Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a small, compact shrub that is native to the hills of Croatia, Dalmatia, and along the Mediterranean Coast to Spain. In the wild, it can be found growing around limestone rock formations, preferring rocky alkaline soils. This makes it great to plant in your garden as a pioneer if these conditions predominate.
Sage has been cultivated in Germany, France, England, and much of Europe for many centuries for both culinary and medicinal use. The name of the genus (Salvia) comes from the Latin word salvere, meaning to save, in reference to its curative properties, which have been held in high regard since ancient times.
In more modern times, while still used as an ingredient in many dishes, the therapeutic benefits of sage are largely overlooked. Sage is invaluable in enhancing memory and mental alertness, with its unique ability to penetrate through brain tissue and strengthen thought processes. Another relatively unknown function of sage is as a stimulator of the pituitary gland.
The recurring theme with sage is that of wisdom and, in fact, the Chinese sage, as well as the term “sagacious,” stem from the use of this herb. Indeed, the pituitary gland is recognized the world over as the traditional seat of wisdom in man.
In ancient times, the Chinese preferred sage as a daily beverage, and reportedly exchanged four times the amount of their finest China tea for it with Great Britain.
Endowed with generous amounts of silica in naturally balanced partnership with other minerals, which are necessary for strong bones, hair, teeth, skin, and the nervous system, sage is also of great benefit for those prone to the degenerative processes of arthritis.
Those seeking mental clarity, a positive outlook, and a strong body well into old age would be wise to include a cup of sage tea as a regular part of their diet. Use the dried leaf for best effect.