Sage, Salvia officinalis, or rather, is an evergreen shrub that grows in thick bushes. And ‘native of southern Europe and is widespread in all countries with a mild climate and in all Italian regions.
According to the Cronquist classification belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, the Kingdom Plantae, Division, Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, Lamiaceae family, subfamily Neptoideae, Mentheae Tribe, Genus Salvia, S. officinalis Species.
The genus name is coined from the Latin salveo (star healthy), for the medicinal properties of some species. The specific epithet officinalis is derived from the Latin term workshop (lab), to emphasize the use of the plant in the pharmaceutical, herbal, liqueur and perfumery.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The common sage is native to the Mediterranean basin and also in Italy can be found in the wild.
The sage was known since ancient times: the Egyptians, the Romans and the medieval populations considered it the herb that cured all evil.
The Common Sage is a small evergreen shrub.
The simple leaves, Clotted to the touch, have a greyish-green color and a distinctive odor. The shape is oval with crenate margin, penninervie ribs, petiolate hanging with simple insertion.
Salvia, commonly called sacred herb, tea Greece, Grass Savua, Salvia from Osei and Selvia, is a native of southern Europe; with us is cultivated in gardens. It reaches a height of 30-70 cm; its flowers are verticillati. The leaves are opposite, whitish, sweatshirts, silvery color, give off a slightly bitter and aromatic scent. The fruits are formed at the base of the flowers and the tiny seeds contain dark brown ovoid.
Sage features an abundance of species, to name them all we should write pages and pages; below we will discuss some of these.
Salvia officinalis: is a perennial species with reduced size, the maximum height that can be reached is below the meter. And ‘the wild version of the sage, the one we use in the kitchen to flavor our dishes, is located in the meadows, has green-silver leaves and flowers on the violet growing together at the top of the branches. The best-known varieties of this species Salvia officinalis Olbiflora with white flowers and Salvia officinalis purpurascens with red flowers, is used in cooking but has the characteristic of having more tough leaves compared to that described above, is excellent for therapeutic use.
Clary Sage: This species, which is also perennial, has European origins, with heart-shaped leaves and pale blue flowers that begin to grow and bloom at the beginning of the summer season, it can reach a height of one meter. This plant is particularly rich in essential oils so is often used to prepare perfumes and essences, flavored wines.
A rare species and particular is the Salvia desoleana typical of Sardinia, has large leaves covered the light down, the flowers are white to mottled brown, it has a characteristic aroma. It then other species which are known for their highly original aromas: Salvia Dorisiana with fruity aroma, Salvia greggii with peach flavor, Salvia rutilans with the original pineapple aroma.
The sage propagation is by seed or cuttings. The seeds are distributed in parallel and buried file at the beginning of the spring season. The container should be placed in a shaded area at a temperature of about 18 ° C, the soil should always have a constant humidity until the seeds germinate. Typically, the germination occurs after about three weeks. It is advisable to bury a good amount of seeds, the percentage of germination is quite low. The container with the seeds must be covered with plastic so that the temperature and the degree of humidity remain constant and the soil with dry too quickly. Always check every day or every second, it was the soil. The moment you will see the first shoots, remove the plastic and increase the dose of light as the seedlings grow remembering to give them a good air exchange. At this point, you must delete the weakest seedlings in order to provide greater space for development to those most luxuriant. When the seedlings are well grown they must be carefully transplanted in another pot with a well-drained, sandy loam. The right time to pick up the cuttings are two: March-April or June to July. The length of the shoot tip is around 8-10 centimeters and mother plants should have reached about 2-3 years of age.
As already recommended in other articles, remember to always use a sharp, clean knife when taking cuttings, so as not to damage them or infect them. Proceed with the elimination of the lower leaves and, with the usual procedure, put the cut into a substance that promotes root development. Now take a pot with two parts of fertile soil and a sandy and make as many holes are cuttings at our disposal; Also here the vessel will covered with plastic and placed in a shady place where the temperature will remain at 18 ° C and the soil must always stay moist. Control the situation every day. For the first shoots, remove the plastic and increase the amount of light, maintaining the temperature at 18 ° C and wait for the cuttings become more robust; When the cuttings are grown enough transplant them into a larger pot or in the ground.
The sage plant should be fertilized with liquid fertilizer mixed with water and watering is given every 15 days in spring and summer. As for other aromatic plants, it is necessary that the fertilizer is rich in nitrogen but also other elements such as phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, molybdenum, manganese, zinc, boron.
This plant should not be watered a lot, once every three weeks is enough. Always pay close attention to water stagnation, even sage fears them a lot and are one of the most common causes that lead to the death of the sage; before proceeding with a subsequent watering, let the soil is dry.
Towards the end of the summer, after flowering, it would be advisable to prune the plant to encourage the development of new vegetation.
The collection of leaves will take three spring and autumn seasons, can be cleaned with a cloth and are ready for culinary use; if not used immediately can be dried in the shade and keep.
Sage is subject to many diseases, we will explain below, and suggest some major remedies.
If the leaves are covered with the white mold, it means that the plant has been plagued by mildew, this disease is caused by Erysiphe, a fungus. It is not a dangerous disease, we must proceed with the pull-infested plant parts.
