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Y’all. I LOVE talking about our herbal oils. I have a lifelong dream of an organized yet unruly garden of herbs overflowing around sitting areas. Bees buzzing, chickens and ducks wandering about outside the garden fence, kids lounging about in the shade with books, Momma relaxing with tea…
And you can bet your butt Sage is one of those precious plants.
Now since we call Texas home, I should clear up something. We’re talking about the herb, not the shrub. Texas Sage is a thing and my girls were so excited to see the HUGE shrubs of it. Unfortunately, it’s not the same thing.
Salvia officinalis, or Garden Sage, is actually a member of the mint family. It’s also a perennial in most parts of the country. Texas tends to kill it in the summer. So even though it likes to be planted in full sun, mine is probably going to require a shade cloth.
Okay, so why am I so stoked about Sage? It’s just for breakfast sausage and Thanksgiving, right? Absolutely not. Y’all. This herb is totally underrated and I use it as frequently as my rosemary. Maybe even more than my basil and oregano. Don’t judge. Just try it.
Of course, I’m not dreaming of a witchy garden just for culinary delights.
History and Folklore
- The name Salvia derives from the Latin word Salveo, “to heal” or “to save” (more like, to salve, as in, apply a salve).
- It has long been used in healing. An old proverb says “why should a man die who has sage in his garden?”. It was used in the Middle Ages to treat fevers, liver disease and epilepsy. In England, the tea drunk as a healthful tonic. It was also believed to strengthen the memory. An old English custom states that eating Sage every day in May will grant immortality. It was also said that a woman who ate sage cooked in wine would never be able to conceive and its fresh leaves were said to cure warts.
- It is said that where sage grows well in the garden, the wife rules and that sage will flourish or not depending on the success of the business of the household.
- During the Middle Ages, sage was used to mask the taste of rancid meat. Perhaps its antibacterial action also protected people from dying of rancid meat…
- The Romans regarded sage quite highly and much sacrifice and ceremony was associated with its harvest. They believed it stimulated the brain and memory and used it to clean their teeth.
- The Dutch in the 17th century traded Sage for tea with the Chinese.
- Sage is masculine in nature and associated the element of air and the planet Jupiter.
- Sage is sacred to the Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter. It is also a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
- White sage Salvia apiana is sacred in many Shamanic and Native American belief systems and is used for smudging, and other, ceremonies to purify the body. Smudge sticks made of white sage are often found in New Age shops and kits are heavily marketed to modern magical practitioners. Unfortunately, white sage can be difficult to grow in captivity outside of its native range, so is largely wild-crafted. This threatens native populations which are sacred to Native Americans. White sage is not part of European-based traditions and we really don’t need it. Our European spiritual ancestors burned a lot of different herbs in their practices, but white sage was not among them. If you feel the need to use sage, garden sage is a suitable substitute1. Indeed, most Salvia species can be burned by the non-indigenous witch and we can leave white sage to those to whom it is truly sacred. If you must have it, try to grow it yourself; buying and selling sacred things is disrespectful.
- Sage is used in magical workings for immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection and the granting of wishes.
- Sage is also believed to help alleviate the sorrow of the death of a loved one.
- To make a wish, write your wish on a sage leaf and sleep with it under your pillow for three days and then bury it.
- Add sage to mojo bags to promote wisdom and to overcome grief.
- Burn sage at funeral and remembrance ceremonies to help relieve the grief of the mourners.
- Sage makes a nice rinse for dark hair.
- Sage’s attractive leaves hold their shape and fragrance well when dried and are an attractive addition to dried arrangements and potpourri.
- Store dried sage in the same place as you store your potatoes to help them keep longer.
- Sage tea has antiseptic qualities and makes a good gargle for sore throats.
- Sage may boost insulin action, and therefore, a daily cup of tea may be helpful for those with diabetes. Use one or two teaspoons of dried sage leaves to one cup of boiling water.
- Only Salvia officianalis is suitable for culinary use
- Sage aids in the digestion of fatty foods and is therefore good for seasoning meats, especially pork. It’s also famously useful for stuffing poultry. It is also awesome in various bean and pork dishes, like split pea soup and vegetarian bean dishes.
- Sage blossoms are good in salads or floated on top of soups.
- Pineapple sage is good in fruit drinks, salads, and ham.
- Common sage blends well with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, basil, bay laurel, black pepper, cream cheese, garlic, lavender, lemon, mushrooms, onions, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and red wine.
Most sage grows like crazy but the most commonly used sage in spiritual practice, white sage, grows only in the American Southwest and is being over-collected in the wild. In my experience, garden sage works just as well and grows quite easily just about anywhere.
So let’s talk about the oils. Obviously an oil like this is available in both the standard oil collection and the Vitality oil collection.
Sage emits a strong, spicy, clarifying, and uplifting aroma when diffused. It has been used traditionally for its clarifying properties.
Sage Vitality is a wonderful flavor enhancer for seafood, vegetables, breadsticks, corn breads, muffins, and other savory breads.
A great combination for this infusion technique would be:
- Sage, Marjoram, and Thyme
- Sage, Rosemary, and Oregano
Known as “herba sacra” or sacred herb by the ancient Romans, Sage’s name, Salvia, is derived from the word for “salvation.” Sage has been used in Europe for oral infections and skin conditions. It has been recognized for its benefits of strengthening the vital centers and supporting metabolism.
Medical Properties: Antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antitumoral, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, hormone regulating, estrogen-like, antiviral, circulatory stimulant, gallbladder stimulant
Uses: Menstrual problems/PMS, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone deficiencies, liver problems
Fragrant Influence: Mentally stimulating, anxiety-reducing, and helps combat despair and mental fatigue. Sage strengthens the vital centers of the body, balancing the pelvic chakra, where negative emotions from denial and abuse are stored.
Cautions: Avoid if epileptic. Avoid use on persons with high blood pressure.
Excerpted from The Essential Oils Desk Reference, 7th Edition, p129-130
Thank you for digging deeper into Sage with me. I am very passionate about herbs, oils, and the education of their uses.
Please remember that essential oils are very concentrated products and should never be ingested unless specifically labeled for such use.
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Finally, the obligatory disclaimer.
I am not a doctor. None of the statements included in this post have been approved by the FDA or any other cool acronym known agency. It is Young Living’s official stance that they and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any specific disease or illness. Young Living Independent Distributor #14632733