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Salve, Sage Advice on Sage

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In the history of Herbal Medicine, perhaps no herb has been more widely praised than sage.  Nearly every herbalist is familiar with the old saying, attributed to the ancient Greeks, “Why should a man die while sage grows in his garden?”  Sage has a vast history of use as a medicine, in religious ceremonies and folklore.  I would go so far as to say that the Sage and Wormwood families were the primary herbs of early western herbalism.  It is no coincidence that the name of of the herb, Sage, is the same term used for wisdom and visionaries.  The estimated 500 members of the Sage family (Salvia) are used by humans wherever they grow, which is nearly world-wide.  Salvia derives front he Latin word, “salve” which means to heal, but is also used as a greeting and a toast - “be well” or “to your health.”  Sage may be the signature medicinal herb historically.

The first writings on the medicinal use of sage are likely lost to time.  We find it recommended in some of the earliest herbal documents that have survived - surely, its properties were known for, at least, centuries prior.  The Ebers Papyrus, which dates to approximately 1550 BC, recommends Sage and describes its use in ancient Egypt, showing that he astringent and antiseptic properties of Sage were already well known.   The Divine Husbandman's Classic of Shen Nung, which has origins sometime around 2,800 BC describes the use of Sage in ancient Chinese medicine - to invigorate the blood and for eye issues.

For the purposes of this article, it would be best to focus on one type of Sage, Salvia officinalis.  This is the garden sage that is most used culinarily.  It is also the classic Sage to which most ancient writers refer when they state merely, Sage.

Dioscorides referred to Sage as “Helelisphacum”:

Helelisphacum is a much-branched somewhat long shrub, with four-square and somewhat white stalks. The leaves are similar to malicottoon, yet longer, sharper and thicker, hidden by filaments — whitish, especially odiferous and poisonous-smelling — like on outworn garments. The seed is on top of the stalks like wild horminum]. It grows in rough places. A decoction of the leaves and branches (taken as a drink) is able to induce movement of the urine and the menstrual flow, is an abortifacient, and helps the strikes of the pastinaca marina. It dyes the hair black, is a wound herb and a blood-stauncher, and cleanses wild ulcers. A decoction of the leaves and branches (with wine) applied with hot cloths soothes itchiness around the genitals. Elelisphacon dissolves chilliness and coughs and is good used with rosaceum and wax ointment for all bad ulcers. Taken as a drink with white wine it cures a painful spleen and dysentery. Similarly, given to drink it cures bloodspitters, and is available for all cleansing for a woman, but the most wicked women (making a pessary of it) apply it and use it as an abortifacient. It is also called elaphoboscon, sphagnon, ciosmin, phagnon, or becion; the Egyptians call it apusi, the Romans, cosalon, and others, salvia.

Helelisphacum wine is made the same way. Put eight ounces of the herb into nine gallons of must in a ceramic jar. It is good for disorders of the kidneys, bladder and sides, as well as for bloodspitters, coughs, hernias, convulsions, bruises, and impeded menstrual flow.

Plinty the Elder attributes thirteen remedies to Sage:

The plant called by the Greeks “ elelisphacos,”’ or “ sphacos,” is a species of wild lentil, lighter than the cultivated one, and with a leaf, smaller, drier, and more odoriferous. There is also another kind of it, of a wilder nature, and possessed of a powerful smell, the other one being milder. It has leaves the shape of a quince, but white and smaller: they are generally boiled with the branches. This plant acts as an emmenagogue and a diuretic: and it affords a remedy for wounds indicted by the sting-ray,having the property of benumbing the part affected. It is taken in drink with wormwood for dysentery : employed with wine it accelerates the catamenia when retarded, a decoction of it having the effect of arresting them when in excess: the plant, applied by itself, staunches the blood of Avounds. It is a cure, too, for the stings of serpents, and a decoction of it in wine allays prurigo of the testes.

Our herbalists of the present day take for the “ elelisphacos” of the Greeks the “salvia”*' of the Latins, a plant similar in appearance to mint, white and aromatic. Applied externally, it expels the dead foetus, as also worms which breed in ulcers and in the ears.

The ancient Romans considered Sage to be a holy herb.  It was used in religious ceremonies and to drive away evil spirits.  In Christian Rome, the holy Roman Emperor Charlamagne ordered Sage to be grown as a medicinal herb in all gardens in his edict, The Capitulare de Villis, issued around 802 A.D.. Sage was an herb grown in the physic gardens of the Benedictines and included in the “Officina”, or apothecary, which is why the Latin name includes “officinalis”.  Abbot Walafrid Strabo wrote of Sage in his Hotulus, written around 840.  In fact, Sage was the very first herb he mentioned, showing its prominence in Monastic Medicine:


There in the very front grows sage, sweetly scented.

