|Image via Angelia Phillips|
Aromatic, soft, savory sage is one of those special plants that does more than add flavor to some of your favorite foods. It’s also a must for incorporating into natural medicine cabinets and gardens. It’ll not only look pretty, because of its silvery-green leaves with peach-fuzz texture, when it warms up in sunshine, or is crushed (as in a few leaves pinched off and rubbed on the skin), it gives off a warm, woodsy scent.
Sage will grow about anywhere if it’s got some healthy soil to take root in, but it’s not always easy to start from seed. However, if it hangs in long enough to develop a root system, from then on, it will usually thrive without much trouble.
If you’d rather skip the seed stage, and start with a developed plant, my suggestion is to purchase one from someone you trust to be raising herbs organically and from heirloom seeds or starter plants. A word of caution about both you and old sage plants ... even huge-whopping healthy ones can keel over and die on you during harsh winters with prolonged freezing temps. In my area (southern Indiana), two winters of consistent freezing temps and more snowfall and ice than the area has experienced in years, caused loads of locals to lose their sage plants. Some were quite large, very healthy and well over ten years old.
My sister (a budding gardener - pun intended) had a huge, flourishing 8-year-old sage bush that we sadly laid to rest come summer. Heavy winter snows in the southern Indiana rivers’ valley (plural on purpose) and long-lasting, sub-freezing temps during the 2013-2014 cold season did the poor thing in. Thankfully, one small section survived and she was able to transplant it into a raised garden bed where it’s happily digging in and rubbing shoulders with a few other herbs, some carrots and beets, snugged in with a thick, cozy layer of mulch to keep it’s toes warm and protected this winter.
Taking the time to coddle sage during it’s seedling stage and through a harsh winter is worth it though, because it provides a gold-mine’s worth of health benefits. It can be easily infused into oil (I recommend extra virgin olive oil aged no less than three weeks) or a quality bourbon or vodka (aged at least the same amount of time). You don’t even have to cook it, just stick the leaves into a bottle and then pour in your oil or alcohol. You can set it in a window and let the warmth from sunlight speed up the process, but it’s not a requirement. However, don’t leave it in the window. Once it’s had a chance to age, keep it in a shaded environment, at least out of direct sunlight.
Sage (like it’s sister-plant, rosemary) is broad-spectrum and has been an effective treatment for such things as ...
NOTE: Sage is NOT recommended for therapeutic use by people with epilepsy, seizure tendencies, or diabetes.
Otherwise, it makes for an awesome cup of tea and tastes great sprinkled on freedom-fries!
“And God said, behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 2:29
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