Garden Sage ~ Salvia officinalis
How To Use Garden Sage
Henry David Thoreau said that you are never poor if you have Sage in your garden. For centuries it has graced many a pantry shelf, but Sage is also an herb of healing that may be used in multiple ways.
This plant from the Mint Family loves a sunny area in your garden, in a well-drained, moderately rich soil. Prune back the new spring growth to keep it from setting seed too soon.
Use the fresh leaves and short stems for your kitchen use, and to make a tea that soothes and calms at the end of a stressful day. Culinary wise, Sage leaves (fresh, dry, rubbed or ground) are most often used for: fish, meats, poultry, salads, sausages, and vegetables such as in a stir-fry or soup.
Garden Sage is useful for mouth sores and gum irritations: make a tea from the fresh or dry leaves, cool a few minutes and swish the liquid in your mouth for a few minutes. It also helps with sore throats when you have a cold and may even make your cold go away sooner than if you didn’t use this herb. I have found that it’s the best tea to drink when the body’s pH is off-balance, i.e., in a bout of Acidosis.
Because it is a member of the Limaceae (Mints) Family, it is important to note that Garden Sage contains thujone and some phytochemicals that have anti-thyroid properties. If you have a thyroid condition, please be careful with all the mints and only use them: occasionally to rarely. That goes for making teas, cooking with them and/or making tinctures with these herbs.
The aromatic, slightly bitter herb Garden Sage is indeed a helpful herb to have in your garden. There are many varieties now that sport colourful leaves such as Tricolor, Purple, Golden, and ‘White Dalmation’ Sage, this latter refering to a whiter coloring than the usual green Garden species.
There are also garden ornamentals in the Salvia genus but these are not edible.
Lastly, there is a white-leaved Sage that is used for ceremonial purposes, i.e., Salvia apiana, and is similar to the Artemisia ludoviciana (“White Sage”) shown in the photo at right, used in America for rituals, namely to smudge in cleansing ceremonies. It also makes a great landscape plant with its showy silver spikes. A. ludoviciana has cultivar like “Silver King” and “Silver Queen.” Shown here is the Silver King Artemisia.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the helpful uses of Garden Sage. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave me your thoughts on this subject, or on herbs in general. I would love to hear from you!
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