Chinese: shengren / shu wei cao
Japanese: seiji / sejihabu
Greek: sphakos / elelisphakos / lelifagus
French: feuille de la bergere / herbe sacre / sauge vrai sauge
Turkish: adacayi / maramia
Spanish / Italian: salvia
Latin (scientific nomenclature): Salvia officinalis (other nomenclature exist, depending on the varietal)
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY: Sage is a commonplace herb used throughout the world for both culinary and medicinal purposes, however, due to the large number of specific varietals, many types of sage are cultivated and employed, each with their own distinctly subtle characteristics and nuances.
The most commonly employed varietal however is the common sage – a hardy, small perennial shrub characterized by woody stems replete with green, jade-hued or grey-green hued broad, pungent leaves measuring between one centimeter in length, to as much as six-and-a-half centimeters in some species.
It is also notable for its colourful inflorescence, which is typically violet, fuchsia, lavender, white or deep-pink in colour. Said to be a native of the Mediterranean, sage also grows profusely in other parts of the world, and has been employed as a medicine and culinary herb in Asia and the Americas just as it was in the Old World.
Sage is a relatively small shrub, growing no more than two feet in length upon maturity, with its broad leaves replete with tiny hairs. Sage is a highly common name for a number of plants with a known sweet-smelling aroma, and as such, there are a numbers of plants which are referred to as sage, but that are unrelated to true sage.
Likewise, sage also belongs to a moderately large family, with different varietals, each with their own distinct characteristics, uses, and properties. New cultivars are even being created, although these are usually grown more for ornamental, rather than practical purposes.
IN MAGICK: Any knowledgeable witch, mystic, shaman, or other similar spiritual path follower could tell you how useful sage is. White sage is probably the most easily identified in shops around the globe, a tight thick bundle of silvery white leaves tied with thread, ready to burn for smudging, which is a process for purifying areas of negative energies.
Sage is not only useful for purifying, but also dealing with grief and loss. Place sage near a personal object of the person you are casting healing spells or performing healing rituals for. Sage is also good to carry on your person to help boost your mental prowess and wisdom. Using sage in incense or sachets helps with mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health as well as longevity.
You can also use sage leaves for simple divination! Write a wish on a sage leaf and place it under your pillow for three nights. If you dream of your wish, it’s bound to come true! If not, it’s best to bury the leaf outside to prevent personal harm.
FOR PERSONAL CLEANSING: If your energy is low, or you feel depressed and out of sorts, or if you have been around negative people in a negative situation, try cleansing your entire energy field. The most effective way to do this is with a broad, strong feather, or a group of feathers in a fan. Have someone sweep the smoke over the entire outline of your body, front and back, head to toe. Don’t forget the top of your head and bottom of your feet. If you don’t have someone to do this for you, pass the sage bundle around your own body covering as much area as you can. Breathe deeply and calmly while doing this, and you’ll notice the difference at once.
Before going to bed, try using sage to clean away the physical and emotional grime and stress of the day. For a peaceful night’s rest, break off a single leaf, and burn it carefully in your safe container. Be sure there’s no paper around, or anything that can catch fire. Remember to blow the flame out at once. You don’t want the fire……you want the smoke.
FOR HOUSE CLEANSING: To cleanse and bless your house or apartment, again use the entire bundle to light. Open your front door. Go to the back of the house, and cover as much of the room as you can reach. Be sure to hold the bundle as high as you can. Don’t forget the corners of the rooms. Work from the back toward the open door at the front. Go into every room, including bathrooms, closets, utility rooms, kitchen…everywhere. When you get to the front door, say “Anything not here for the highest and best good of those who live here, be gone. You are not wanted, and you are not welcome. This home has been cleansed and blessed.” Then walk out the door, close it, and sage around the door and door frame. Leave the bundle outside to burn itself out. Make sure you put it on dirt, or on something that will not burn.
Sage is a wonderful gift from Mother Earth. Use it wisely, and it will serve you well.
CULINARY USES: Sage has been employed as a medicinal and culinary herb since time immemorial, although it is the latter practice that has remained to this day. Sage’s fragrant aroma is typically incorporated into meat-based dishes, especially when it comes to cooking poultry (of both the wild and cultivated kind), seafood, and certain types of game. It is widely used in stuffing recipes for turkey and chicken.
Sage can be employed as a spice, a garnish, or a condiment-cum-seasoning in both its fresh and dried form.
MEDICINAL USES: Sage is an incredibly useful herb, widely considered to be perhaps the most valuable herb. It is anti-flammatory, anti-oxidant, and antifungal. In fact, according to the noted resource World’s Healthiest Foods, “Its reputation as a panacea is even represented in its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means ‘to be saved’.” It was used as a preservative for meat before the advent of refrigeration (eminently useful: you never know when you’ll be forced to hunt in the wild).
Sage aids digestion, relieves cramps, reduces diarrhea, dries up phlegm, fights colds, reduces inflammation and swelling, acts as a salve for cuts and burns, and kills bacteria. Sage apparently even brings color back to gray hair. A definite concern when lost in the woods.
SAFETY NOTES: While sage is considered a relatively safe herb to consume on a regular basis, this only bodes true if (of course) it is consumed in moderate amounts.
Prolonged or copious consumption of sage in any form can cause un-savoury side-effects, among them heart arrhythmia, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Very strong decoctions and alcoholic extracts of sage should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women due to its possible abortifacient effects.
Furthermore, alcoholic extracts (tinctures) of sage can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts or if partaken of undiluted because of the presence of the chemical thujone, which can cause unsavoury hallucinations, convulsions, vomiting, and even death in very large concentrations.
The external use of sage may also cause mild to moderate allergic reactions in some individuals, although this is rare.
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