Herb of the Month: Sage

Learn more about Sage, our herb of the month for December from Gaby Wieland, our feature Herbalist for the month. She is a qualified Naturopath, Herbalist, Reiki Master, Reflexologist and Cooking instructor.


History

The name Salvia is derived from the Latin ‘salveo’ meaning ‘I save or heal’, because some species have been highly regarded medicinally. The Greeks used it to heal ulcers and snake bites. The Romans considered it a sacred herb to be gathered for ceremonies. A special knife was used, not made from iron because sage reacts with iron salts. Sage was held to be good for the brain, the senses and memory. It also made a good gargle and mouthwash and was used as toothpaste.

Health Benefits

  • It is an excellent remedy for colds and fevers and should be taken at the first signs of any respiratory infections. It relieves tonsillitis, bronchitis, asthma, catarrh, and sinusitis while also of great use as a mouth wash or gargle.
  • Sage will enhance the immune system and help to prevent infections and auto-immune problems.
  • The volatile oils have a relaxant effect on the smooth muscle of the digestive tract, they stimulate the appetite and improve digestion. Sage encourages the flow of enzymes and bile, settles the stomach, wind indigestion and nausea. Its antiseptic properties are helpful in infections such as gastroenteritis.
  • It relieves night sweats in menopausal women. Due to its tonic and phytoestrogenic properties sage is used in reducing hot flushes.
  • Sage is a tonic to the nervous system and has been used to enhance strength and vitality.
  • Sage stops the flow of breast milk and is excellent for weaning.
  • Contains powerful antioxidant properties, helping to delay the aging process and reduce the harmful effects of free radicals.
  • Sage tea has been used in the past as a hair tonic to stimulate hair growth, to darken hair and for removing dandruff, as a wound healer, and as a poultice for eczema.

Contraindications

Avoid during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, although small amounts are safe to use in cooking

Sage contains thujone which can trigger fits in epileptics who should avoid the herb.

Cooking Tips

This powerful healing plant is also a strong culinary herb. Used with discretion it adds a lovely flavour, aids digestion of fatty food, and being an antiseptic it kills off any bugs in the meat as it cooks. It has long been used with sausages because of its preservative qualities. It also makes a delicious herb jelly, or oil or vinegar.

I love to add it to oven roasted vegetables or in sage butter so I will share my recipes with you:

Sage Butter 

Butter has a naturally mild flavour and absorbs the flavour of herbs and spices.

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp finely minced sage leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp finely ground white pepper – optional
  • ½ tsp lemon juice – optional

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This will give the sage time to transmit flavour to the butter.
  2. Transfer mixture into serving bowl or freeze in small portions (takes around 20 minutes to firm up).

 

Oven Roasted Vegetables with Sage and Thyme

This is one of the easiest ways to prepare vegetables. Roasting vegetables sweetens them. Balsamic vinegar, herbs and seasoning brings out flavours.

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30-40 mins

Serves: 4

  • 4 cups of assorted root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, celeriac, beetroot, parsnips and pumpkin or squash
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • Sage leaves, chopped
  • Thyme sprigs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon – optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
  2. Cut up all the root vegetables and pumpkin or squash into approximately equal size pieces. If you use beetroot, wash, top and tail and slice thinly. Put root vegetables, squash and onion in a large bowl.
  3. Toss the vegetables generously in olive oil and add sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread vegetables on a parchment paper lined baking tray in a single layer.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.
  6. Toss with balsamic vinegar, return to the oven for five minutes.
  7. Add zest and juice of 1 lemon if you like.

For more tasty recipes using Sage, visit the loveherbs.ie recipe page here

For more information about Gaby or if you want to schedule an appointment click here.

Previous Herb of the month

November

Thyme
see more >

August

Fennel
see more >

March

Chive
see more >