Sage or Salvia officinalis is a strong aromatic, perennial plant, native to the northern shores of the Mediterranean region. Sage plant is cultivated commercially in the USA, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Sage plant is a strong stimulant, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, memory boosting, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Nowadays, sage plant is used as an ornamental garden plant and helps keep away those deer from your garden and keeps away moths from your woolens. Adds flavor while helping you digest those difficult fats and proteins like sausages, pork liver, cheese etc. Add a little Sage to make your cheeses more spicy.
The scientific classification of sage plant is expressed as:
Other varieties of Sage are : Bergarten Sage, Golden Sage, Tricolor Sage, Purple Sage.
What kind of plant: An Evergreen shrub. Woody and a hardy perennial plant.
How tall: It reaches a maximum height of 2-3 ft.
Branches: The stems are hairy and woody and bear opposite pairs of grey leaves. The glossy leaves have distinct network of veins on both sides. The aromatic leaves are used in cooking to add flavor to chicken and turkey dishes.
Flowers: During summer months, sage plant has attractive purple flowers, which attracts the wild bees. Sage honey has a very distinct, nice aroma but is quite expensive.
Ancient Romans and Egyptians used Sage plant to increase women's fertility, darken the grey hair, treat snake bites, and wade off evil spirit. Theophrastus, Greek philosopher and horticulturist, recommended use of Salvia as a diuretic, styptic and local anesthetic for the skin. In the early Middle Ages, Charlemagne (King of the Franks, 768–814) started commercial cultivation of the sage plant in monastery gardens. In medieval period, Sage was often called "Salvia salvatrix" meaning “sage, the savior”, as it was one of the key ingredients of Four Thieves Vinegar used to ward off the plague. Dioscorides, Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist recommended sage as a tonic, emmenagogue, and hemostatic. During the middle ages, there was a popular Latin saying "Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto?" meaning “'why should a man die while sage grows in his garden."
Phytochemicals and essential oils gives this herb its healing properties. Some of the active compounds are thujone, monoterpenes, rosmanol, flavonoids, tannins , cornsole, ursonic acid, oleic acid, caffeic acid, monoterpenes, cornsolic acid, ursolic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, niacin, flavones, nicotinamide, estrogens and essential oils such as borneol, cineole, and thujone.
One should avoid sage herb during pregnancy as it contains high amounts of thujone (abortifacient). Lactating women should not consume cold tea as it can interfere with milk secretion. However, it can be safely used during the postpartum period. It helps to discharge lochia (postnatal bleeding). Individuals suffering from hypertension and epilepsy must avoid this herb.