Tag Archives: sage

June in my Garden in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia


Flower Bed along the road 8Husband Dennis was out with his camera this morning and captured some lovely shots of the flower bed along the edge of the yard that borders the road. We’ve had some sumptuously gorgeous days lately with low humidity and blue skies that reach to heaven. This time of year it’s very hard to be in when the garden beckons, and bird calls float through the open windows.

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat. ~Beverly Nichols

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. ~Walt Whitman

How can one help shivering with delight when one’s hot fingers close around the stem of a live flower, cool from the shade and stiff with newborn vigor! ~Colette

Flower bed along road 6-16-2014

Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock. ~Henry Ward Beecher, Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed. ~Walt Whitman

Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. ~Gerard de Nerval

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

larkspur and shirley poppies

A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect. ~Terri Guillemets

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair… ~Susan Polis Shutz

The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days. ~Robert Leighton

Flower bed along road 4

Image of: Roses, larkspur, Shirley poppies, calendula, asparagus, sage, lamb’s ears, lilies, hollyhocks, coral bells, California poppies, lavender, and numerous other herbs and flowers.

Sage In America and the Native American Smudging Ceremony


fuzzy sage with blue larkspur
Sage is a lovely and important medicinal herb, also a sacred one. I grow several varieties and am always adding more. My garden is never without the traditional garden sage, salvia officinalis. There are some variations of this kind, the fuzzy leafed and tricolored sage, but I still like the good old standby that came to America with the early colonists. You may not realize how many varieties of sage are native to the New World, and their many uses, medical and spiritual. Scarlet sage attracts hummingbirds and is striking in the border, but there are many beautiful varieties. (*Sage and larkspur in our garden. Image by Elise)
Sage (Salvia) Common name: Wild SageMeadow Sage (S. pratensis) Scarlet Sage or Texas Sage (Salvia coccinea)Chia Sage grows throughout southern Canada and the United States, the very important chia (S. columbriae) in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California.
Meadow Sage
From Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants by Bradford Angier:

I love this book, given to me by my dear grandmother who lived to be 99 and a half. Mr. Angier has also written other volumes.
Sage is a fuzzy perennial with soft, downy hairs. One characteristic is that, when a bunch is wadded together, it clings to itself, remaining a compact mass. The erect stems are greyish with down and have, on pubescent stalks toward their bases, up to about 18-inch-long leaves.
Several wheels of tiny blue or whitish, and sometimes reddish, flowers grow in whorls of four to eight, depending on the particular species. The plants have an easily recognized strong, unique, aromatic odor.
Chia  Sage (S. columbriae)The chia variety, a distinctive annual springing up in the Southwest at the start of the late fall rains and an Indian standby, is a rough sage with deeply incised, coarse, usually hairy, dark-green leaves that grow mostly close to the ground. Three or so whirls of small blue flowers circle, mint like, in separated densities above prickly, dark-red, leafy bracts. These mature into seed-filled pods that remain like skeletons when the rest of the plant has withered, not giving the winds enough purchase to blow them free, and leaving them for the Indians to gather.
The seeds of the Texas sage (S. coccinea) are oblong, angular, or bowed, and 2 to 3 millimeters in size. Those of the annual scarlet sage take two or three weeks to emerge.
Scarlet Sage, Salvia coccineaThe medicinal part of the plant in general is the leaves, harvested during the flowering period in June and July. In the case of the chia, the vital part is the seeds, which are gathered from the then nearly dead annual in July.
Steeped like tea and in the same proportions, sage tea was slightly tonic and quieting to a disordered stomach. It’s peculiar but pleasant odor was retained in the beverage by the warmish, somewhat bitter aroma of the extracted volatile oil. It was said to benefit a ticklish and irritated throat, to quiet and expel bothersome gas, and assist the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. Regarded in many regions as effective in treating sore throat, accompanied by fever, cankers, sore gums, mouth ulcers, and swollen tonsils, and as an effective gargle. The juice from bruised fresh leaves was credited with helping to remove warts, also pressed into service for sores, cuts, and wounds. The Indians made a salve of the crushed fresh leaves and edible lard for these purposes. Some tribes made salve from the roots of wild sage (S. lyrata).
A refreshing drink for hot weather was made by mixing chia seeds with cool water, each seed becoming separately suspended in its own white, mucilaginous cloudiness. The white, gray, and brown seeds are so nutritious that a teaspoonful was regarded as enough to sustain an Indian for a day on a forced journey.
JosephHenry Sharp-Making Sweet Grass Medicine - Blackfoot CeremonyNative American Smudging Ceremony:  The Smudging Ceremony
(The original link no longer works. I substituted a new one.)
“Our Native elders have taught us that before a person can be healed or heal another, one must be cleansed of any bad feelings, negative thoughts, bad spirits or negative energy – cleansed both physically and spiritually.,,Native people throughout the world use herbs to accomplish this. One common ceremony is to burn certain herbs, take the smoke in one’s hands and rub or brush it over the body. Today this is commonly called “smudging.” In Western North America the three plants most frequently used in smudging are sage, cedar, and sweetgrass.
Many varieties of sage have been used in smudging. The botanical name for “true” sage is Salvia (e.g. Salvia officinalisGarden Sage, or Salvia apiana, White Sage). It is interesting to note that Salvia comes from the Latin root salvare, which means “to heal.” There are also varieties of sage which are of a species separate from Salvin Artemusia. Included here are sagebrush (e.g. Artemisia californica) and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). We have seen both Salvia and Artemisia sub-species used in smudging.”
I’ve covered salvia officinalis (pictured below) in another post, but briefly: Salvia officinalis (called garden or common sage) is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. A member of the family Lamiaceae, sage is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world.
“Native Americans consider sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco as the Four Sacred Herbs. Sage is found across North America, with white sage being the most potent and gray sage found in many northern areas where the gray will not over-winter. Cedar (Eastern red cedar) (Eastern white cedar) and sweetgrass also are indigenous to this continent. Tobacco can be found in many forms; however for this ceremony Nicotiana Rustica, or a similar dried tobacco leaf, native to America is preferred.”
sage herb

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.