Definition of Sage
adjective \ ˈsāj \
1a: wise through reflection and experience
b archaic: grave, solemn
2: proceeding from or characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment
1: one (such as a profound philosopher) distinguished for wisdom
2: a mature or venerable man of sound judgment
1a: a European perennial mint (Salvia officinalis) with grayish-green aromatic leaves used especially in flavoring meats; broadly: salvia
b: the fresh or dried leaves of sage
3: a light grayish green
Clearly, it’s a wise move to use sage.
Not only is it good food, the herb also has a powerful meaning.
A perennial evergreen shrub that is part of the mint family, sage (salvia officinalis) has long been used for food, medicine, and just because it’s pretty.
Sage as medicine
Historically, it has been used:
- to ward off evil spirits
- to treat snakebites
- to increase female fertility
- as a diuretic
- as an anesthetic
- as a styptic to stop bleeding
- as an ingredient in Four Thieves Vinegar to ward off the plague
- as a blood stimulant
- as a general health tonic
- to improve the health of hair
- to treat insect bites and wasp stings
- to help with nervous conditions
- in mouth care
- to reduce fevers
In the book, Herball, printed in 1597 by John Gerard, sage is touted as “singularly good for the head and brain, it quickeneth the senses and memory, strengtheneth the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy, and taketh away shakey trembling of the members.”
Current herbalists love it for all of the above reasons. Plus, you can burn sage, also called smudging, to cleanse the air of chemical toxins and get rid of bad juju from physical spaces and people.
Sage as food
I love the warm, earthy flavor of sage. Especially in the colder months of the year, adding sage to foods gives them a warmth and vibrancy not found with any other herb. Plus, it’s one of the herbs that is just as good fresh or dried. Any time I make sausage or turkey, I throw in at least a pinch of sage.
Sage pairs especially well with:
- pork and sausages
- winter squashes
- turkey and other poultry
- cheese and butter
Here’s a great roundup of recipes using sage: 11 Recipes to Make with the Ultimate Fall Herb.
You can also fry the fresh leaves in a little butter for a crispy, nutty garnish for any of the above foods.
Grab some sage, and get cooking and cleansing. You’ll be wiser for it.