Botanical name: Salvia officinalis
Common name: Sage
Family: Labiatae
Parts used: Leaves, whole herb in culinary and medicinal recipes
Native Region: its natural habitat being the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Sage is found in its natural wild condition from Spain along the Mediterranean coast up to and including the east side of the Adriatic. It has been cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes for many centuries in England, France and Germany, being sufficiently hardy to stand any ordinary winter outside.
Botanical Description: Sage generally grows about a foot or more high, with wiry stems. The leaves are set in pairs on the stem and are 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, stalked, oblong, rounded at the ends, finely wrinkled by a strongly-marked network of veins on both sides, greyish-green in colour, softly hairy and beneath glandular. The flowers are in whorls, purplish and the corollas lipped. They blossom in August. All parts of the plant have a strong, scented odour and a warm, bitter, somewhat astringent taste, due to the volatile oil contained in the tissues.

Growing Sage: It is a hardy plant, but though a perennial, does not last above three or four years without degenerating, so that the plantation should be renewed at least every four years. It is propagated occasionally by seed, but more frequently by cuttings. New plantations are readily made by pulling off the young shoots from three-year-old plants in spring, generally in the latter end of April, as soon as they attain a sufficiency of hardness to enable them to maintain themselves on the moisture of the ground and atmosphere, while the lower extremities are preparing roots.[2]

Materia MedicaHarvesting Sage: Harvest sage before it blooms. After the dew dries in the morning, cut the stems, leaving a leaf or two at the bottom. I air-dry my sage, stringing the stems on a strong thread and hanging it in a breeze. It will dry leathery rather than crisp, because the leaves are so thick. Strip the dry leaves from the stems and place the leaves into a jar. Chop or rub the leaves into powder when you need to use them.
To use fresh sage, clip off enough of a branch to get the number of leaves you need, strip off the leaves, and chop them up if desired.

Medicinal Uses: Sage is a legendary herb well known for its phenomenal health promoting and disease preventing properties. It is one of the top antioxidants herbs and can provide powerful protection from degenerative diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, prostatitis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Sage has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties and is an excellent natural remedy for fungal, viral, and bacterial infections.

Healing Recipes: Home remedies can cause problems in certain circumstances so be sure to consult your healthcare provider before using. As a relief of congestion during a cold, add boiling water over sage leaves in a bowl and place a towel over your head while inhaling the steam.
Decongesting tea


Ingredients
2 teaspoons dry or rubbed sage (or about 6 fresh sage leaves)
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
A couple of pinches cayenne pepper (this is optional, but it does help break up congestion)
1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
Directions
Add sage to a large mug.
Pour 1 cup boiling water (a rolling boil, please) into the cup and let steep for 10 minutes.
Strain.
Add remaining ingredients and stir.
Reheat. (The tea should be served steaming hot.)

Gargle for a Sore Throat and Coughs
Put a large pinch of dried sage leaves into about a half cup (100 mL) of water. Bring to a boil and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey and use as a gargle twice a day. [4]

Culinary Recipes:
Flower in salads or infuse for a light balsamic tea. Leaves can be mixed with onion for poultry stuffing. Cook with rich, fatty meats such as pork, duck and sausage. Combine with other strong flavors: wrap around tender liver and saute in butter; blend into cheeses. Make sage vinegar and sage butter.

Sage pares well with foods rich in oils and fats. We often use it in stuffing for turkey and sausages. In England, sage is often added to cheese (sage Derby) or added to sauteed onions. Germans often add sage to sausages either as an ingredient in the ground meat (1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp dried sage to each 2 pounds) or added to carmelized onions on a bun with a grilled link. Sage can alos be added to butter drenched pasta and served as a side dish. [5]

Orange Sage Marinade
Blend 1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 cup Dijon mustard in a large bowl. Then, marinade up to 3 pounds of boneless chicken or pork pieces in the mix for 1-3 hours (in the refrigerator) before grilling or broiling them.

Baked Chicken
Lightly coat a whole chicken or chicken pieces with oil or melted butter. Then, sprinkle on chopped fresh sage, rosemary, and marjoram with salt and pepper to suit your taste before baking the chicken.

Sage Dip
Combine 1- 8 oz. package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped celery leaves in a food processor and blend until smooth. Then, place in a bowl and refrigerate 5-8 hours to blend flavors. Serve at room temperature.[6]

References
[1] http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sages-05.html
[2] http://www.henriettes-herb.com/faqs/culi-2-3-sage.html
[3] http://theherbgardener.blogspot.com/2012/12/sage-tea-for-colds.html
[4] http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/how-sage-can-help-your-health/
[5] http://www.denverpost.com/2012/07/23/fresh-sage-what-it-is-and-how-to-use-it/
[6] http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-With-Sage

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