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Basics of the Sage Plant

Sage is a garden treasure.  This plant has a sweet, musky scent with the power to ward off garden pests like snails, lice, and cabbage moths.  In Germany, the Muscatel Sage is used in wines and vermouth to flavor the alcohol with its intoxicating properties.  It has been prized as a Chinese treasure to the extent that they would trade the British one case of sage per two cases of tea. Sage also is used in hair rinses, mouthwash, teas, and even for culinary purposes.  Through Pinch of Comfort’s experience, the euphoric herb helps ease depression, anxiety, and stress.  Other healing qualities include relieving menstrual and menopausal symptoms, night sweats, poor digestion and circulation, and fatigue.

 

There are numerous cultivares of this plant.

Purple Sage – Salvia oficinalis – “Purpascens”

A perennial, evergreen shrub with light purple leaves blooms lilac blue flowers early to mid-summer.  Grows 2.5 x 3 feet.

Clary Sage – Salvia sclaria

Hardy biennial shrub with pink stems, grayish green leaves with blooming spikes of pink and white flowers in summer grows to 3 x 1 feet.

Scarlet Sage – Salvia splendens

A perennial with light to dark green leaves that flower with vibrant red blooms in autumn.   Grows 1.5 x 1 feet..

May Night Sage – Salvia sylvestris

A clump forming perennial with green hairy leaves which spike indigo-purple flower heads.  Blooms early to mid-summer.  Grows 2.5 x 1.5 feet.

 

The best places to plant are full sun sheltered from the wind.  Be sure to cut back dead stems in the spring so new shoots emerge.  Sage loves well-drained, lime and humus rich soil.  Be sure to harvest only a few leaves the first year so you allow some foliage on over winter. For the second year, only harvest the young shoots as the sage plant becomes woody with age.  The leaves must be harvested for immediate use throughout summer or in May for drying.  Do not take while pregnant, breast-feeding, epileptic, or before/during alcoholic consumption.

 

Sage has been used for centuries and is valued for its leaves and pure essential oil.  It gets its name from the Latin word “clary” meaning clear eye and is and old English remedy to heal eye problems.  For an eye compress, boil water, cool, add several drops of 100% pure essential sage oil, and soak a cotton cloth.  Relax amidst the soothing aroma on your eyes for 10 minutes while lying down to enjoy the herbs calming, anti-inflammatory healing qualities.

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