It deserves to grow green forever, enjoying perpetual youth;

For it is rich in virtue and good to mix in a potion,

Of proven uses for many a human ailment.

But within itself is the germ of civil war;

For unless new growth is cut away it turns

Savagely on its parent and chokes to death

The older stems in bitter jealousy.

Around 1100, Saint Hildegard von Bingen recommended sage against "noxious humors".  For excess phlegm she says it should be taken infused in wine.  She also recommends it for those who are "virgichtiget", and who have a palsy, head and stomach complaints, urinary incontinence, intestinal pains and the coughing of blood.  Virgichtiget seems to pain, stiffness, weakness, palsy or paralysis caused by anything from severe arthritis to stroke. She wrote that an ointment of rose and sage infused in melted lard is good for muscle cramps and paralysis.

Also, one who is tortured by paralysis should take equal weights of parsley and fennel, with a little less sage. He should grind these herbs together in moderate amounts in a mortar and add rose-tinged olive oil to it.  He should place it over the place where he is suffering and tie it with a cloth.

Gerard wrote of Sage int he 1500s:

Sage is manifestly hot and dry in the beginning of the third degree, or in the later end of the second; it hath adjoined no little astriction or binding.

The Virtues.

A. Agrippa and likewise Aetius have called it the Holy-Herb; because women with child if they be like to come before their time, and are troubled with abortments, do eat thereof to their great good; for it closeth the matrix, and maketh them fruitful, it retaineth the birth, and giveth it life, and if the woman about the fourth day of her going abroad after her childing, shall drink nine ounces of the juice of Sage with a little salt, and then use the company of her husband, she shall without doubt conceive and bring forth store of children, which are the blessing of God. Thus far Agrippa.

B. Sage is singular good for the head and brain; it quickeneth the senses and memory, strengtheneth the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy upon a moist cause, takes away shaking or trembling of the members; and being put up into the nostrils, it draweth thin phlegm out of the head.

C. It is likewise commended against the spitting of blood, the cough, and pains of the sides, and bitings of serpents.

D. The juice of Sage drunk with honey is good for those that spit and vomit blood, and stoppeth the flux thereof incontinently, expelleth wind, drieth the dropsy, helpeth the palsy, strengtheneth the sinews, and cleanseth the blood.

E. The leaves sodden in water, with Woodbine leaves, Plantain, Rosemary, honey, alum, and some white wine, make an excellent water to wash the secret parts of man or woman, and for cankers or other soreness in the mouth, especially if you boil in the same a fair bright shining sea-coal, which maketh it of greater efficacy.

F. No man needs to doubt of the wholesomeness of Sage Ale, being brewed as it should be, with Sage, Scabious, Betony, Spikenard, Squinancy, and Fennel seeds.

G. The leaves of red Sage put into a wooden dish, wherein is put very quick coals, with some ashes in the bottom of the dish to keep the same from burning, and a little vinegar sprinkled upon the leaves lying upon the coals, and so wrapped in a linen cloath, and holden very hot unto the side of those that are troubled with a grievous stitch, taketh away the pain presently: The same helpeth greatly the extremity of the pleurisy.

You may notice that Gerard listed as one virtue of sage that it was good to help prevent miscarriage.  Whereas, Dioscorides said that it could cause abortion.  In modern use, it is generally recommended that Sage not be used internally at all during pregnancy.  Its effects can be unpredictable and individualist.

In the 1600s, Culpepper wrote of Sage… apparently on behalf of Jupiter (that was a bit of his puckish humor):

