Most of the information here refers to the varieties of Salvia… However there are other species of plants that are commonly called sage…some of these are not edible, while others have different medicinal properties and dosages…most of the sage varieties however do have similar magickal properties…
Also…I have short-changed this herb a bit…but in the interest of NOT writing a novel, I felt it best to stick to the need to know, and add some extra ideas here and there…this is one of those herbs that you could write an entire book on, and indeed, others have…
According to A Modern Herbal, “The name of the genus, Salvia, is derived from
the Latin salvere, to be saved, in reference to the curative properties of the
plant, which was in olden times celebrated as a medicinal herb. This name was
corrupted popularly to Sauja and Sauge (the French form), in Old English,
‘Sawge,’ which has become our present-day name of Sage.”
The sage species used as herbs come from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Sage has also been grown in central Europe since the Middle Ages.
The name Salvia derives from the Latin ‘salveo’, which means ‘to heal’. Indeed this herb is highly regarded for its healing qualities. An ancient proverb states, “Why should a man die who has sage in his garden?”. The ancient Greeks used it to treat consumption, ulcers and snake bites.
The Ancient Romans considered sage to be a sacred herb and followed an elaborate ceremony when harvesting it. A sage gatherer would use a special knife (not made of iron as it reacts with the sage), have to have clean clothes and clean feet and a sacrifice of food would have to be made before he could begin. The Romans would use it for toothpaste; they also believed it to be good for the brain, senses and memory.
The Chinese also were quite partial to this herb. 17th century Dutch merchants found that they would trade one chest of sage leaves for three of their teas .
Sages are also used by many Native American cultures.
Not all sages are the same…
Although five hundred species of Salvia and many varieties and chemotypes exist,
only a few types of sage are commercially important. Dalmation sage, a type of
Salvia officinalis L., serves as the standard sage to which others are compared,
as it is considered to possess the finest and most characteristic sage aroma.
Salvia fructicosa Mill., formerly known as Salvia triloba L. f., and native to
some of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, may account for more
than 50% of the culinary sage imported into the United States as common sage
(6.5-140). This species is commonly referred to as Greek, Mediterranean. or wild
sage. Salvia lavandulifolia Vahl., Spanish sage, is a small shrub sold as sage
but of minor commercial importance. Salvia miltiorrhiza L. is used as a Chinese
herbal medicine for treatment of menstrual irregularities, uterine bleeding,
abdominal pain, neurasthenia, insomnia, hepatitis, mastitus, and hives
(11.1-97). Leaves from Salvia lyrata L., wild sage or cancerweed, an herb native
to the eastern section of the United States, are used as a folk remedy in the
treatment of warts (11.1-101). Salvia tomentosa Mill., a native of the
Mediterranean region, has been traditionally used to reduce abdominal pain and
heal warts (7.1-63). Leaves of Salvia divinorum, Yerba de Maria, are used in
some religious ceremonies because of their hallucinogenic properties (11.1-96).
Salvia elegans Vahl, formerly Salvia rutilans Carriere and known as pineapple
sage, is a perennial shrub cultivated as an annual. Reaching heights of over one
meter, the plant is characterized by decorative, fragrant leaves, which are
employed in bouquets, and by scarlet flowers that bloom in autumn and are used
in potpourris. Salvia leucophylla Greene, a perennial shrub native to the
western United States, has been used as sage but is considered very inferior and
not acceptable in commercial markets. Volatile monoterpenes emitted from the
species are reported to have growth-inhibitory activity (1.8-93). Indian and
wild sage refers to Eupatorium perfoliatum L., a plant native to North America.
Sage of Bethlehem actually refers to spearmint, Mentha spicata L. The sagebrush
native to western portions of the United States and northern Mexico is of the
Artemisia species. Sage, as Salvia officinalis L. or Salvia triloba L., is
generally recognized as safe for human consumption as a natural seasoning and as
a plant extract/essential oil (21 CFR sections 182.10, 182.20 ). Spanish
sage is also recognized as safe for human consumption as a plant extract (21 CFR
section 182.20 ).
|Commonly useful varieties…|
Zone: 5 – 9
Sun Exposure: Generally Full Sun. Needs some shade in higher Zones.
Mature Size: 1 – 2′ H, 2 -3′ W
Bloom Period/Days to Harvest: Blooms mid-summer. May bloom first year depending on size and site.
