Salvia is it’s botanical name which in latin means “to save or to heal” as in the word salvation. My research tells me there is an old saying, “Why should anyone die who has sage in their garden?”
People have been cooking with sage for thousands of years: Recipes for sage pancakes have been dated to the 5th century B.C. Modern day cooking sees it paired quite often with poultry. What would a Thanksgiving turkey be without sage?
Sage is often made into a tea and drank to aid digestion and stimulate appetite. It is used to reduce gas in the intestines and because it is an antispasmodic it can be used to relieve abdominal cramps and bloating.
There are studies that show sage can cut excessive perspiration in half. It may be of help to menopausal women with hot flashes that induce profuse sweating. Also, it is often used to dry up milk production in mothers when weaning a child from breast feeding.
Sage can dry up phlegm and you can gargle with the tea to treat coughs and tonsil or throat infections.
Sage also has been recommended as a hair rinse for dandruff, oily hair, or infections of the scalp.
The essential oil of sage contains alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, and cineole, which are antioxidant and antimicrobial agents. The volatile oils in sage kill bacteria, making the herb useful for all types of bacterial infections.
Excessive use of sage can cause headaches and irritability. It may also induce seizures in epileptics. However, the amounts you would use in cooking or for short term treatment of symptoms is completely safe.
This is what sage looks like after drying in the oven. Some like to hang their herbs to dry. Others use dehydrators. I use my oven.
- Fill as many baking trays as you can get in your oven with fresh sage leaves. Lay them out individually but tight together on the tray. They will shrink and curl as they dry. Do not stack them. Stacking them will cause them to dry unevenly causing some to be finished drying while others are not yet dry.
- Place the oven on its lowest setting (mine is 170) and leave sage in for approximately 2-3 hours. This will depend on your oven and its setting. After 2 hours check the feel of the sage. It is finished drying when all the leaves are crisp. Keep watch though. You don’t want to burn it. This sage took 2 1/2 hours.
- After it is dried, let cool.
- With clean hands or a food glove on, crumble it as you wish into the container of your choice.
I crumble mine like this. I can use this size to place in a tea bag or to season.
After it is crumbled, fresh dried sage should have a crisp yet somewhat furry soft texture. You will know what I mean when you feel it. Sage that is old will have lost it’s furry feel. It is best thrown out and replaced.
When making a tea, you may want to add mint, lemongrass, chamomile or other herbs of your liking to cut the pungent flavor of sage alone. Play with your mixtures until you find one or more you like best. Don’t forget to document what you did. You may not remember it correctly next time.