How To Make A Tincture

Sage Tincture Recipe

Salvia officinalis and Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage)




a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol
Similar: solution suspension infusion potion elixir extract essence

Sage Advice

European Sage can be taken as a memory ‘tonic’, to help improve and maintain our cognitive function as we age. It has clinical evidence to verify its use. As preventative medicine use regularly as a tea and as a foodstuff, or, try making a tincture. Tinctures are a convenient way to take a plant medicine, more potent with improved bioavailability, and more stable – preserving the active chemicals – than for example, using and storing a medicinal tea long term.


Best in May, but leaves are delicious in wintertime when they  are less bitter. Harvest the ‘herb’ – note that ‘herb’ means the top third of the plant – small new stems, flower & leaf (remove any thick or woody stems).

Preferably harvest in May – when harvested before the flowers open in May one of the active ingredients 1,8-cineole is at its highest. 1,8-cineole reaches the brain to boost the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, our brain’s main signal for attention and memory. 

Use fresh or dry it / for winter use – 2 weeks hanging in an aerated place out of sunlight, once ‘crisp dry’ store air-tight in the dark.

Sage 1:1 Tincture Recipe

This is a 1:1 tincture – so equal parts of fresh European (‘common’) sage herb (available in supermarkets) to an equal volume of your favourite alcohol (35-40% ABV) for example, for 500g herb, add 500ml alcohol.

Place both in a glass sealable container, ensure all herb is covered, store at room temperature in the dark and agitate daily for 2-4 weeks; filter and sweeten (it can be bitter) with ‘a spoonful of sugar’, date syrup or similar, if preferred. Store liquid in a dark brown airtight glass bottle at room temperature, out of the sunlight and reach of children. This will keep for 2 years.

Adults take 5ml (1 teaspoon) 2-3 times per day.

DO NOT TAKE IN pregnancy, epilepsy, hypertension or oestrogen related cancer*.

The Physic Shop

Items from The Physic Shop that contain European sage are Memory Tea, Memory TinctureRespiratory TeaProtect Atomiser and Alert Pulse-Point.

Read more about how to grow sage and other medicinal plants for the mind in Grow Your Own Physic Garden.


Before taking any plant at a medicinal level, always consult a NIMH (National Institute of Medical Herbalists) medical herbalist and inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, have any medical condition, allergy or are taking any medication.

Always be sure of the identity of your plant, and grow, harvest, prepare and store your plant material following the exact guidelines – this ensures that the bioactive phytochemicals are present and stable.

Source plant medicine products from an established reputable source. Read any caution and do not exceed the recommended dose & duration – but note that there is an effective medicinal dose & duration to reach clinical efficacy.

Effective plant medicine is about individual prescription to your whole condition in order to get to the root of the problem, and it can take time to treat long-term conditions. When using plant medicine for the first time we recommend consulting a medical herbalist from the NIMH to find out what benefits you most.

Scientific Research

Lopresti AL. Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects. Drugs R D. 2017 Mar;17(1):53-64. doi: 10.1007/s40268-016-0157-5. PMID: 27888449; PMCID: PMC5318325.

Wightman EL, Jackson PA, Spittlehouse B, Heffernan T, Guillemet D, Kennedy DO. The Acute and Chronic Cognitive Effects of a Sage Extract: A Randomized, Placebo Controlled Study in Healthy Humans. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 14;13(1):218. doi: 10.3390/nu13010218. PMID: 33466627; PMCID: PMC7828691.

Tildesley NT, Kennedy DO, Perry EK, Ballard CG, Savelev S, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) enhances memory in healthy young volunteers. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):669-74. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00122-9. PMID: 12895685.

Perry NSL, Menzies R, Hodgson F, Wedgewood P, Howes MR, Brooker HJ, Wesnes KA, Perry EK. A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial of a combined extract of sage, rosemary and melissa, traditional herbal medicines, on the enhancement of memory in normal healthy subjects, including influence of age. Phytomedicine. 2018 Jan 15;39:42-48. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.08.015. Epub 2017 Aug 18. PMID: 29433682.

Tildesley NT, Kennedy DO, Perry EK, Ballard CG, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Positive modulation of mood and cognitive performance following administration of acute doses of Salvia lavandulaefolia essential oil to healthy young volunteers. Physiol Behav. 2005 Jan 17;83(5):699-709. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.09.010. PMID: 15639154.

Perry NS, Houghton PJ, Sampson J, Theobald AE, Hart S, Lis-Balchin M, Hoult JR, Evans P, Jenner P, Milligan S, Perry EK. In-vitro activity of S. lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) relevant to treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2001 Oct;53(10):1347-56. doi: 10.1211/0022357011777846. PMID: 11697542.

Shopping Basket

Support Our Current Projects

Write `I Confirm` below to confirm that you are a UK tax payer and wish Dilston Physic Garden to claim Gift Aid on all donations you have made in the last four years and any future donations you make.
Scroll to Top