Allow the plant to grow unharvested for the first year. Then leaves can be harvested at anytime, although they are consider at their best before or just after blooming.
Design Tips: Sage quickly becomes a small woody shrub that can need replacing every 3-4 years. Frequent harvesting and pruning helps to reinvigorate sage plants. While a sage plant is in its prime, it makes an attractive addition to both herb gardens and ornamental borders. The purple, golden and tri-color varieties work especially well as edgers, as shown right.
Cultural Requirements & Maintenance: Sage plants can be started from seed, root cuttings or transplants. Sage seed needs to be sown while fresh. It does not store well and even fresh, is not terribly reliable and is slow to establish. Root cuttings can propagated by layering (Laying the side branches down so that they are in contact with the soil.) Fortunately, reasonably priced, small sage plants can be found in most garden centers in the spring.
Sage prefers a warm, sunny location, although it does not enjoy extreme heat. It is not particular about soil, except that it be well-drained. Pruning after flowering will keep plants attractive and prevent them from getting too woody and leggy. Fertilize in early spring. Sage is very happy growing in containers. If you want to try growing sage indoors, you will need to provide strong, direct light. Few pests bother sage. It is done in more by excess water, not enough light and lack of pruning.
Harvesting: Harvest lightly the first year, as the plant becomes established.Harvest individual leaves as needed. Leaves can also be dried and stored for future use.
Sage has been taken for everything from stomach and digestive complaints to a
rinse for bleeding gums. In Asian medicine it has been used to treat a variety
of illnesses including hemorrhoids, and in homeopathy it is apparently a remedy
for excessive breast milk flow. Externally, it can be used to treat mild skin
injuries inflammation. I have found several reports that studies have shown sage
may boost insulin’s action, but since they don’t have source material, I have
been unable to verify this.
The usual daily dosage is:
Dried Sage: 4 to 6 grams (about 1 teaspoonful)
Essential oil of Sage: 2 to 6 drops
Sage tincture (alcoholic extract): 2.5 to 7.5 grams (one-half to 11/2
Sage liquid extract: 1.5 to 3 grams (about one-quarter to one-half teaspoonful)
Sage honey: 1 teaspoonful in the morning and before bedtime
Powdered Sage: 1 capsule before each meal for excessive perspiration
Strengths of commercial preparations may vary. Follow the manufacturer’s
labeling whenever available. Store away from light and humidity.
The danger of overdose is greater if you are taking an alcoholic extract or the
essential oil. To overdose on Sage leaves, you must consume at least 15 grams.
Symptoms of overdose include a feeling of warmth, rapid heartbeat, dizziness,
and convulsions. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
Ideas for medical use
–Gargles and rinses for gum issues may be prepared with 2-3 drops of Sage oil with 1/3 cup of water, and sage tea with honey, or sage honey may help bronchitis.
–try a cup of sage tea before bed to help combat night sweats
–Supposedly a poultice of sage leaves mixed with saliva can give relief from irritating bug bites
|Do not take sage internally on a continuous basis for more than a week or two, avoid use if you are epileptic, pregnant, or nursing (sage can dry up breast milk).|
–Leaves can be strewn in bathwater and in rinsewater to enhance dark hair.
–Sage essential oil in a carrier oil or sage infused oil can be used to treat dandruff
–Can be used as a deodorant/antipersperent
S. officinalis is the sage most often used for cooking, with the common gray form having the best flavor. The tricolor, golden and purple sages can be used but tend to be less flavorful; Berggarten
sage can be used but at half strength, for it has a much stronger flavor. Salvia elegans or pineapple sage, as well as its other forms such as honeydew melon or peach, tend to lose flavor when dried so must be used fresh when the flavor is amazingly fruit-like. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), because of its strong aroma,
is not much used in the kitchen these days, although the fresh leaves are still sometimes dipped in batter and deep-fried.
I lost the source this came from!!!