If you notice that the leaves are formed small black spots, it could be infested with mildew, this is also a fungus, but it can do much harm to the health of the plant. The symptoms are manifested by the rolling of the leaves, the drying up and falling. We recommend the use of copper-based products.
Also this plant is suffering from root rot. This disease is caused by fungi (Pythium and Rhizoctonia) that proliferate when humidity is high. The only solution is to not use too much water intake and avoid stagnant water.
The symptoms that the plant manifests itself after undergoing a Nematodes attack, are: yellowing of the leaves and lesions with consequent fall of the same. Avoid creating too much moisture and wetting the leaves. If the disease is already in an advanced state, remove infested parts. The red spider mite is also enemy of this plant, it causes the curling of leaves and creates in their bottom of the white cobwebs. The ideal environment for the multiplication of this mite is the absence of moisture, to remedy this attack then increase it. Finally we come to aphids, if you are faced with an infestation caused by these lice, proceed with the administration of natural pesticides.
Customs and traditions –
The sage name comes from the Latin salus, which means health, this thanks to the medicinal and healing properties of this plant. Even today sage is widely used in cooking to flavor dishes, in some Italian regions are very famous ravioli with melted butter and sage; put in the cabinets helps to keep moths away. Sage is very effective to treat symptoms of depression, discomfort and soothe asthma attacks, but not only that, it also has an antiseptic power, antisudorifero, hypoglycemic, stimulant, expectorant and digestive. The sage extract strengthens the gums and is a great for whitening teeth.
Though the fragrance of sage is very inviting, just be careful not to overdo it.
They should not be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding. It is advisable not to take for a long time sage, or abuse it with massive doses as absinthe contains toxic substances and is contraindicated for hypertensive and the epileptic.
Another type, the sage of the meadows (Salvia pratensis) is located on the slopes, pastures and meadows. The bleu-purple flowers shine from afar and give off an aromatic scent. Salvia of lawn is usually only use flowers for gargling or for the preparation of vinegar with sage – vinegar natural if it puts to macerate a handful – used for the stressed clutches and pleasing during a long stay. They capture the leaves before flowering in May and June. Since the plant during the hot and dry days develops the essential oils, the best time to grasp the leaves is to noon when it’s hot, and essicarle shade.
Salvia officinale, however, has a higher therapeutic power of which we shall say later. Already our fathers Salvia was a famous medicinal plant. A 1300 proverb says: “Why die as long as the garden grows sage?” The name itself reflects the great respect which he enjoyed this plant among men since ancient times. As the Sage was praised in ancient times there is shown by the text of a beautiful old herbarium: “When the Holy Virgin Mary fled with baby Jesus, asked for help to all the wild flowers; but no one gave shelter. Then he leaned toward the Salvia and behold, he found shelter. Under its thick foliage and repairer she hid with Child from Herod’s henchmen. These went first and not discovered it. Passed the danger, the Virgin reappeared from beneath the plant and said lovingly Sage: “Henceforth and forever will be one of the favorite plants of the men. I’ll give you the power to heal from any disease; save them from death as you did with me. ” ‘
The infusion of Salvia drunk repeatedly strengthens the entire body, it prevents strokes and is very effective in paralysis. Against night sweat is, apart from the Lavender, the only medicinal plant which is beneficial; completely heals the disease, because of night sweats, freeing the patient through its tonic powers of the great weakness that accompanies this disease. Many doctors have recognized the good qualities of the sage; use it successfully against convulsions, diseases of the spinal cord, as well as those glandular against the trembling of limbs. During the diseases mentioned above they sip two cups a day. The tea has a beneficial effect on the liver, free from flatulence and all disorders associated with the ailing liver. Also acts as a blood purifier, remove the mucus from the respiratory organs and the stomach, stimulates appetite and free from intestinal disorders and the diarrhea.
Externally the infusion of Salvia is especially recommended against all the inflammation of the tonsils, throat diseases, the festering outbreaks of teeth, pharyngitis and oral inflammation. In many children and adults you would not have arrived with the operation of the tonsils, if you were served in time of Salvia. An infusion of Salvia subject it should be against the teeth bleeding and tottering, against the atrophy and ulceration of the gums. Either they make the mouthwash, or cotton balls soaked apply with it.
On insect bites apply the leaves of Salvia chopped. Apart from the useful employment as a medicinal plant, Salvia is always remembered as delicious a spice in cooking. This is added in small quantities to the fatty dishes such as roast pork, goose or turkey. Also improves the flavor of the game with the addition of a leaf of sage. If only for health reasons, you should use the Sage as an ingredient in cheese with herbs and green sauces. In some regions they bake “pizza” or “buns” Sage. They are added to the paste of the leaves of Salvia as generally wont do with anise.
Method of preparation –
Herbal tea: Boil a liter of boiling water 1 teaspoon dessert filled with sage; let it rest for a short time.
Sage vinegar: Fill a bottle Neck of grass Salvia flowers, without compressing them and pour over natural vinegar until covering the flowers; let stand the bottle so packed for 15 days in the sun or heat.
Sitz baths: Steep for one night in cold water four handfuls of leaves. The next day heat the whole to boiling and pour the filtrate into the bath water.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Please note: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgici uses are indicated for information purposes only, do not represent in any way a medical prescription; it accepts no liability on their use for therapeutic purposes, cosmetic or food.