Sage is an evergreen woody stemmed shrub with strong spicy aroma and slightly bitter and astringent taste. It grows up to 60 cm in height. It has grayish green stalked slender leaves, rough in tinged with green.
Sage has a beneficial influence on the brain, nerves, eyes and glands. It contains a volatile oil, resin, tannin and a bitter principle. The oil is composed of camphor, salvene, cineol and pinene. The fresh leaves provide appreciable amounts of vitamin A and C.
Botanical Name: Salvia officinails
Indian Name: Salvia or sefakuss
Below are some of the medicinal properties of sage:
- Sage has a reputation to retard old age and restore energy. It helps in quickening the senses and memory, strengthening the sinews and restoring health to those suffering from palsies and trembling of limbs.
- It is considered very useful in failing memory. The herb acts on the cortex of the brain thereby eliminating memory exhaustion and improving concentration.
- Sage is useful in preventing grey hair if blended in hair tonics.
- Tea prepared from sage leaves is useful in coping with stress. It can be prepared by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried sage leaves with lid on. It should be infused for few minutes before straining and sweetening with honey, if desired. In case of fresh leaves, a tablespoon of chopped sage leaves can be used tea prepared similarly.
- It is known for its healing action on the throat and mouth. Gargles and mouthwashes use it as the principal ingredient. Leaves rubbed on the teeth regularly help to keep them sparkling white and strengthen the gums.
To treat sore throat, half a liter of boiling water should be poured on a handful of sage leaves. When moderately cool a little vinegar and honey should be added. This mixture should be used as a gargle. While gargling, a teaspoon of this mixture can also be taken internally.
- Leafy sprigs of sage were among the strewing herbs spread on the floors of old manors, for it was believed to be an antiseptic to guard against plague and other infections.
Sage is one of the most popular herbs used in culinary preparations in the west. It helps counteract the harmful richness of foods like pork, goose, duck and oily fish. It also combines well with dairy foods, bean and pea soups. Dried and powdered leaves are mixed with cooked vegetables and sprinkled on cheese dishes. Fresh sage leaves are used in salads and sandwiches.