Sage: Salvia Officianalis
aka: Sage, Garden Sage, Broad leaf Sage
From the Apothecary in your kitchen department, I bring you Sage.
Sage, a common kitchen spice with some remarkable medicinal qualities. Sage or Salvia has been around for literally thousands of years. It’s been used by the earliest physicians since before the times of the Egyptian Empire as a heal all. Sage is a familiar evergreen shrub that grows to 12 to 14 inches high on thin wiry stems. Centuries ago it was indigenous to the North shores of the Mediterranean, but now widely cultivated worldwide. Historically, it’s a culinary condiment mostly used in meat dishes. Sage was noted thousands of years ago to be an effective meat preservative, especially with fowl/ chicken, meat stuffing, wine, soups and cheese.
Sage in itself is both, a Stimulant and a Calminitve, an Anti-oxidant, antiseptic and a digestive aid. It has historical use in history as a spring stimulant tonic, as an old peasants proverb professed, “Eating the leaves of Sage preserveth good health”.
A favorite beverage tea of European peasants was a tea called “Toute’ Bonne”, which means “All is Well” It is an infusion of Sage, Speedwell and Wood Betony.
Sage has been used throughout history as a tea to treat Dyspepsia/ gastro-intestinal upset including gas and bloating. Sage tea was used as a remedy in cases of mental exhaustion and according to the Romans to even stimulate memory. Sage has also been proven useful in topical foments to reducing swelling and to reduce fevers. Because of its anti-septic and hemostatic qualities, Sage is still being used as an effective mouthwash. It can be very helpful in controlling bleeding gums. It is still used today as an ingredient in some toothpastes. Sage has an extensive history in treating sore throats when cough is present. It has been used for that purpose since the times of the Egyptians. More recently, Sage was once used in the US to treat Typhus and Typhoid fever. Sage is still listed in the United States Pharmacopia, (U.S.P.) as a Medicine.
As an herbalist, I’ve made Herbal smokers blends using Sage along with Mullein leaf, Cat’s Claw, Plantain and Kudzu as an herbal substitute for Tobacco for people who have been trying to quit smoking, but still need that little extra help.
* Culpeper states, “To use Sage as a drink (tea) inwardly and to use the herb outwardly is a sure remedy for the Palsy”. He notes that to use Sage in a poultice would reduce the swelling of Lymph Nodes to stimulate and flush lymphatic waste .
I make an effective cough suppressant remedy using Sage. It consists of:
½ oz Sage (Salvia Officianalis)
½ oz of Thyme, (Thymus Vulgaris)
16oz of cold water
Place the herbs in the cold water in a heavy pan. Slowly heat to a low rolling boil for 20 – 30 min. Strain through a sieve or Cheese cloth.
Add 3-4 TBS of Raw Honey while still hot to dissolve the honey. Refrigerate and use as a cough suppressant as needed. This will keep in the fridge for approx. 4-5 days. If you’d like to preserve it longer, add 1 oz of your favorite Brandy. Mine is Ginger Brandy. (But any distilled alcohol will suffice).
Sage is one good reason to re-evaluate the spices and herbs in your own kitchen. I will bring you more of the “Apothecary in your kitchen” series in my later posts.
* Nicholas Culpeper (1616 – 1654) Famed English Botanist, Herbalist, Physician, and Astrologer. (The English Physician 1652)