Sage, this aromatic plant with a fresh, bitter and slightly spicy taste, has been used for centuries in Italian cuisine, but was borrowed in time by chefs worldwide.
Sage is a real treasure for followers of the herbal healing medicine. It has historical origins as a medicinal herb successfully used in treating many health problems.
Native to Mediterranean areas, sage gets its name from the Latin “salvare” which means healing, saving.
A very old book shows that the healing properties of this plant are due to Virgin Mary, who was running away with Baby Jesus in her arms being pursued by the soldiers of King Herod. When Mary asked the flowers of the field to hide them, the first plant who rushed to help was sage, which sheltered her amongst the wealth of its leaves and they escaped. Then Our Lady said: “From now on, you will be the people ‘s favorite flower. I’ll give you the power to heal all diseases and to save others from death as you did for me”. Since then sage blooms every year for rescuing and helping people, being protected by the hands of The Holy Mother.
Sage was used as a remedy for infertility In ancient Egypt. Later, the Celts believed that it can make the man who eat it wiser. Other cultures considered that this fragile plant known by the name of sage can even stop the signs of aging.
Mediterranean people enjoyed her graces threefold: spice, remedy and medicine. They used sage for cooking and their doctors and healers were creating remedies with it.
Its most powerful effect was to awaken love: it contains estrogen, the hormones of love and desire.
This is understandable, if we think that it is part of Aphrodite’s old family of herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano (marjoram and oregano), mint, basil, melissa (lemon balm) or lavender. The truth is that, by raising love, it also raises joy and passion. All those bring happiness and heal.
The second virtue of sage is that it makes the barren womb fruitful.
And the third great virtue is the capability to strengthen the body, spirit and mind.
It never missed from Charlemagne’s lunches and gardens (it appears among the top mandatory herbs on the list he sent to the administrators of its fields, Capitulare de Villis head. LXX).
The monk healers from Middle Ages said that sage makes not only the spirit smart, but also the mind and it brings calm and light. That it makes people forget about headaches, anxiety and fear. That it brings the voice back to the one who lost it and that it purifies and heals the mouth, with all of its problems and infections and also the suffering throat. That it gives womanhood to women and manhood to men.
Their descendants prescribed sage as a good remedy for panic or anxiety, memory loss and mind alienation.
There are many sage varieties and some of them are used in the kitchen while the others serve ornamental purposes.
Common sage – best for kitchen use
Berggarten – its leaves are extra large and it fits in any garden
Variegated Berggarten – it has a peppery aroma and it is used in European cuisines
Pineapple Sage – its sweet flavor makes it suitable for infusions and potpourri
Golden Pineapple Sage – it is a great addition for the garden, with its golden leaves and red flowers
Golden Sage – it’s a decorative plant, with golden and light green leaves
Tricolor Sage – also a decorative plant, its leaves are colored in purple, white and green
Purple Sage – it is good for using in the kitchen, just as the common sage.
Today, sage is recommended for cramps, gas or bloating. The oils contained have antibacterial properties, so it can help fight infections. Sage leaves are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The infusion is effective in treating throat pain.
According to chefs sage is a herb that can be successfully used in flavoring any dish cooked with red meat (beef, pork, venison), white meat (chicken) or fish because it complements the flavor of these meats.
In Italian cuisine, famous for using sage, Saltimboca alla Romana is the best known dish with this aromatic plant (prosciutto crudo and veal, fried and seasoned with sage and wine of Sicily).
Sage is a spice used in many Italian pasta sauces, especially when fried in butter. This aromatic herb sauce perfectly complements other spices, but highlights the great taste of quality pasta.
If you plan to prepare steak with baked potato or, simply, to prepare a side dish with such vegetables, throw a few sage leaves in the pan. It is perfect in combination with rosemary. Many gastronomy specialists claim that rosemary and sage are very similar in flavor and should be used together in cooking.
Sage greatly complement and enhance the aroma of cooked or fresh vegetables. If you want to remove your salad from the crowd and make it original and delicious, throw a few fresh sage leaves and you will get a spectacular taste.
Start using sage and you will understand the old Roman saying: “One cannot die if he has sage in his garden”.