Most of us think of Thanksgiving stuffing when they think of Sage. But there are so many wonderful medicinal qualities and many types of Sage that go above and beyond Thanksgiving stuffing!
Sage is a hardy perennial with pretty, grayish green leaves that looks as good as a perennial border as they do in a vegetable garden. It grows spikes of summer flowers in different colors, including purple, blue, white, and pink. which also make it a great pollinator attractor.
It can grow up to 2 feet tall. The oval leaves are rough or wrinkled and usually downy. The colour ranges from gray-green, purple to whitish green, and some varieties are variegated.
Sage is native to the Mediterranean region and is used fresh or dried as a flavoring in many foods, but Sage has long been revered for its healing properties. The botanical name for Sage is Salvia Officinalis, comes from the Latin word, “salvere” meaning, “To be well” The species Salvia officinalis was thought to improve memory, impart wisdom and ensure long life. It was said that who ever grew sage in their garden, would not die.
It has been used as a tea for its substantial healing properties as far back as ancient Egypt. They used sage for infertility, serious diseases, and epidemics like the plague. The Ancient Romans considered it a Holy Plant. In the Middle Ages, it was used for prolongation of Life and chasing evil spirits away, in ceremonies and was a symbol of fertility, good health and long life. It has been used as a cure all for almost all diseases. There are many benefits of sage but here are the most important ,
a powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activity
a powerful antioxidant and probably the best cleanser and stimulant of the lymph
boosts circulation and acts as an expectorant
great hormonal regulator (especially in women – because of its estrogen-like activity)
lipolytic, astringent and antispasmodic action
has good analgesic effects.
What is it about sage that makes it so beneficial? According to the website, salvia.bio, sage in itself can contain more than 60 different compounds and substances that play a major role in its medical activities.
Within the sage besides the variety of minerals vitamins A, B₁, B₂ and C, and a long series of active ingredients such as alpha and beta thujone, limonene + 18, cineol, camphor, camphene, alpha-pinene, borneol, beta-pinene, camphene alpha, viridiflorola and many others can be found. These substances are most responsible and play a key role in the treatment of many diseases and disorders.
The diversity of these compounds and their mutual interaction give sage strong healing properties and create a strong action that help in faster recovery many of the health problems.
Sage is an easy plant to grow. You can start plants from seeds, cuttings or buy them from Moore & Moore Garden Center. It needs full sun and well drained soil, with a ph of 6.0 to 6.7.
There are many types of Sage available.
Salvia officinalis (common garden sage) is the most familiar and used most in that turkey dressing. the pointed grey-green, wrinkled leaves are about 2 inches long and have a velvety feel. it can grow to about 2 feet tall and have blue, white or pink flowers in the late summer.
Salvia officinalis ‘Aurea’ (golden sage) handles hot, humid conditions much better than the common sage. the leaves on this sage is trimmed in yellow. This is a great variety for the deep south. It can spread up to 3 feet wide.
Salvia o. ‘Purpurascens’, commonly known as Purple Sage. Also a perennial, it can grow a foot to a foot and a half tall with leaves that begin as a deep, rich purple when new and become a powder green as they age.
Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage.) is more if a tinder perennial. It has a fabulous smell of pineapples hence the name. In late summer, early fall, it grows bright red flowers loved by hummingbirds and the leaves are great in tea.
Clary Sage (Salvia scarea) has been grown primarily for its medicinal value. Unfortunately, We have not carried that sage at Moore & Moore yet.
So if you don't already have this fabulous herb in your garden, This is the year to start. If not for your benefit, do it for the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
See you soon!