Government and virtues. Jupiter claims this, and bids me tell you, it is good for the liver, and to breed blood. A decoction of the leaves and branches of Sage made and drank, saith Dioscorides, provokes urine, brings down women's courses, helps to expel the dead child, and causes the hair to become black. It stays the bleeding of wounds, and cleanses foul ulcers. Three spoonfuls of the juice of Sage taken fasting, with a little honey, doth presently stay the spitting or casting of blood of them that are in a consumption. These pills are much commended: Take of spikenard, ginger, of each two drams; of the seed of Sage toasted at the fire, eight drams; of long pepper, twelve drams; all these being brought into powder, put thereto so much juice of Sage as may make them into a mass of pills, taking a dram of them every morning fasting, and so likewise at night, drinking a little pure water after them. Matthiolus saith, it is very profitable for all manner of pains in the head coming of cold and rheumatic humours: as also for all pains of the joints, whether inwardly or outwardly, and therefore helps the falling-sickness, the lethargy such as are dull and heavy of spirit, the palsy; and is of much use in all defluctions of rheum from the head, and for the diseases of the chest or breast. The leaves of Sage and nettles bruised together, and laid upon the imposthume that rises behind the ears, doth assuage it much. The juice of Sage taken in warm water, helps a hoarseness and a cough. The leaves sodden in wine, and laid upon the place affected with the palsy, helps much, if the decoction be drank. Also Sage taken with wormwood is good for the bloody-flux. Pliny saith, it procures women's courses, and stays them coming down too fast; helps the stinging and biting of serpents, and kills the worms that breed in the ear, and in sores. Sage is of excellent use to help the memory, warming and quickening the senses; and the conserve made of the flowers is used to the same purpose, and also for all the former recited diseases. The juice of Sage drank with vinegar, hath been of good use in time of the plague at all times. Gargles likewise are made with Sage, rosemary, honey-suckles, and plantain, boiled in wine or water, with some honey or allum put thereto, to wash sore mouths and throats, cankers, or the secret parts of man or woman, as need requires. And with other hot and comfortable herbs. Sage is boiled to bathe the body and the legs in the Summer time, especially to warm cold joints, or sinews, troubled with the palsy and cramp, and to comfort and strengthen the parts. It is much commended against the stitch, or pains in the side coming of wind, if the place be fomented warm with the decoction thereof in wine, and the herb also after boiling be laid warm thereunto.

Mrs. Grieve fills in the blanks on the British tradition, writing in 1930:

The name of the genus, Salvia, is derived from the Latin salvere, to be saved, in reference to the curative properties of the plant, which was in olden times celebrated as a medicinal herb. This name was corrupted popularly to Sauja and Sauge (the French form), in Old English, 'Sawge,' which has become our present-day name of Sage.

In the United States Pharmacopceia, the leaves are still officially prescribed, as they were formerly in the London Pharrnacopceia, but in Europe generally, Sage is now neglected by the regular medical practitioner, though is still used in domestic medicine. Among the Ancients and throughout the Middle Ages it was in high repute: Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto? ('Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?') has a corresponding English proverb:

'He that would live for aye,

Must eat Sage in May.'

The herb is sometimes spoken of as S. salvatrix ('Sage the Saviour'). 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.

In the Jura district of France, in Franche-Comte, the herb is supposed to mitigate grief, mental and bodily, and Pepys in his Diary says: 'Between Gosport and Southampton we observed a little churchyard where it was customary to sow all the graves with Sage.'

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,'

and 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.'

He shared the popular belief that it was efficacious against the bitings of serpents, and says:

'No man need to doubt of the wholesomeness of Sage Ale, being brewed as it should be with Sage, Betony, Scabious, Spikenard, Squinnette (Squinancywort) and Fennell Seed.'

Many kinds of Sage have been used as substitutes for tea, the Chinese having been said to prefer Sage Tea to their own native product, at one time bartering for it with the Dutch and giving thrice the quantity of their choicest tea in exchange. It is recorded that George Whitfield, when at Oxford in 1733, lived wholesomely, if sparingly, on a diet of Sage Tea, sugar and coarse bread. Balsamic Sage, S. grandiflora, a broad-leaved Sage with many-flowered whorls of blossoms, used to be preferred to all others for making tea. An infusion of Speedwell (Veronica officinalis), Sage and Wood Betony is said to make an excellent beverage for breakfast, as a substitute for tea, Speedwell having somewhat the flavour of Chinese green tea. In Holland the leaves of S. glutinosa, the yellow-flowered Hardy Sage, both flowers and foliage of which exhale a pleasant odour, are used to give flavour to country wines, and a good wine is made by boiling with sugar, the leaves and flowers of another Sage, S. sclarea, the Garden Clary. The latter is known in France as 'Toute bonne' - for its medicinal virtues.

It was formerly thought that Sage used in the making of Cheese improved its flavour, and Gay refers to this in a poem:

'Marbled with Sage, the hardening cheese she pressed.'

Italian peasants eat Sage as a preservative of health, and many other country people eat the leaves with bread and butter, than which, it has been said, there is no better and more wholesome way of taking it.

Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, astringent, tonic and carminative. Has been used in dyspepsia, but is now mostly employed as a condiment. In the United States, where it is still an official medicine, it is in some repute, especially in the form of an infusion, the principal and most valued application of which is as a wash for the cure of affections of the mouth and as a gargle in inflamed sore throat, being excellent for relaxed throat and tonsils, and also for ulcerated throat. The gargle is useful for bleeding gums and to prevent an excessive flow of saliva.

When a more stimulating effect to the throat is desirable, the gargle may be made of equal quantities of vinegar and water, 1/2 pint of hot malt vinegar being poured on 1 OZ. of leaves, adding 1/2 pint of cold water.

The infusion when made for internal use is termed Sage Tea, and can be made simply by pouring 1 pint of boiling water on to 1 OZ. of the dried herb, the dose being from a wineglassful to half a teacupful, as often as required, but the old-fashioned way of making it is more elaborate and the result is a pleasant drink, cooling in fevers, and also a cleanser and purifier of the blood. Half an ounce of fresh Sage leaves, 1 OZ. of sugar, the juice of 1 lemon, or 1/4 OZ. of grated rind, are infused in a quart of boiling water and strained off after half an hour. (In Jamaica the negroes sweeten Sage Tea with lime-juice instead of lemon.)

Sage Tea or infusion of Sage is a valuable agent in the delirium of fevers and in the nervous excitement frequently accompanying brain and nervous diseases and has considerable reputation as a remedy, given in small and oft-repeated doses. It is highly serviceable as a stimulant tonic in debility of the stomach and nervous system and weakness of digestion generally. It was for this reason that the Chinese valued it, giving it the preference to their own tea. It is considered a useful medicine in typhoid fever and beneficial in biliousness and liver complaints, kidney troubles, haemorrhage from the lungs or stomach, for colds in the head as well as sore throat and quinsy and measles, for pains in the joints, lethargy and palsy. It will check excessive perspiration in phthisis cases, and is useful as an emmenagogue. A cup of the strong infusion will be found good to relieve nervous headache.

The infusion made strong, without the lemons and sugar, is an excellent lotion for ulcers and to heal raw abrasions of the skin. It has also been popularly used as an application to the scalp, to darken the hair.

The fresh leaves, rubbed on the teeth, will cleanse them and strengthen the gums. Sage is a common ingredient in tooth-powders.

The volatile oil is said to be a violent epileptiform convulsant, resembling the essential oils of absinthe and nutmeg. When smelt for some time it is said to cause a sort of intoxication and giddiness. It is sometimes prescribed in doses of 1 to 3 drops, and used for removing heavy collections of mucus from the respiratory organs. It is a useful ingredient in embrocations for rheumatism.

In cases where heat is required, Sage has been considered valuable when applied externally in bags, as a poultice and fomentation.

In Sussex, at one time, to munch Sage leaves on nine consecutive mornings, whilst fasting, was a country cure for ague, and the dried leaves have been smoked in pipes as a remedy for asthma.

In the region where Sage grows wild, its leaves are boiled in vinegar and used as a tonic.

Fr. Kneipp wrote of Sage in the tradition of German Folk Medicine:

Sage. (Salvia officinalis L.)

Those who have a garden near the house, will not forget when replanting it, the pretty ornamental sage plant. I have often seen the passers-by take a leaf and rub their black teeth with it. This proves that sage has a cleansing power.

Old, suppurating wounds, if washed with a decoction of sage, will quickly heal. Sage-tea will remove phlegm from the palate, throat, or stomach.

Sage boiled as tea in wine and water, purifies the liver and kidneys.

His protege, Brother Aloysius further stated:

Sage (Salvia officinalis) - Recommended for sweating at night, asthma, chronic coughs, indigestion, diarrhea, lung catarrh, heavy bleeding, as a gargle for hoarseness, as a compress for old sores and bed sores, for paralysis, epilepsy, rheumatism, dizziness, shivering and shaking in the limbs, catarrh, stroke, congestion of blood in the brain, nervous complaints, weak stomach, gas, colic, asthma, worms, indigestions, chronic coughing and gout, as a gargle for scurvy, thrush and throat complaints, and to "enlighten the brain".

Maria Treben wrote of Sage in the German Tradition:

How highly it was praised in olden times we can read in a delightful old herbal: "During the Virgin Mary's flight from Herod, all flowers in the field were asked to hide her and the Baby Jesus, but none gave her shelter except Sage. After Herod's men had gone without seeing her and the danger had passed, the Virgin Mary told the Sage: "From now to eternity, you will be the favorite flower of mankind. I give you the power to heal man of all illness and save him from death as you have done for me." Since then Sage grows to the benefit of mankind.

