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Sage is a common herb found in most garden patches and has a myriad of uses.

“She once was a true love of mine. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…”

-Simon and Garfunkel, “Scarborough Fair”

Sage: A Healing and Purifying Herb

“Salvia officinalis” (commonly known as “sage”) is a flowering plant or herb in the mint family. Most of us think of dried sage used as a purifier when burned (usually white sage or “Salvia apiana”). This act of “smudging” is done to rid a space of negative energy. A smudge stick (made of dried sage) is burned and the smoke is released into the air to boost one’s mood, clear the way for positivity, cleanse energy, and to uplift and reduce stress.

  • White sage—when burned—is known as a sacred herb; it cleanses, brings protection and blessings of good fortune.
  • Smudging is an ancient practice and ritual. White prairie sage is “antibacterial and antimicrobial,” so it is known to clear a room of certain allergens such as dust and mold.
  • Sage is also medicinal and can be used topically as a hair treatment (for dandruff), as an astringent to relieve insect bites, rashes, sunburn, and, when taken internally (usually as a tea), may even enhance memory and help treat the common cold, influenza, and a sore throat. Sage is also used as a mild sedative.

Common Types of Sage Found in Gardens

(Blue Hill Sage in bloom)

  • White
  • Russian Blue
  • Garden
  • Common
  • Culinary: A Mediterranean staple

Culinary Use

  • Sage used for cooking is optimal for adding a fresh, earthy seasoning to certain dishes, such as meat sauces, marinades, dressings, salads, poultry, and fish, etc. The dusty leaves add an unexpected flavor to teas and cocktails.
  • Sage is also used to make flavored honey and olive oil.
  • This type of sage plant has spikes of purple flowers in mid-summer. So, not only is it useful, but it is also a visually beautiful addition to any herb garden.

“To Be Saved”

  • The Latin name for sage literally means “To be saved.” Its scientific name “Salvia officinalis” is derived from the Latin “salvere.” This makes sense as many consider sage to be a “must-have” herb (due to its many uses).
  • We also associate sage with its unique and calming green color.
  • Sage thrives in the sun.

Whimsical Uses

  • Instead of throwing rice at a wedding, use natural confetti—such as sage leaves! This is environmentally sound and adds a charming touch to the occasion.
  • Use as a garnish: take your cooking (and plating) to the next level.
  • Dry and preserve (not just for burning) but for hanging in the kitchen. This will immediately add an English-country-garden, shabby-chic vibe to any room.
  • Essential oils derived from sage leaves are used medicinally and also as aromatherapy. Breathe the scent for its calming effects and mix some of the oil with water to use as a room spray. This will leave your space smelling earthy and clean.

For more information on sage, its many uses, and topics mentioned in the blog, consult the sources below:

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