Healing And Decorative Power Of Sage

Sages (Salvias) are a large group of plants including annual, biennials, perennials and shrubs that are found in many gardens. Some are hardy, others that come from the tropics are greenhouse plants. The common sage, Salvia officinalis, and its varieties has been the best culinary herb for centuries and was formerly used in herbal medicine to treat many diseases.

An evergreen perennial or subshrub the leaves are often dried and stored for use and it is the main ingredient in sage and onion stuffing, a traditional accompaniment for roast poultry. It is also used to flavour fish, meat and cheese dishes.

Common Sage has always been popular as a herb which prolongs life. Sage has antiseptic, bactericidal, fungicidal and anti-inflammatory effect. It has been popular for bee pasture, and its honey is among the most appreciated types of honey in the world. Sage tea cleanses the respiratory system, uses as a mouthwash for mouth and throat infections and helps with hoarseness. It is also used for skin problems, eczema and itching. It is very effective for pain and cramps in the stomach, improves appetite and soothes the discomfort in the liver. Sage tea helps with rheumatism and protect against infectious diseases. Strengthens the hair and gives it a shine. Because of the many beneficial effects on health, Sage is a very desirable flavor in the daily diet. Because of its healing power and aromaticity, sage has become a symbol of the Mediterranean cultural tradition.



– potassium

– calcium

– essential oils (volatile oil containing thujone, cineole, borneol, and camphor; diterpene bitters; flavonoids, including salvigenin, genkwanin, and luteolin; phenolic acids, including rosmarinic and caffeic acids; oestrogenic substances; tannins).

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salvia sage culinary

How does it look like?

Sage is a branched shrub that should exist in every garden. This beautiful herb has an upright growth, with height to 30 – 40 cm. Sage leaves are silvery white, wooly and wrinkled. Flowers are purple dark blue color on long upright spikes, which appear in May and June, and even to the beginning of July. It looks beautiful in the rock gardens – the perfect color of flowers is the most striking just in the combination with a rock. All parts of the herb have a strong, aromatic fragrance that is not lost with drying.

Sage Dalmation herb sage flowers

Soil: Well drained, sandy loam.

Site: Open, sunny.

Salvia officinalis is the herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and others (Salvia glutinosa, Salvia pratensis, Salvia silvestris) are only a decoration of the garden.

bee on sage

Sage: Unique Multipurpose Herb

Over 500 different sages (salvias) grow wild around the world. Most of us are familiar with more than one of them, although we may not realize they are from the same family. There are aromatic culinary sages, colorful sages for flower beds, perennial ones and annual ones. All require sun and ordinary but well drained soil.

Culinary sage has been an herb garden staple since the 1500’s. It is the traditional seasoning used for stuffing in our holiday turkeys. Growing as a small bush, culinary sages have narrow leaves, softly gray beneath and either green, purple or variegated with yellow or white, depending on the variant. All of these make attractive container plants as well as garden plants. They are hardy to zone 5.

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Rose Queen salvia

The bushes will get leggy and lanky after four or 5 years, but can be pruned back in either fall or early spring to refresh the plant. Sage can easily be propagated by layering. Simply anchor a low branch to the ground, covered with some soil, and within a month or two roots will form. Simply clip the new plant from the original bush and plant it somewhere else.

Blue Queen sage

Clary sage is another historic garden plant. This biennial is a tall plant with broad heart shaped leaves and tall pyramidal flower spikes with parchment like bracts. It is easily grown from seed, and in the second year blooms in July. Even after the flowers fade, the pearly bracts retain an attractive appearance in the flower garden. Once used as a flavor ingredient in home made wines and beers, clary sage still is used in some German wines.

Clary sage

Other ornamental sages can be either perennial or annual. Red top or painted sage (S. viridis) is one of the most interesting annuals. It makes a striking visual statement with colorful bracts of rich red striped with green veins. The actual flowers are small and insignificant, but the pinky red, purple or violet bracts make up for them.

Painted sage

Azure sage is a lovely 4 foot perennial with aromatic grayish leaves and pure gentian-blue flowers. It is native to the Southeastern US, and should do well in a warm, sunny and protected spot in most gardens. Other hybrid ornamental sages have been developed as showy border plants. Blue Queen has rich violet blue flowers, while Rose Queen has rosy-violet spikes. Silver sage is a specimen ornamental that has intensely silver fuzzy leaves that form a low rosette, and is grown mainly for this striking foliage.

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With their long summer displays of flowers or their striking foliage, sages are becoming valued and popular additions to the ornamental perennial border.

Culinary sage


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