It is much cultivated as a kitchen and medicinal herb, and is also called Garden sage, Kitchen sage, and Dalmatian sage. In southern Europe related species are sometimes cultivated for the same purpose, and may be confused with the common sage. Although this plant was the one originally called by this name sage, a number of related species are now also called by it, and are described in more detail in the article on sage.
The uses and benefits ascribed to it are many and varied, and are often shared with related species. Uses of common sage include:
- infusions, which are considered to have a calming effect, to soothe a sore throat and as a digestive agent
- preservative flavourings, for instance of cheese
- as a cooking flavouring, such as in sage and onion stuffing
A number of cultivars of the plant exist. The majority of these are cultivated more often for ornament than for their herbal properties. All these are valuable as small ornamental flowering shrubs, and for low ground cover, especially in sunny dry situations. They are easily raised from summer cuttings. Named cultivars include
- "Purpurascens", a purple-leafed cultivar, considered by some to be strongest of the garden sages,
- "Tricolor", a cultivar with white, yellow and green variegated leaves,
- "Berggarten", a cultivar with huge leaves,
- "Icterina", a cultivar with yellow-green variegated leaves,
- "Alba", a white-flowered cultivar,
- "Lavandulaefolia", a small leaved cultivar.
|“||Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?||”|
—attributed to Martin Luther
|“||Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden, if not because nothing can stand against death?||”|
—attributed to Hildegard of Bingen
|“||Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.||”|
As a herb, sage is considered to have a slight peppery flavour. In Western cooking, it is used for flavouring fatty meats (especially as a marinade), cheeses (Sage Derby), and some drinks. In Britain and Flanders, sage is used with onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes, and sage forms the dominant flavouring in the English Lincolnshire sausage. Sage is also common in Italian cooking. Sage is sauteed in olive oil and butter until crisp, then plain or stuffed pasta is added (burro e salvia). In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton.
The Latin name for sage: salvia, means “to heal”. Although the effectiveness of Common Sage is often open to debate, it has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment. Modern evidence supports its effects as an antihydrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic.. In a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, sage was found to be effective in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
The strongest active constituents of Sage are within its essential oil, which contains cineole, borneol, and thujone. Sage leaf contains tannic acid, oleic acid, ursonic acid, ursolic acid, cornsole, cornsolic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, flavones, flavone glycosides, and estrogenic substances.
Source: The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses, Deni Bown (New York: DK, 2001)
Toxic in excess or over long periods. Contraindicated during pregnancy and for epilepsy.
Drug Interactions: from appliedhealth.com
- The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses,i like herbs Deni Bown (New York: DK, 2001)
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