Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment, tea.
Leaves and flowers - raw or cooked. A very common herb, the strongly aromatic leaves are used as a flavouring in cooked foods. They are an aid to digestion and so are often used with heavy, oily foods. They impart a sausage-like flavour to savoury dishes. The young leaves and flowers can be eaten raw, boiled, pickled or used in sandwiches. The flowers can also be sprinkled on salads to add colour and fragrance. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is said to improve the digestion. An essential oil obtained from the plant is used commercially to flavour ice cream, sweets, baked goods etc.
Sage has a very long history of effective medicinal use and is an important domestic herbal remedy for disorders of the digestive system. Its antiseptic qualities make it an effective gargle for the mouth where it can heal sore throats, ulcers etc. The leaves applied to an aching tooth will often relieve the pain. The whole herb is antihydrotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, galactofuge, stimulant, tonic and vasodilator. Sage is also used internally in the treatment of excessive lactation, night sweats, excessive salivation (as in Parkinson's disease), profuse perspiration (as in TB), anxiety, depression, female sterility and menopausal problems.
Many herbalists believe that the purple-leafed forms of this species are more potent medicinally. This remedy should not be prescribed to pregnant women or to people who have epileptic fits. The plant is toxic in excess or when taken for extended periods - though the toxic dose is very large. Externally, it is used to treat insect bites, skin, throat, mouth and gum infections and vaginal discharge. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use. The essential oil from the plant is used in small doses to remove heavy collections of mucous from the respiratory organs and mixed in embrocations for treating rheumatism. In larger doses, however, it can cause epileptic fits, giddiness etc. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy.
Compost, essential, ground cover, repellent, teeth.
The leaves make excellent tooth cleaners, simply rub the top side of the leaf over the teeth and gums. The purple-leafed form of sage has tougher leaves and is better for cleaning the teeth. The leaves have antiseptic properties and can heal diseased gums. An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery, hair shampoos (it is good for dark hair) and as a food flavouring. and is also used to flavour toothpastes. The plant (the flowers?) is an alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The growing or dried plant is said to repel insects, it is especially useful when grown amongst cabbages and carrots. A good dense ground cover plant for sunny positions, though it needs weeding for the first year or two. They are best spaced about 60cm apart each way.
Requires a very well-drained light sandy soil in a sunny position. Prefers a calcareous soil. Dislikes heavy or acid soils. Succeeds in dry soils, tolerating drought once it is established. Sage can be killed by excessive winter wet and winter-planted bushes often die. A very ornamental plant, sage is commonly grown in the herb garden for culinary and medicinal purposes. There are some named varieties. 'Albiflora' is said to be the best culinary sage. 'Purpurea' has tougher leaves than the type and makes a better tooth cleaner. Plants need to be trimmed in late spring in order to keep them compact. They tend to degenerate after a few years and are best replaced after about 4 years. The leaves emit a unique pungent aroma when pressed. A good companion for many plants, including rosemary, cabbages and carrots, the growing plant is said to repel insects. It is inhibited by wormwood growing nearby and dislikes growing with basil, rue or the cucumber and squash family.
Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. In areas where the plant is towards the limits of its hardiness, it is best to grow the plants on in a greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of heeled shoots, taken off the stem in May and planted out directly into the garden grow away well. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, June to August in a frame. Easy. Cuttings of mature wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, November/December in a cold frame. Layering in spring or autumn. Mound soil up into the plants, the branches will root into this soil and they can be removed and planted out 6 - 12 months later.