Latin Name: Salvia officinalis
Culinary sage refers to a small group of the genus Salvia. These are evergreen perennial subshrubs with woolly grayish leaves that add an musky, earthy freshness to foods. Spikes of purple/blue flowers appear in mid-summer.
People have been cooking with sage for thousands of years: Recipes for sage pancakes have been dated to the 5th century B.C. Like most culinary herbs, sage is thought to be a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. You can use it to reduce gas in the intestines and, as it also is antispasmodic, to relieve abdominal cramps and bloating.
Sage contains phytosterols, reported to have a cooling action. In one study, using an infusion of the leaf reduced sweating by as much as half. Early and modern herbals list sage as a treatment for bright red, abundant uterine bleeding and for cramps that feel worse with heat applications and better with cold applications.
Sage leaves are a popular poultry and meat seasoning. They can be used both fresh and dried, even fried. Sage also makes a nice tea.
Besides seasoning, sage leaves and branches are often featured in crafts, like wreaths, where they add color, texture and scent.
Sage is an excellent natural disinfectant and deodorizer, drying perspiration and helping to eliminate body odour. Extracts of sage are used in personal skin care for its capacity to heal skin as well.
*It is the policy of www.LoveHerbs.ie not to advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any particular medical or health treatment. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for advice if you suffer with an illness, symptom or health issue.
History & Tradition
The Arabs, along with everyone from the Chinese to the Gypsies all believed that sage was the key to a long life. This is the same sage that in most modern households gathers dust for most of the year, only to be brought out in the fall to season the Thanksgiving dinner, usually used with too heavy a hand, explaining its unpopularity with cooks during the rest of the year. Sage is one those extraordinary, ordinary herbs whose longstanding and familiar use leads us to greatly underestimate it.