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Sage, Salvia oficinalis

Sage, Salvia oficinalis

An Herbal Powerhouse

The many herbs and spices that have been discussed on this site have great concentrations of antioxidants, more so than most fruits and vegetables. They also contain an especially wide range of antioxidants. They are clearly a top antioxidant food group. Regularly adding a variety of herbs and spices to your food is an effective way to help prevent disease and premature aging.

Name:

Salvia is derived from the Latin word salvere “to be saved.” The herbs has been used as a panacea by healers for thousands of years.

Description:

Sage is a perennial woody evergreen herb that grows 1 to 2 feet tall. Its leaves are grey green and deeply veined. The intensity of its flavor grows deeper as the plant ages. Its aroma and flavor is soft, warm, sweet savory.

Family: Lamiaceae (mint family – oregano, rosemary, lavender, basil and thyme)

It is a member of the mint family and closely related to rosemary. They are often considered “sistern herbs.” Many of sage’s health benefits are derived from its rosmarinic acid content, the compound found in rosemary that makes it powerful.

Historically:

Going back thousands of years it traditionally was used for the treatment of snake bite, protecting against evil and boosting female fertility.

Used as a medicinal and preservative it was highly revered by the Romans and Greeks. They created a ceremony for gathering sage.  They used it as a preservative for meat, a practice which continued until the beginning of refrigeration.

Arabian healers of the 10th century believed that eating sage would grant immortality.

14th century Europeans used it ward off witchcraft.

It was so appreciated by the Chinese that in the 17th century, they traded three cases of tea leaves (chamelia sinensis) to the Dutch for one case of sage leave.

In 2001 the International Herb Association awarded sage the title of “Herb of the Year.”

Origin:

Sage is native to the Mediterranean and has long been cultivated there. It is popular in both healing and cooking. As such it is planted in home gardens.

There are numerous varieties of sage:

Russian sage, known for its lavender-purple flowers and ornamental uses.

Common sage is known for its aroma that is widely used in cooking.

Pineapple sage shows bright red flowers and a sweet aroma which is good for teas.  

Golden sage has variegated leaves.

Purple sage has purple leaves and purple flowers.

Tricolor sage has white, purple and green variegated leaves.

Three lobed sage has three lobes to a stem.

Azure sage is native to Mexico. It is a large plant with blue flowers and is used as an herbal panacea.

It usually can be found fresh, dried or rubbed.  Rubbed, it comes off the leaf like a powder and is extremely light and fluffy. Fresh is the most flavorful and most fragrant.

Sage Culinary Uses:  

Cheese laced with sage, caramelizing onions and mushrooms, seasoning chicken eggs, and fish, turkey stuffing, soups, stews, casseroles, salad and teas.

It is best to add sage at the end of cooking to preserve its aroma and flavor.

Medicinal Benefits:

Sage is known for its antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Medicinally it is used for muscle aches, rheumatism, bronchial asthma and aromatherapy.

As an antibacterial it benefits the stomach, intestine, ears, nose throat genitals and eyes. It is used as an antiseptic in the healing of surgical incisions, wounds, and sores.

As an antifungal it is used to prevent and cure fungal infections such as dermatitis, athlete’s foot, and such.

It brings relief from digestive acidity and promotes digestion. It also helps the digestion of fatty foods.

It can help to regulate blood sugar fluctuations, helping to prevent the onsought of Diabetes or to manage it if it has manifested.

It helps to regulate menstrual cycles and helps other gynecological problems.

It helps with insect bites.

It can enhance mental clarity and memory. It is useful in treating cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s patients.

Sage leaves made into a drink has been called “thinker’s tea.”

It is also an excellent source of fiber.

Skin Care:

As a topical cream or salve made from the leaves or a tincture, sage has been shown to be effective for eczema, psoriasis and acne.

The antioxidants in sage reverse the signs of aging e.g. wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Its antioxidant properties protect cells from forming cancerous cells or getting damaged by oxidation.

It can benefit as a Toner to regulate sebum production of oily skin.

As an antiseptic it can prevent skin infections.

Hair Care:

It was also used in ancient times to prevent baldness.

Combined with rosemary it can make hair thicker, stronger and shinier. It also reduces dandruff and prevents clogged hair follicles.

Caution:

Sage is not a known allergen. It is in the mint family, so anyone allergic to any plants in that family should use caution or consult their health care practitioner. However it does contain minimal amounts of oxalates and purines. It is advised to be used in moderation as it can be toxic.

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Author, Eve Stahl, is a Health Consultant, Herbalist and Skin Care expert. She specializes in using nature's plants to enhance the health of people and to protect the health of our planet. To achieve this purpose she has created Garden of Eve Skin Care products for sensitive skin and all skin types. You can visit her company at: www.gardenofeve.com Prospective Affiliates visit: www.gardenofeveskincare.com/affiliate-application

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