We are already used to having basil, thyme or oregano at home.
We still think of clary sage as a medicine rather than a plant that can be flavored in many different dishes.
How to start using it in the kitchen?
What problems does sage tea help us with?
And did you know that clary sage and rosemary are close relatives?
Let’s discover all the secrets of this unobtrusive plant.
What is Sage?
When we hear sage, most of us think of sage, a medicinal plant that we associate with, for example, gargles. However, it is not so simple with sage. The genus salvia (Salvia), which belongs to the family of salvia plants, includes approximately one thousand different species of herbs and shrubs.
One of the types of sage is, for example, rosemary, more precisely rosemary sage. Other herbs that we often use in cooking, such as thyme and oregano, belong to the same family as sage.
Types of sage
Among the most famous representatives of sage, let’s mention at least:
- Sage (Salvia officinalis) – a plant that has been used for its healing effects since ancient times. In addition, it is also used in cooking for its aroma.
- Rosemary sage (Salvia rosmarinus) – better known as rosemary. A shrub that is popular as a spice especially in Mediterranean cuisine due to its distinctive aroma.
- Spanish sage (Salvia hispanica) – a plant whose seeds are known as chia seeds, which are a very popular part of a healthy diet.
- Miracle sage (Salvia divinorum) – a psychoactive plant whose leaves contain substances with hallucinogenic effects
- Salvia verticillata – also known as granny’s ear. This honey-bearing plant is known in our country thanks to the movie The Girl on the Broom, in which the main character, the witch Saxana, searched for it.
- Wild sage (Salvia nemorosa) – a heat-loving plant that grows in the wild and in our territory.
What does sage contain?
Like many other herbs and spices, clary sage is very rich in various health-promoting substances. It is interesting to compare it with other herbs that we often find in our kitchen, such as rosemary, thyme or oregano. Nutritional values are given in dried form.
Nutritional values of sage
|Energy||315 calories||331 kcal||276 calories||265 calories|
|Water||7.96 g||9.31 g||7.79 g||9.93 g|
|Carbohydrates||60.7 g||64.1 g||63.9 g||68.9 g|
|Proteins||10.6 g||4.88 g||9.11 g||9 g|
|Fats||12.8 g||15.2 g||7.43 g||4.28 g|
|Fiber||40.3 g||42.6 g||37 g||42.5 g|
Vitamins and minerals
Due to the intense amount of clary sage contains various vitamins and minerals, just one teaspoon of dried sage, which corresponds to approximately 0.7 grams, covers, for example, 10% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin K or 1% of the recommended daily dose of iron and manganese.
|Beta-carotene||3480 µg||–||2260 µg||1010 µg|
|Vitamin B1||0.754 mg||0.514 mg||0.513 mg||0.177 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.336 mg||0.428 mg||0.399 mg||0.528 mg|
|Vitamin B3||5.72 mg||1 mg||4.94 mg||4.64 mg|
|Vitamin B6||2.69 mg||1.74 mg||0.55 mg||1.04 mg|
|Vitamin C||32.4 mg||61.2 mg||50 mg||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin K||1710 µg||–||1710 µg||622 µg|
|Potassium||1070 mg||955 mg||814 mg||1260 mg|
|Phosphorus||91 mg||70 mg||201 mg||148 mg|
|Magnesium||428 mg||220 mg||220 mg||270 mg|
|Manganese||3.13 mg||1.87 mg||7.87 mg||4.99 mg|
|Sodium||11 mg||50 mg||55 mg||25 mg|
|Calcium||1650 mg||1280 mg||1890 mg||1600 mg|
|Zinc||4.7 mg||3.23 mg||6.18 mg||2.69 mg|
|Iron||28.1 mg||29.2 mg||124 mg||36.8 mg|
What is sage used for?
Consuming sage has a number of positive effects on our body. In addition to the positives listed below, it is also associated with other health benefits, such as alleviating diarrhea, supporting bone health, and fighting skin aging.
- Oral cavity – clary sage has antimicrobial effects that neutralize microbes that promote the formation of dental plaque. In addition, it helps treat throat infections, tooth abscesses, canker sores and mouth ulcers. In addition to various rinses and tinctures, fresh sage leaves can also be chewed to freshen the breath.
- Blood Sugar Levels – Sage leaves are traditionally used as an anti-diabetic remedy as they help lower blood sugar levels.
- Antioxidants – help boost your body’s defenses and neutralize potentially harmful free radicals, which are linked to many health benefits, including better brain function and a lower risk of cancer. Sage contains more than 160 different polyphenols, or compounds of plant origin, which act as antioxidants in the body.