–Add to bean or split pea soups…
–Try sage with onion rings (add 2 tablespoons minced sage to the batter for two
–Add to apple dishes…as well as eggplant, asparagus, winter squashes,
mushrooms, string beans, stewed tomatoes, pumpkin, cherries, and blueberries…
–Sage honey (about 1/3 cup finely minced leaves warmed with 1 cup mild honey)
is yummy added to tea or biscuits…
–Sage cider vinegar makes great marinades…
–Try a tea out of one part sage and two parts lemon balm…
–Stems or leaves can be tossed on hot charcoal when grilling…
–Sautee chicke or pork with sage, garlic and white wine
Planet: Jupiter, some sources also site Venus
Astronomical Sign: Leo
Element: Air (I have also seen Earth listed)
Dieties: Artemis, Diana, Hygeia, Consus, Obatala, Chiron, Cadmus, Jupiter, Zeus
Cleansing, purification of self or space, strength, menal health, longevity, wisdom, healing, domestic harmony, banishing negative energies
Paul Beryerl, author of A Compendium of Herbal Magick, remarks that he often drinks a cup of sage tea while chanting “Sage make green the winter rain. Charm the demon from my brain.” from an unknown verse he once came upon.
Jupiter spells: Sage can be used in Jupiter spells (growth, meditation, luck, legal stuff, money, spirituality)
Reverse a spell: Light a dried sage leaf on fire, blow out the flame, leaving the ember. Make large w large counter-clockwise circles in the air with the sage smoke, while chanting to undo the previous spell.
Make a wish: Write a wish on a sage leaf and hide it under your pillow. Sleep upon it for three nights. If you dream about what ou wishet for, it will materialize. —from Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs
Healing ritual: from The Wicca Herbal (by Jamie Wood)… Place 10 fresh sage leaves on a green cloth and bind with a red ribbon (or use gold for prosperity) that has had 9 knots tied into it for whatever your purpose is…
for use with knot magick
By knot of ONE, the spell’s begun
By knot of TWO, it cometh true
By knot of THREE, so mote it be
By knot of FOUR, this power I store
By knot of FIVE, the spell’s alive
By knot of SIX, this spell I fix
By knot of SEVEN, events I’ll leaven
By knot of EIGHT, it will be Fate
By knot of NINE, what’s done is mine
Smudging: a list of some information sites on smudging and smudging ceremonies
Pineapple Sage Cider Jelly
(Makes about 4 ½ Cups) Combine 1 ½ cups fresh
pineapple sage leaves with 3 ¼ cups apple cider. Bring to boil; let steep 20
minutes. Strain. Add one package powdered commercial pectin and ½ teaspoon
butter. Bring to boil. Add 4 cups sugar all at once. Bring to boil again and
boil hard for one minute. Pack in sterilized jars and seal. Good as ham glaze;
also use with pork or on English muffins.
Sage and Sausage Corn Muffins
6 ounces breakfast sausage, casings removed (if necessary)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
Crumble the sausage into a small skillet over medium heat. Fry, stirring to
break up the larger clumps, until crisp. Drain and chop into fine crumbles. Set
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sage, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in
a large bowl. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and eggs;
add to the dry ingredients along with the melted butter and reserved sausage.
Stir just until barely mixed. Batter will be thick and lumpy.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups, using a heaping 1/4 cup for each
muffin. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are dry and lightly browned.
Cool slightly before removing the muffins from the tin. Serve warm. Refrigerate
Makes 1 dozen.
Fried Sage Leaves
½ cup white flour
½ cup sparkling mineral water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg white
15 large sage leaves
oil for frying
Mix flour with a speck of salt. Add mineral water and oil; blend. Gently stir in one egg white that has been whipped until almost stiff. Dip sage leaves in mixture and fry in hot oil (about 350 degrees) until browned. Watch carefully, as the light batter browns quickly. Remove from the oil, drain on paper towels, and serve warm. This recipe can easily be doubled.
4 large Onions
10 sage leaves
125g (quarter 1lb) breadcrumbs
40g (1.5 oz) unsalted butter
pinch of salt and pepper
Peel the onions and put them whole into a pan of boiling water. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Throw in the sage leaves in the last 2 minutes. Take them out the pan and chop them both finely then put into a mixing bowl. Work in the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and butter. Mix in just the yolk of the egg. (I crack it over a table spoon to seperate the album from the yolk). You will now have enough stuffing to stuff a medium turkey or a large chicken. Or even if you are vegetarian you can work the mixture into stuffing balls ans baking until hard
Maria Suarez said:
Excellent post! Thanks for that!
Great article, there is so much misconception about salvia, it drives me a bit nuts that people call it a drug when its really not..
Great article, thanks.
Greets from Dalmatia!