Basic Facts about the Sage Herb
The sage herb is also called red sage, broadleaf sage, and kitchen sage. It is a smallish perennial shrub of evergreen type, with woody stems, leaves that are grayish in color, and flowers that run from purple to blue.
People originally found the plant in the region of the Mediterranean, and it is commonly used as an ornamental plant, a medicinal herb, and a kitchen (cooking) herb. The sage herb is also grown in some parts of Europe.
Sage herb is said to have a slightly peppery flavor. In western cooking, the herb is used for helping to flavor meats that may be fatty, and it is used as a marinade.
It is also used in some types of cheese and for drinks. In Britain and the United States, these herbs are used along with the onion for sauces and pork or poultry stuffing. In France, it is used in vegetable soups and in cooking white meat.
Germans frequently use it in dishes with sausage. Herbs are commonly used in Italian cooking as well. The sage is sautéed in butter and olive oil until crisp, and then pasta is added. Sage is used for roasting mutton in the Middle East and the Balkans.
Sage herb is also used for medicinal purposes. Its botanical name in Latin means “to heal.” It has long been debated whether sage has medical values, but it has been taken for many years for various ailments. It is sometimes used for a tonic, hypoglycemic, estrogenic, antispasmodic, astringent, antifungal, antibiotic, and anhidrotic.
Evidence supports that it does help in some of these cases. This type of herb has even been proven in studies to treat moderate and mild Alzheimer’s disease.
The most helpful part of the herb, medically speaking, is the oil, which contains thujone, borneol, and cineole. The leaf of the sage herb also contains estrogenic substances, flavonoid glycosides, flavones, nicotinamide, niacin, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, fumaric acid, cornsolic acid, ursolic acid, oleic acid, and tannic acid.
Use this herb only with caution, and contact your physician if you take central nervous system depressants or stimulants, as the sage may interact with these medications.
Sage herb has been used for thousands of years. It has been used in the treatment of bleeding, ulcers, swelling, and sprains. Mixed as a tea, sage can help coughs and sore throats. Herbalists have also found the sage herb useful in treating excessive menstrual bleeding and rheumatism. It is also said to sharpen the senses, improve memory and strengthen the nervous system.
Herbs contain chemical substances that interact with compounds in the body, and, as seen above, they have been beneficial in treating various maladies. Check with your health care provider before you start any herbal or other medications.
A Few Facts About the Sage Plant
Culinary sage and Common sage are terms used to describe the group of the genus Salvia, harvested from the sage plant. These are perennial evergreen shrubs with leaves that tend to be grayish colored and woolly, and they add a sense of earthiness to food. In mid-summer, you can see spikes of flowerheads appear in hues of blue and purple.
The sage plant usually blooms in the middle of the summer, and it may or may not bloom the first year it is planted. It depends on the area where it is planted and its size when it is planted. It would be best to let the plant grow for the first year without harvesting any blossoms.
After that, you can harvest the leaves any time you want to. They are considered to be at their peak right before and right after the plant blooms.
The sage plant will become a woody shrub of small size that may need to be replaced every two to four years. If you prune them when they are mature, it may help to rejuvenate the plants. While a plant is in the prime of adulthood, it is a handsome addition to ornamental borders or herb gardens. Especially useful in gardens are the tri-color, golden and purple varieties.
The common sage is very useful for seasoning and is an easy plant to care for in your garden. To make your garden area diverse, you can plant tricolor varieties with S. Officinalis, as the variation of its pink, purple, white, and green leaves make it very ornamental.
Sage leaves are often used as a seasoning for meat and poultry. You can use dried sage or fresh, and sage can make a tasty tea, as well. Oftentimes you will see branches and leaves used in crafts, such as fall wreaths.
You can start to grow the sage plant from transplanting, root cuttings, or seed. Sage seed will need to be planted while it is very fresh, and even so, maybe slow to establish itself. If you are starting a plant with root cuttings, you can help them make a start by layering them. If you’d prefer not to start your own, you can buy sage plants in most garden stores in the early months of spring.
The sage plant does best in a sunny and warm location, although not like extremely high heat. Any type of soil is acceptable, as long as it drains well.
If you wait till the plant blooms and then prune it, this will help keep your plant attractive and keep it from getting too leggy and woody. If you wish to fertilize, it is best to do it in the spring.
Some Quick Facts About Russian Sage
Russian sage is a semi-woody, deciduous shrub with gray-white upright stems and silvery-gray lobed leaves that may grow to 2 inches in length. The older stems on the shrub are woody at their bases.
The leaves and stems give off an odor that can be very pungent if bruised or crushed. In the late months of Summer and Autumn, this sage brings forth one-foot-long spires of lavender flowers that are tubular and small.
The flowering continues for two to three months. Russian sage generally is a clump-type shrub, about three to five feet tall and two or three feet wide. The plant can fall over, especially if it isn’t able to absorb full sunlight.
Sage plants can create a purple-colored haze in your butterfly garden. The “Blue haze” variety has leaves with almost no lobes, and the “Filagren” variety has leaves almost like those of a fern.
The “Blue Mist” variety has flowers of a lovely light blue color, and it usually blooms fairly early in the season. “Blue Spire” sage has flowers that tend to be darker and violet in color. “Longin” is a type that spreads out less than other types and is more upright.
Russian sage is originally found in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it grows particularly well in rocky or gravelly areas. It prefers full sun but will survive in the shade if you don’t mind staking it. It is fairly resistant to drought and performs best in the United States in areas with temperate climates.
Russian sage is happiest in plantings with mass. You can include them in a border with other mixed plants. The stems in the color of pale gray provide a vertically strong element, and they can be beautiful in the winter when they don’t have any leaves.
Sage should be cut back nearly to ground level before spring growth begins to encourage new growth. Sage does fine in chalky and dry soils with a high pH level and is drought and salt tolerant. It is an excellent shrub to plant in a garden by the sea.
Russian sage is fairly easy to grow, and it prefers being placed in full sun and an area with well-drained soil. The gray-colored leaves and stems provide an excellent background for the flowers of pale lavender.
When pruned back to about 6 inches, these plants do well right before growth starts in the spring. In warmer areas, you can achieve two bloomings if you deadhead them. But even if you don’t pull the dead blooms, you’ll have a beautiful winter flower.