Sage tea, drunk frequently, strengthens the body, prevents stroke and is good for paralysis. Sage, besides Lavender, is the only plant that will help relieve night sweats; it attacks the illness which is the cause of it, and its invigorating forces take away the great weakness that is part of it. Many physicians have realized the beneficial qualities of Sage; they use it with great success for cramps, disorders of the spinal cord, glandular disorders and for trembling of the limbs. For these disorders 2 cups are sipped throughout the day. This tea is valuable in Iiver complaints, dispels flatulence and all complaints caused by an ill liver. It is blood cleansing, dispels phlegm from the respiratory organs and the stomach, increases the appetite, rectifies intestinal trouble and diarrhoea. For insect stings crushed leaves are applied.

Sage tea is used for ulcerated throat and mouth, inflammation of the tooth pulp, tonsillitis and throat disorders. Many children and grown-ups could have saved themselves a tonsillectomy had they taken Sage tea in time. When the tonsils, which are the policemen of the body for toxic substances, are missing, the toxic substances go directly to the kidneys. A decoction of Sage is a useful gargle for loose and bleeding teeth and ulcerated or receding gums. A small piece of cotton saturated with Sage tea can be applied.

A sitz bath taken once in a while would be of great help to women with abdominal troubles and to people with weak nerves.

Besides its medicinal properties Sage is used as a culinary herb. ln small quantities similar to Thyme and Savory it is added to pork, goose and turkey, not only for the aroma but also for breaking down the fat in the meat. A small leaf added to venison improves the taste. ln some districts “Sage biscuits” are baked. Finely shredded leaves are added to the dough. Sage added to the cheese or sauces makes them wholesome.

Maurice Messegue, our best reference for the French herbal tradition,  recommended Sage used in combination with other herbs, in hand and foot baths for a variety of conditions - for instance:

For allergies:

Foot and hand baths made from one large, crushed head of garlic, one handful of single seed hawthorn blossoms, one handful of semi-fresh greater celandine flowers and stems, one handful of couch grass roots, one handful of common broom, one handful of sage leaves and one handful of linden blossoms.

For asthma:

Foot and hand baths of one large, crushed head of garlic, one handful of corn poppy flowers, one handful of lavender flowers, one handful of ground ivy leaves, one handful of parsley leaves, one handful of sage flowers, one handful of thyme flowers.

For eczema or acne caused by liver weakness:

Foot and hand baths of one handful of artichoke leaves, one handful of great burdock leaves, one handful of greater celandine leaves, one hand full of round leaved mallow flowers and roots, one handful sage flowers, and a poultice of cabbage and onion placed over the liver.

For gout:

Foot and hand baths of one handful of great burdock stems and leaves, one dozen crushed heads of Roman chamomile, one handful of grated couch grass roots, one handful of cabbage leaves, one handful of autumn crocus, one handful of male fern roots, one handful of common broom flowers, one handful of lavender flowers and one handful of sage leaves and flowers.

For liver disease:

Foot and hand baths of one handful of milfoil flowers, one crushed head of garlic, one handful of artichoke leaves, one handful of greater celandine leaves and stems, one handful of chicory roots, one handful of couch grass roots, one handful of hedge bindweed flowers and leaves and one handful of sage leaves.  Also use poultices of cabbage and kales, coated with the above preparation over the liver.

For depression:

Foot and hand baths of one handful of single seed hawthorn blossoms, one handful of sage and one handful of sweet violet.

Plants for A Future lists its modern use:

Salvia officinalis

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Sage: Sage has a very long history of effective medicinal use and is an important domestic herbal remedy for disorders of the digestive system. Its antiseptic qualities make it an effective gargle for the mouth where it can heal sore throats, ulcers etc. The leaves applied to an aching tooth will often relieve the pain. The whole herb is antihydrotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, galactofuge, stimulant, tonic and vasodilator. Sage is also used internally in the treatment of excessive lactation, night sweats, excessive salivation (as in Parkinson's disease), profuse perspiration (as in TB), anxiety, depression, female sterility and menopausal problems. Many herbalists believe that the purple-leafed forms of this species are more potent medicinally. This remedy should not be prescribed to pregnant women or to people who have epileptic fits. The plant is toxic in excess or when taken for extended periods - though the toxic dose is very large. Externally, it is used to treat insect bites, skin, throat, mouth and gum infections and vaginal discharge. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use. The essential oil from the plant is used in small doses to remove heavy collections of mucous from the respiratory organs and mixed in embrocations for treating rheumatism. In larger doses, however, it can cause epileptic fits, giddiness etc. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is "Tonic".

