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Herbs > SAGE (Salvia Officinalis)

There are many sage varieties and here we are referring to White sage, a common culinary herb native to Southern Europe, but now cultivated worldwide. Its botanical name, Salvia, stems from the Latin "Salvere" – "to be in good health, cure or save". This indicates the wide range of beneficial effects the herb has:

Healing uses:
Sage is anti-fungal, antiseptic and astringent. A simple infusion can treat gingivitis, or sore throats:

Sage Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried sage or 1 tablespoon of fresh sage. Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes.

This should be swilled about the mouth daily to treat gingivitis, or gargled to treat a sore throat. Do not swallow.

A tonic to assist the flow of irregular menstruation and ease menstrual cramps can be made the same way as the infusion, but halving the amount of sage used. The tonic should be drunk like a tea. This will also ease stress and facilitate digestion.

Sage oil, available from health food stores, can be applied topically to relieve pains associated with rheumatism.

Cautions:
Strong sage preparations are not recommended for pregnant women or diabetics. Very large amounts of sage can cause nausea, vomiting and stupor in otherwise healthy individuals.

Additional uses:
Sage is clearly a valuable culinary herb in a wide range of dishes. While used traditionally to flavour meat, combined with equal parts of rosemary and lemon peel, it provides a delicious lift to vegetable soup.

To discourage insects from linen, sage leaves may be strewn amongst it.

In addition, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (first published c. 1649) recommends a decoction of leaves and branches of the sage plant to turn one’s hair black!

Growing Sage:
Sage can easily be grown from a cutting. Take a section about 12-15cm long from a healthy mature plant, being sure to cut it on an angle with sharp secateurs. Strip all the leaves from the bottom 10cm of the cutting and place it in a jar of water. Leave the jar in a warm, light area until roots grow from it.

Once roots grow on the cutting, it can be planted directly into the garden. Sage requires full sun and dry, sandy soil with good drainage.




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