The beautiful grey-green foliage of sage is looking stunning in the garden at the moment. This herb is not one of the first herbs that I am drawn to when it comes to cooking, but it really is very tasty and very nutritious. It has been used for centuries, being used medicinally by the ancient Egyptians as well as the Greeks. It was prized by the Chinese, used as a tea to calm the stomach and nervous system. Sage tea is known as “the thinker’s tea” and has been found to help with memory and cognition.
Looking at this herb’s medicinal properties, the antiseptic properties of sage, make it great as a gargle for sore throats, mouth ulcers or infected gums. It is also anti-spasmodic, helping to relax smooth muscle, making it great used in a steam inhalation for asthma attacks. It has other great benefits for the respiratory system, helping to remove mucous congestion in the airways and to prevent secondary bacterial infection.
It is also a great herb for the reproductive system, helping with both dysmenorrhoea and also helping to decrease menopausal symptoms, especially night sweats and hot flushes. The ancient Egyptians used the herb as a fertility herb, and maybe they weren’t far off.
If we look at sage in the kitchen, there are some classic pairings, such as with eggs in an omelette. Sage butter is often used on pasta such as gnocchi or ravioli, and sage, apple and pork are known to work well together too. We may not even know that one of the flavours which we love in a good stuffing is that of sage. This herb is a real asset in the kitchen, with it having antibacterial properties too (probably one of the reasons that it was used in stuffing in days gone by). It also helps us to break down fats, stimulating bile flow and soothing the digestive tract.