As sage is also a culinary herb much associated with traditional British cooking, I thought it would be good to include a few recipes that Maude Grieve included in A Modern Herbal.  She took them from old cookbooks, and they are quite good!


Sage and Onion stuffing for ducks, geese and pork enables the stomach to digest the rich food.

From Warner's Ancient Cookery, 1791, for 'Sawgeat,' Sawge. Sawgeat

'Take Pork and seeth (boil) it wel and grinde it smale and medle (mingle) it with ayren (eggs) and ygrated (grated) brede (bread). Do thereto salt sprinkled and saffron. Take a close litull ball of it in foiles (leaves) of Sawge. Wet it with a bator (batter) of ayren, fry and serve forth.'

From The Cook's Oracle, 1821:

'Sage and Onion Sauce

'Chop very fine an ounce of onion and 1/2 OZ. of green Sage leaves, put them in a stamper with 4 spoonsful of water, simmer gently for 10 minutes, then put in a teaspoonful of pepper and salt and 1 OZ. of fine breadcrumbs. Mix well together, then pour to it 1/4 pint of Broth, Gravy or Melted Butter, stir well together and simmer a few minutes longer. This is a relishing sauce for Roast Pork, Geese or Duck, or with Green Peas on Maigre Days.'

The same book gives:

'A Relish for Roast Pork. or Goose

'2 OZ. of leaves of Green Sage, an ounce of fresh lemon peel, pared thin, same of salt, minced shallot and 1/2 drachm of Cayenne pepper, ditto of citric acid, steeped for a fortnight in a pint of claret. Shake it well every day; let it stand a day to settle and decant the clear liquid. Bottle it and cork it close. Use a tablespoonful or more in 1/4 pint of gravy or melted butter.'

Another modern Sage Sauce, excellent with Roast Pork is:

Sagina Sauce

Take 6 large Sage leaves, 2 onions, 1 teaspoonful of flour, 1 teaspoonful of vinegar, butter the size of a walnut, salt, pepper, and 1/2 pint of good, brown gravy. Scald the Sage leaves and chop them with the onions to a mincemeat. Put them in a stewpan with the butter, sprinkle in the flour, cover close and steam 10 minutes. Then add the vinegar, gravy and seasoning and simmer half an hour.

From Walsh's Manual of Domestic Economy, 1857:

'Sage Cheese

'Bruise the tops of young red Sage in a mortar with some leaves of spinach and squeeze the juice; mix it with the rennet in the milk, more or less, according to the preferred colour and taste. When the curd is come, break it gently and put it in with the skimmer till it is pressed two inches above the vat. Press it 8 or 10 hours. Salt it and turn every day.'

In my own, Appalachian herbal tradition, Sage was much used in remedies for coughs and colds.  And, my herb mentor, Rosa (Rosie) Hicks, washed her hair with it to keep her hair dark well into old age.  While I cannot verify any of the ancient claims that Sage can lengthen life or ward off evil spirits, I can attest that it is a very useful and delicious herb.  As I write this article, I am frying some made sausage made with pork, green apple, onion, salt, pepper. A dash of wine and of course, SAGE.  The smell is WONDERFUL!

Author: Judson Carroll.  Judson Carroll is an Herbalist from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His weekly articles may be read at

His weekly podcast may be heard at:

He offers free, weekly herb classes:

His New Book is Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People

You can read about and purchase Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People here:

Also available on Amazon: Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People: Carroll, Judson: 9798491252923: Books

His other works include:

Look Up: The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide:

The Herbs and Weeds of Fr. Johannes Künzle:


The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Nothing on this site has been evaluated or approved by the FDA. I am not a doctor. The US government does not recognize the practice of herbal medicine and their is no governing body regulating herbalists. Therefore, I'm just a guy who studies herbs. I am not offering any advice. I won't even claim that anything I write is accurate or true! I can tell you what herbs have "traditionally been used for." I can tell you my own experience and if I believe an herb helped me. I cannot, nor would I tell you to do the same. If you use any herb I, or anyone else, mentions you are treating yourself. You take full responsibility for your health. Humans are individuals and no two are identical. What works for me may not work for you. You may have an allergy, sensitivity or underlying condition that no one else shares and you don't even know about. Be careful with your health. By continuing to read my blog you agree to be responsible for yourself, do your own research, make your own choices and not to blame me for anything, ever.
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