Real sage, eternal healing power

It can be strange with our native plants and the idea that only our wild plants are healthy or medicinal. Is wild really better!? In practice, we see that within the Sage family, the various native species from the beautiful Field Sage to the rare small-flowered Sage are not used medicinally at all. Only the southern Salvia officinalis has an age-old reputation as a medicine, fortunately it also does well in our gardens. This gray-green, low-growing shrub is also perfectly winter hardy in our region, especially on well-drained calcareous soil in full sun. It grows widely and allows its hanging branches to take root again, making the plant easy to propagate by so-called propagation. You can further enhance this effect by placing soil between the plants, so you cover the bare underside of the branches and older plants can rejuvenate.


There are also different varieties of this herb with narrower or broader leaves, purple, spotted or yellowish, all of which can also be used in the kitchen or as medicine. The spotted and yellow varieties freeze more easily. The broadleaf varieties naturally produce a larger yield, also grow more compactly but flower less.
In addition to the real sage, the Clary sage or Muscat sage is interesting for us, a decorative biennial plant with its woolly leaves and pink-purple flowers surrounded by a large bract. Also fascinating because of its strange nutmeg-like smell, which was abused to flavor bad wine.

Do we have eternal life with sage in the garden?

The scholars of the Salerno school once claimed that. Whether we should take this literally is another matter. In any case, it does indicate that sage was highly valued medically. Medicinally, the sage leaf is best known for its astringent and disinfectant effect in the mouth and throat, this effect is mainly due to the combination of tannins and essential oil present in the plant. So good to use for bleeding gums, hoarseness, laryngitis and canker sores. The best method of use is to gargle extensively with a strong infusion or with a sage tincture. Simply massage the gums with a fresh leaf or simply nibble on them. Nothing new under the sun, the 16th century herbalist Matthiolus already advised rubbing the teeth and gums with fresh sage leaves to keep them firm and pure and sage extracts are again widely used in modern toothpastes.
Little is known that sage has an antiperspirant and slightly hormonal effect, making it perfect for use during menopause. The estrogen effect may ensure that women are spared from vascular and joint problems even after menopause. Still to be investigated further!
People with sweaty feet or damp hands can also benefit from the perspiration-regulating effect of our sage, the plant is said to influence the heat center in the brain. You can then use both internal tea and external foot baths. To try: sprinkle dried and powdered sage leaves in the stockings to prevent sweaty feet. It is of course easier to rub your feet with sage tincture or lotion, but I find that less heroic.

In the kitchen

Sage is one of the few herbs that I like to drink as tea. Sage steeped in milk is also a preparation method that you regularly find in old literature, not only for drinking but even as a skin lotion. In the kitchen, the leaf is mainly used for fatty meat dishes. However, the combination of fat and meat is not for me. What I do appreciate are sage fritters, nothing more than beautiful large sage leaves that are fried in fritter batter and can be enjoyed both sweet and salty.
A recipe: Mix beer, flour, egg yolks, sugar and a little salt, let this dough rest for 2 hours, then beat egg whites with semolina sugar and fold it into the dough. Dip the sage leaves in the batter and fry them romantically golden yellow.

In our herbaceous ornamental garden

Without sage, both aesthetically and healingly, I cannot imagine an herbal garden. In any case, for me it is decisive, I even move my paths to grow along with my sage plants. The originally square boxes have now become irregularly wavy groups. Sage, together with lavender, thyme and possibly Sacred Flower and Buxus, forms an evergreen-gray alternative for the conifer garden.

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