Hello my dear readers,
December already…in almost all parts of the world is winter time, so better to stay inside with a cup of hot tea or coffee and have some good readings 🙂
Today let’s discover another very used and known aromatic herb, let’s discover the sage.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a plant that grows in coastal areas of Mediterranean countries as a small perennial shrub. Due to its widespread use and healing properties it is grown and cultivated in different regions of the world.
Sage is an aromatic plant native to southern Europe. Its resistance to extreme climates, both winter and summer, and its adaptability to any type of terrain has subsequently favored its diffusion in all temperate areas. Today it is one of the classic herbs that grown home, both in vegetable gardens and in pots.
Sage is a shrubby plant of the Lamiaceae family, a relative therefore of other important aromatic herbs such as mint, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Apart from the smell, it is easily recognizable by looking at the leaves, characterized by the elongated oval shape and above all by the light fluff which covers them, also giving a greenish color tending to gray white.
The common Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a small evergreen shrub, whose name derives from the Latin “salvus” (healthy) for its undisputed therapeutic virtues.
Considered by the Greeks and Romans the herb of health, the sage had to be harvested with a particular ritual, without the intervention of iron objects, wearing a white tunic with bare and well-washed feet.
Sage has been known since ancient times for its health-giving properties, which explains its name. The Gauls, in particular, believed that sage had the ability to cure all diseases and that it effectively acted as a “deterrent” against fever and cough. Some even believed that it had the power to resurrect the dead and for this it was also used in the preparation of magical rituals.
The Chinese believed that the sage was able to “give” longevity: in the seventeenth century, a basket of sage leaves was exchanged by Dutch merchants with three baskets of tea. In traditional Chinese medicine they still use sage to treat insomnia, depression, gastrointestinal afflictions, mental illnesses, menstrual disorders.
There are a multitude of varieties of sage, with different characteristics both in terms of aesthetics and aroma, from white sage to the very strange pineapple sage, up to the giant sage with particularly large leaves, excellent for frying.
Sage is a plant that loves the heat and prefers sunny positions, if we want to grow it on a window sill or on a balcony we must take this into consideration, avoiding the north side of the house. Even in the garden it is best to plant it away from shading elements, and choose well the point where to put it, since it could occupy the position for years, being a perennial species. Although it prefers mild climates it is a very frost-resistant plant, even if it does not tolerate it for long periods. This aromatic herb does not fear drought, it may instead have problems if situations of prolonged soil or air humidity occur.
This aromatic plant adapts to every type of soil, faithful to its Mediterranean origins, suffering only water stagnations and too compact and clayey lands. It is found particularly well on calcareous substrate.
It is a perennial species, which reaches about half a meter in height and can then expand to form a beautiful evergreen bush. At the beginning of the summer it start blooming, the small petals are purple or lilac.
Sage leaves can be picked throughout the year, as is always green even during winter and aromatic, unlike other plants such as mint and basil.
If necessary, therefore, it is enough to remove the leaves that we need, the advice is not to detach the lignified branches instead, because they are slower to reform.
Sage can live spontaneously for over 15 years and in culture for 5 to 7 years.
Using fresh leaves is always the best way to enhance the aroma and nutritional properties of this plant.
In the Middle Ages, this plant administered with food, like all the medicines of the time, also began to be recognized as a condiment capable of making food “better”.
The sage in the kitchen is used as an aromatic herb, the leaves can be cooked with meat or fried in a pan with a little butter.
It is worth growing it and always having it fresh, it has many uses in recipes being excellent both with meat and for seasoning pasta. In its simplicity it is famous for the condiment butter and sage, very good on gnocchi and ravioli. Also try a more delicious recipe: the sage leaves fried in batter.
Among the main effects recognized to the plant are the antiseptic, digestive and calming effects. According to tradition it was used in infusion to cure excessive sweating or against nervous exhaustion, or it was rubbed fresh to disinfect wounds or to make the teeth whiter.
In the Middle Ages sage was still considered a true panacea, the most effective of all medicines.
Sage leaves contain bitter principles, phenolic acids, flavonoids and an essential oil.
Sage is used in all female disorders such as premenstrual syndrome and against menopausal disorders. Promotes menstrual flow in case of amenorrhea, because the essential oil stimulates the female hormonal system and therefore the appearance of menstruation.
Sage is used in diseases of the gastrointestinal system as smooth muscle relaxant, as it exerts an antispasmodic action, useful in case of irritable bowel, spasms in the digestive tract or against menstrual pain.
Sage-based preparations are effective to combat all forms of phlegm thanks to the presence of essential oil with antiseptic and balsamic properties. For this reason it is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases in case of colds, coughs, sore throats and fever.
The sage also has a hypoglycemic action: an infusion on an empty stomach of sage is useful in the treatment of diabetes, because it reduces the blood sugar level in the blood.
100 g of sage contain 315 kcal, and:
- Proteins 10.63 g
- Carbohydrates 60.73 g
- Sugars 1.71 g
- Fats 12.7 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Dietary fiber 40.3 g
- Sodium 11 mg
My sage plant has 3 or 4 years and I’ve grown it from seeds but is more than enough for us and I love having fresh leaves when I need. With a simply touch of the leaves you can feel the gorgeous aroma.
Thank you all for reading.
Join me next time and let’s discover another piece of our world.
And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previous posts
By for now 😉🤗
Photo credit: Google, Pixabay & Popsicle Society, edited by Popsicle Society