Sage

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Synonyms, Provenance and Description

Sage is also known as Garden sage and Common sage. The latin names for the herb types are Salvia salvatrix and Salvia officinalis.

Sage is believed to have originated in Syria. It then spread over the northern Mediterranean region and temperate Europe.

Sage is a commonly used and widely grown herb. It has a strong distinctive aroma and olive green leaves covered with a soft fuzzy down. The herb appears somewhat blue-green in colour as a result. The shape of the leaves is like an elongated oval with rounded ends.The stems are not unusually woody.There are very many varieties of sage and the colour and flavour of the leaves therefore varies.

Varieties of sage

Common varieties of sage include Garden or Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) which has the previously described.Then there is the rareProven├žal Sage . This variety has leaves that are smaller and paler than those of the common sage and have an intesne aroma. There is also the Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans), Catalonian Sage and Clary Sage. The last is used to make Italian Vermouth. Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha) is an ornamental plant and has no culinary usage.

History

Salvia which is the name of the family or genus of which sage is a member originates from the latin word salvere meaning to be saved. This indicates the healing and therapeutic value of the plant. The latin word salvere eventually lead to the French word Sauja and the old English word Sauge and 'Sawge. It is from this that the modern day name is derived.

All though history, there are references to sage being used for its medicinal benefits. It is supposed to cure several illnesses including snake and scorpion bites, eye infections as well as other infections including parasitic and worm infestation, epileptic seizures, memory loss, worms. It was also used as an aphrodisiac and a cure for hangovers and drunkenness. It was used in Grreek and Roman medicine, planted by Charlemagne for medicinal use and described in medieval Arab medicine as ensuring longevity.

Culinary Usage

Garden sage is used for fatty meats especially force meat stuffing of pork and duck. It may also be used in meat stews where discretion is advised since it tends to overpower more subtle flavours.

The herb is largely used in England and on the continent to flavour cheese, stuffing and sauces. In Provence sage is used to cook poultry and even white meats like veal and soup. It is a common flavour in Italian and german cooking as well. Chinese In French cooking, sage is used mainly in Provence for cooking white meat like poultry and veal as well as soups. In China, tea is flavoured with sage.

Therapeutic uses

The traditional pairing of sage with heavy meats or oily fishes indicates that it helps in the digestion of fatty foods.

Traditionally used as a food preservative, it has now been conclusively proved that sage contains antioxidants which slow spoilage. Sage contains flavonoids, and phenolic acids, including the phenolic acid named after rosemary - rosmarinic acid. The presence of these volatile oils explains its antioxidant action. http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=76

Sage helps to increase the flow of bodily fluids (like sweating and delayed periods). If taken hot it increases the flow of bodily fluids and decreases them if taken cold.

Sage also has an antibacterial effect. It is useful to treat sore throats and an extract or infusion can be used as an antiperspirant. Cold sage tea or an infusion helps decrease dandruff in the treatment of diarrhea.

Included very often in natural mouthwashes sage contains tannins that are antibacterial and prevent gingivitis. http://www.vitaminstuff.com/herbs-sage.html

Other uses

An extract Salvia Artemisia variety of sage is an insect repellent.

How to grow sage

Sage is grown from seed. It can be directly seeded into your garden, or started indoors for transplanting later. Sage is very easy to grow. It prefers the full sun and a well drained soil. It will do well in average soils and tolerate dry soil conditions.


Trivia

An old tradition mentions the efficacy of sage and Rue as deterrants to vermin in gradens. It's wellbeing was linked to the wellbeing of the owner's business and yet another traditional belief mentions that when sage grows vigorously in the garden, the wife rules the home. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sages-05.html

Sage herb can boost memory

Sage could help boost memory: Centuries-old theories that the herb sage can improve memory appear to be borne out by modern research. For the complete story read http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3189635.stm


References

Larousse Gastronomique

The Book of Ingredients: Philip Dowell and Adrian Bailey; Penguin/ Mermaid Books 1993

The Complete Book of Herbs; A practical guide to growing and using herbs: Lesley Bremness: Dorling Kindersley 1988

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sages-05.html

http://www.sallys-place.com/food/columns/gilbert/sage.htm

http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=76

http://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/go/index.php/85/sage-for-cleansing-healing/

http://health.learninginfo.org/sage-herb.htm

http://www.gardenersnet.com/herbs/sage.htm

--Radhikab70 03:00, 3 August 2007 (EDT)

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