Since as early as I can remember, if we had tea, it was flavored with dried sage leaves, or “maramiya” in Arabic. Stomach ache? Maramiya. Sore throat? Maramiya. Cold? Maramiya. It is the Palestinian go-to herb of choice, like Windex in the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
But, it turns out the benefits of sage tea are not just old wives’ tales. There is much to be said for the aromatic herb. The ancient Greeks used it for sore throats, ulcers, wounds and bleeding, among other things. The Chinese valued it. The Germans found in one study that it reduced perspiration by 50 percent. It can be gargled to treat sore throats and mouth ulcers.
Sage has been shown to benefit the following:
as a steam inhalation for asthma attacks
removes mucus congestion
sore throats: drink or use as gargle
reduces breast milk
in vitro studies shows it is effective on E-coli and Salmonella.
useful to aid in treating yeasts and fungi infections
has astringent and antiseptic properties which allow it to do the above
How to make black tea with sage:
Make black tea as usual and add a fourth of a teaspoon of dried leaves to the cup. It can get very strong very quickly, so start out by using a little until you decide how strong you like it. The leaves will float, so you will have to take them out when you want to drink. I suggest a tissane to be able to lift the leaves out easily. For a pot of tea that serves 5 cups, one tablespoon is enough, depending on how strong you like the flavor. Dried sage leaves are what we always use, but fresh will do. You can find dried sage the spice section, and sometimes in the produce section you will find them in a box brought in from Lebanon.
How to make pure sage tea for medicinal purposes:
Put in one to two teaspoons in a mug and add freshly boiled water. Cover and let is soak for at least five minutes or more. (see the picture at the top of the post) Then use as desired. If the leaves are left in too long, the tea becomes bitter. It is important not to boil the leaves, as it will boil away their benefits.
Word of caution: if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid drinking sage teas. They have an estrogenic effect and therefore will dry milk and may affect pregnancy.
If you haven’t tried sage tea before, please try it instead of mint tea, or you can mix the two for a refreshing and relaxing tea. If you already know how great this tea is, but have stopped drinking it in favor of other flavors, consider bringing this back to your tea routine. I have tea with sage, or “shay bil maramiya” with breakfast or after dinner at least a few times a week. It is the perfect drink with a za’ater manoushe. Enjoy!