Herbal Lore~Sage

I love herbal lore, growing herbs, and reading old herbals.  You noted a lot of ‘herbs’ in that sentence.  After experiencing one of our all time worst winters on record in the Shenandoah Valley, followed by the hottest, driest summer ever, many of my plants bit the dust, however sage hung on in several places (as did a number of herbs).  Needless to say I shall be replanting a lot of herbs and perennials this next spring and praying for a kinder, gentler season. That’s the good thing about gardening, next year we have a fresh chance, next year will be better,  and I actually believe that every single year.  The eternal optimist.

Now, more on sage:

(Old English) Sawge~Its name from the Latin salvus, means safe or healthy. “Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?”13th century quote~and another famous saying, “He that would live for aye, must eat sage in May.”

From A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve:

An old tradition recommends that Rue shall be planted among the Sage, so as to keep away noxious toads from the valued and cherished plants. It was held that this plant would thrive or wither, just as the owner’s business prospered or failed, and in Bucks, another tradition maintained that the wife rules when Sage grows vigorously in the garden.”

The following is a translation of an old French saying: ‘Sage helps the nerves and by its powerful might Palsy is cured and fever put to flight.’

Gerard says: ‘Sage is singularly good for the head and brain, it quickeneth the senses and memory, strengtheneth the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy, and taketh away shakey trembling of the members.’

Among many uses of the herb, Culpepper says that it is: ‘Good for diseases of the liver and to make blood. A decoction of the leaves and branches of Sage made and drunk, saith Dioscorides, provokes urine and causeth the hair to become black. It stayeth the bleeding of wounds and cleaneth ulcers and sores. Three spoonsful of the juice of Sage taken fasting with a little honey arrests spitting or vomiting of blood in consumption. It is profitable for all pains in the head coming of cold rheumatic humours, as also for all pains in the joints, whether inwardly or outwardly.

The juice of Sage in warm water cureth hoarseness and cough. Pliny saith it cureth stinging and biting serpents. Sage is of excellent use to help the memory, warming and quickening the senses. The juice of Sage drunk with vinegar hath been of use in the time of the plague at all times. Gargles are made with Sage, Rosemary, Honeysuckles and Plantains, boiled in wine or water with some honey or alum put thereto, to wash sore mouths and throats, as need requireth. It is very good for stitch or pains in the sides coming of wind, if the place be fomented warm with the decoction in wine and the herb also, after boiling, be laid warm thereto.’~

*You can well see why this herb is essential to your health.  So grow sage in your garden and live forever.

6 responses to “Herbal Lore~Sage

  1. I love that picture of the cottage. I always wanted to live in an English cottage with hollyhocks and roses, sage, of course, and lilacs with you to tend my garden for me. O.K.?


  2. love the picture!

    ps I love your blog. I am trying to write a science fiction novel on a planet with a profusion of narcotic plants (and so drug use, and gang warfare is a part of the story). so trying to learn all I can about plants. I have learned a lot about the old English names and uses (witchcraft) of plants from long ago. Perhaps I should write a guest post or two here, if you wouldn’t mind!


  3. Very interesting post. I am definitely saving it as reference material.

    Whenever I see, hear or read about sage I always think of the unrelated plants that get their name from the scent.

    Sagebrush: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagebrush

    I now live in Virginia Beach, but grew up in an arid part of the Columbia Basin in Washington where it grew rampant in unused land. I once dug up a plant and used it decoratively in my house. The wood from the plant lasted for years. Now that there is irrigated farming in the area there isn’t as much left as when I was growing up. It was a symbol of the Old West to me.



  4. Thanks Ray. Sage is a favorite herb of mine. Yes, I’m sure losing native sagebrush is sad. I’ve never actually handled any, that I remember.


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