- Memory and Brain Health – Sage contains antioxidants that have been shown to dampen the brain’s defense system. Studies confirm that people taking sage extract performed better on tests that measured memory, problem solving, reasoning and other cognitive abilities. In addition, sage stops the breakdown of acetylcholine, which plays a role in memory and whose levels decrease in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cholesterol – Sage helps lower LDL cholesterol, which can build up in the arteries and potentially damage them. In one study, consuming sage tea twice a day lowered bad cholesterol and total blood cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.
- Menopause – during menopause there is a natural decrease in the hormone estrogen. This can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as hot flashes, excessive sweating, vaginal dryness and irritability. Sage is traditionally used to relieve these symptoms
How to process sage?
You can include sage in your “menu” in different ways. Sage leaves can be consumed fresh or dried. Fresh sage leaves have a strong aromatic flavor and are used in moderation in dishes. Dried sage can be in the form of whole or ground leaves. Last but not least, fresh sage can also be frozen.
How to include fresh and dried sage in your diet?
- One of the easiest ways to use fresh sage is to sprinkle on a variety of soups. Its taste goes well with recipes for onion soups , in which you can use it together with thyme.
- Not only at Easter, fresh sage makes a favorite stuffing special. Do you know how to prepare the best stuffing ? Use as many fresh herbs as possible in it, not only classic chives, nettles and parsley, but also sage, oregano or thyme.
- Sage butter is very delicious and easy to prepare. Just mix the chopped leaves with a piece of butter in a pan. Then blend the mixture and add salt and pepper. Sage butter goes well with vegetables, fish and poultry.
- Sage also finds great use in the production of homemade pâtés , whether with venison or other types of meat.
- If you like tomato, use chopped sage leaves to make a delicious tomato sauce . Its taste and aroma stand out even more.
- Last but not least, you can add fresh sage to a variety of egg omelet recipes .
- You will appreciate dried sage when preparing many meat marinades , in which you can load slices of meat before grilling.
- Another option is to sprinkle dried sage on vegetables before you put them in the oven.
- It is unusual to use dried sage in recipes for mashed potatoes or when preparing pumpkin puree, to which it gives a pleasant aroma.
In addition to adding sage to a variety of dishes, you can also regularly drink it in the form of sage tea. It can be prepared from fresh or dried leaves. In the case of dried sage, just add one teaspoon of dried leaves to 250 milliliters of boiling water and let it infuse for a few minutes. For fresh sage, use about 4-5 leaves for the same amount of water.
When to drink sage?
Sage tea is recommended for various problems in the oral cavity, such as gingivitis, dental problems, or digestive problems, such as flatulence or diarrhea. Drinking or gargling a sage decoction with tea also helps with a sore throat or cough.
Side effects of sage
One of the substances that sage contains is thujone. This substance can cause certain unwanted side effects when consuming a large amount of sage, especially in the form of sage tea, as it can have a toxic effect on our organism.
For this reason, it is recommended not to exceed the amount of 3 cups of sage tea per day. An overdose of sage can cause nausea, hot flushes, headaches, vomiting or loss of consciousness. Sage is generally not suitable for pregnant and lactating women, as well as for small children.
What is made from sage?
Due to its medicinal effects, a whole range of products are made from medicinal sage, which you can buy not only at the pharmacy. The most common include:
- Sage tea – available both in loose form and in tea bags
- Sage candies or pastilles – they help especially with sore throats
- Sage gargle – again, it is mainly used for sore throats or inflammation of the oral cavity
- Sage essential oil – has a variety of uses in aromatherapy
- Sage syrup – for colds, respiratory problems or digestive problems, you can use the effects of sage syrup, which is made either cold or warm with fresh sage leaves, water, sugar and lemons.
- Sage tincture
- Sage vinegar – made by infusing sage in wine or apple vinegar. Subsequently, it is suitable for flavoring various salads or marinades.
Medicinal sage is a perennial plant that belongs to the extensive family of sedges. It originally comes from the Mediterranean region, where it has been used for various medicinal purposes since ancient times. After all, the Latin name of sage, salvia, is derived from the Greek word salvare, which means to heal. In colder areas it grows to a height of around 30 cm, in warmer areas over half a meter.
The ovate leaves covered with fine hairs are used in cooking and medicine, they are collected in the summer months. Their coloring is most often silvery green, but there are also varieties with other colors. In addition to the leaves, you can also use the flowering stem, the flowers of the medicinal sage have a beautiful blue-violet color.
How to grow your own sage?
Sage can be relatively easily grown in gardens as an ornamental plant and in a flowerpot on the balcony. Due to its southern European origin, it prefers a place with enough light and heat. Definitely do not put it in the shade or draft. It is best suited to a permeable loamy-sandy soil.
Growing sage from seed takes time and patience. The seeds germinate very slowly, the first plants appear only after six weeks. It is therefore easier to grow from cuttings. Young plants require regular, but not too intense watering. In the winter months, reduce watering very much. If you grow sage in a pot on the balcony, in winter it is worth taking it inside, for example to the corridor.