, and found that a spray that contains 140 microliters of sage extract performed much better than the placebo and reduced throat pain significantly in the pharyngitis patients enrolled in this study. Furthermore, only mild side effects (such as a dry throat or a mild burning sensation in the mouth) were noted, suggesting that not only are sage sprays effective, they also appear to sage. This randomized, double-blind appeared in the January 2006 edition of the renowned European Journal of Medical Research.

In another clinical trial, researchers compared the efficacy of a sage/echinacea spray against a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray, a common medication used in the treatment of acute sore throats. The results were astonishing: the sage/echinacea preparation was as effective as chlorhexidine/lidocaine in reducing sore throat symptoms. This randomized, double-blind, double-dummy controlled trial appeared in the September 2009 issue of the European Journal of Medical Research in 2009.

In addition to the antiviral and antiseptic properties of sage that are believed to be responsible for many of its beneficial effects, the simple fact that sage tea is typically drunk hot may play a role in its ability to fight cough and sore throat. Researchers at the Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre have found that drinking a hot beverage provided immediate relief from common cold symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat and sneezing. When the test drink, which contained apple and blackcurrant juice, was consumed at room temperature, not positive effects were observed.

Other Health Benefits of Sage Tea

Aside from its cough-suppressant and sore throat combating properties, sage tea has a number of other qualities that make it an excellent health-protecting drink when consumed in moderation. Some of the other potential health benefits of sage (Salvia officinalis) include improved memory and cognitive function, protection against chronic inflammation, and increased alertness. Sage has also been shown to reduce sweating and hot flashes, which is particularly good news for the millions of women going through menopause around the world.

Where to Buy Sage Tea (as Loose Leaf Tea or in Tea Bags)

If you don't have a garden where you can grow your own sage, don't worry – herbal teas containing dried sage leaves, along with other caffeine-free herbs, are available in many supermarkets. However, if you want to buy pure sage tea that only contains sage, you might have to visit a specialty store, or check out some online shops that sell herbal teas.

If you don't have the patience to browse the websites of individual online shops, you may want to directly head to Amazon. Amazon's US branch has an impressive range of sage leaf teas available here , while their UK branch caters to the shopping needs of sage tea fans here .

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