Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is a hardy perrienial in agricultural zones 4 to 8. Seeds can be sown indoors four to six weeks before your last frost or direct sown in the garden after the last frost. Germination takes seven to twenty-one days. Keep the soil evenly moist during germination and cut back on watering when the plants have emerged. Sage enjoys full sun and watering when the soil gets dry. Where winters are not too cold Sage may grow all year round. It will grow in all but extreme cold temperatures if it is in a protective greenhouse. Leaves and tops should be gathered on a dry day in June or July as the blossoms appear. Hang buches upside down to dry in a place protected from direct sunlight.There are over 700 varieties of Sage, all of them having medicinal qualities. Here we will concentrate on Common Garden Sage.
Sage is a well known herb used for seasoning poultry, stuffing, soups and other foods. It was widely used as long ago as the middle ages. An old English proverb states "He that would live for aye must eat sage in May". Another proverb says "Against power of death Sage grows in the garden". You can tell Sage was thought of very highly during those times. Sage tea is warming and strengthens the body. It is an excellent herb for rebuilding strength and vitality during long illnesses. Sage tea is soothing and quieting to the nerves. A strong tea is very useful as a gargle for sore throat and laryngitis, as well as sores and infections in the mouth. It can stop bleeding from wounds and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Wounds will heal more quickly when bathed with Sage tea. The tea can be used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and increase hair growth when the roots have not been damaged. Sage is also an excellent remedy for stomach problems including excess gas. When taken warm, Sage tea will increase perspiration and urination. This makes it an excellent tonic for fighting colds and fever. Sage has also been used as a substitute for quinine, without having the side effects that quinine can. Menopausal women can benefit from drinking cool Sage tea during the day to counteract night sweats. Nursing mothers who are ready to wean their baby can use Sage tea to help dry up their milk.
Sage should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, except as a culinary seasoning. Sage should not be used in excessive quantities or for an extended time at medicinal dosages.