Sage
Sage
Sage
Sage

Sage

salvia offininalis

Sage is a powerful antioxidant that helps stimulate the brain. It also is a mild tonic on the nervous system and has anti-aging properties. Also used to burn as a cleansing herb.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Garden Sage
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Leaves
  • Side Effects: Do not use in pregnancy/breastfeeding (in large doses)
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About Sage

Sage belongs to the genus Salvia which is the largest genus of the mint family, Lamiaceae. The artistic botanical name Salvia is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘to save’ that calls attention to the purported healing properties of the herb.

Salvia officinalis is also customarily known to the globe as garden sage, common sage, and culinary sage. Sage is an evergreen, shrub perennial that is characterized by spiky spring flowers of a variety of colors including pink, white, blue, and purple. Its leaves depict a beautiful shade of grayish-green and possess trichomes on its under-side that serve as a storage vesicle for the volatile oil that imparts characteristic flavor and medicinal properties.

Sage is brimmed with antioxidant properties that are not only employed in medicinal discipline but are also used by some companies to prevent the rancidification of oil. Sage leaves bolster the immune system, management of diarrhea, flatulence, colic, and heartburn. Its leaves are also utilized for reducing depression, memory loss, and even Alzheimer’s disease. The plant is packed with beneficial nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that normalize blood sugar level, curtails bad cholesterol levels, support oral health, and eases menopausal symptoms. It is also claimed to be chemopreventive.

The sage plant is topped up with tannic acid, oleic acid, ursonic acid, ursolic acid, carnosol, carnosic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, flavones, flavonoid glycosides, and estrogenic substances. These active ingredients are held responsible for the pharmacological activities of Sage.

Growing

Sage is one of those demanding plants that does not prosper robustly if its desires are not fulfilled. It requires full sun exposure and well-drained, loamy or sandy soil with acidic to neutral pH. It can be grown both indoors and outdoors by either seeds or small plant divisions.

The seeds or cuttings must be sown up to two weeks prior to last spring frost date. The soil should lean between the temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Sage plant needs to be watered regularly as they need a consistent moisture provision. The heavy and woody stems should be pruned every spring and the plant must be replaced every year to ensure better reproduction of crop.

Sage seeds take about 3 weeks to germinate properly and reach their mature size in quite a long time. However, when the plant is propagated through cuttings or divisions, the process escalates rapidly.

The plant of sage blooms from late spring and stretches till mid-summer. The attractive colors of the plant warmly invite the pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies to get the process of pollination going. Pollination and fertilization strikes spark off each other which leads to the fusion of gametes and genesis of pods with seeds that promises further perpetuation of the lifecycle.

Harvesting

Sage is planted purely for its leaves and they can be harvested just before the plant initiates the flowering process. Harvesting sage leaves while the plant is blooming or after the blooming process results in the reduction of their flavor and signature aroma.

Otherwise, the leaves can be harvested approximately thrice in a single season.
However, it is avoided to harvest them during the fall to help the plant preparer itself to face winters.

Sage leaves are harvested according to the need for consumption. For fresh use, the leaves can be pinched according to the desire. The baby leaves render the best flavor so they are preferred over adult ones.

While harvesting, it is made sure to leave the stalk intact to promote the regeneration of new leaves.

For drying or storage purposes, whole stems of at least 6 inches are cut are pruned to go for the process.

To keep the scents and flavors of the versatile sage leaves, they are washed thoroughly to free them off of the dirt. The washed sage leaves are then wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator. This way, sage leaves can last for four to five days.

Something really better that can make the sage leaves last for at least 3 weeks is olive oil. Sage leaves can be covered with olive oil and refrigerated to keep them fresh and flavorful for weeks.

Lastly, the best option is too dry the leaves either by splaying them on sheets in a well-aired space or by hanging them with the help of string or floss, making a cluster of branches.

Usage

Sage is employed in many different dosage forms to have its benefits on our shelves.

  • Tincture- Infuse freshly chopped sage leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea- Fresh sage leaves are steeped in boiling water. Lemon and honey can also be incorporated to form a tasty sage tea.
  • Decoction- Sage is boiled in water with cayenne. The sage is pressed and the resulting liquid is combined with honey to form Sage decoction.
  • Salve- Sage infused oil is merged with beeswax and other essential oil (such as eucalyptus oil) to make Sage salve.
  • Syrup- Fresh sage leaves, sugar, and water are boiled together and strained to render sage syrup.
  • Infused oil- Fresh sage leaves are added in hot olive oil. The mixture is left to cool and then strained to attain sage-infused oil (should be refrigerated)