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Saved by Sage

Portrait of Sage ~ Photo by Karen Diggs

In these turbulent times of environmental and financial calamities, it  can be hard to maintain a sense of optimism and balance. We can all use a dose (or two) of healing wisdom. But from where and how, you ask? Don’t fret. Here’s Sage to the rescue! Salvia officinalis, also known as the Common or Garden sage has amazing qualities that heal on many levels. Its Latin name of “salvia” means “to heal”, and it is known widely  as the herb of wisdom.

Here are some amazing facts about the sage (salvia officinalis) from around the world:

  • The Greeks and Romans used this herb as a meat preservative due to it’s powerful antioxidant properties.  They also believed that it can enhance memory, calm chest ailments, and was prescribed for snake bites, and intestinal worms.
  • The French so loved sage, that they called it toute bonne,  meaning “all’s well”, and used it for fevers and nerve related illnesses.
  • The German abbess & herbalist, Hildegard of Bingen used sage for headaches, digestive issues, respiratory ailments, and even tuberculosis.
  • The Chinese were introduced to sage by Dutch traders in the 16th century,and so prized it’s curative properties that they traded 3 pounds of their precious tea for 1 pound of sage.
  • The Indian Ayurvedic healers  used sage to treat depression, gonorrhea, vaginitis, and eye disorders.

Now that you know  the incredible qualities of Sage, it’s time to add some  into your life. It is my pleasure to share with you 3 simple ways :

1) Sweet Potato with Brown Sage Butter & Cinnamon

Sweet Potato with Brown Sage Butter & Cinnamon, topped with coarse sea salt

1 small sweet potato
6 – 8 fresh sage leaves
2 – 3 Tbsp. butter (unsalted and organic is best)
Sea salt, coarse (my favorite is Celtic Sea Salt)
Ground cinnamon

Cook the sweet potato by boiling it in water (with skin) for about 15 minutes.  The cooking time will vary depending of the size and quality of your sweet potato; so test for done-ness by using a paring knife.

Allow to cool by plunging the cooked sweet potato in cold water; then peel and cut into 1/4″ slices.  Arrange in an attractive manner on a plate.

Sprinkle ground cinnamon onto the slices.

Sage leaves swimming in butter

Heat the butter in a pan until the butter begins to bubble gently.  Reduce heat and toss in the sage leaves.  Allow leaves to enjoy swimming in the hot butter until they start to curl slightly on the edges and you can smell the fragrance of the sage tickling your nose (about 40 – 50 seconds).  Remove from heat. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt onto the cinnamon scented sweet potato slices.  Spoon the brown butter and sage leaves over and serve immediately.

The sweetness is perfectly balanced by the cinnamon and made intriguing delicious by the richness and heady aroma of the sage butter. My taste buds cried with delight.  Ah, saved by Sage!

2) Sage, Lemon and Garlic Pesto (for poultry or meat)

Baked Chicken Leg with Sage Pesto

8 – 10 sage leaves
Grated peel from one lemon
3 – 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp. course sea salt
3 Tbsp.  extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in a medium mortar and use the pestle to grind into a pesto like consistency. (This recipes makes about 1/4 cup; enough for 3 – 4 chicken legs.)

While grinding, sing “toute bonne, toute bonne, toute bonne“.

This pesto is great with chicken or with meat. I like to put this pesto under the skin of whole chicken legs and bake.

And lastly, a soothing tea to help with digestion and stress.

3) Sage Tea

Soothing Sage Tea

6 – 8 fresh sage leaves
or 2 – 3 tsp. dried sage leaves
8 oz. filtered water
Honey, to taste (optional)
Place sage in a tea pot, cover with boiling water and allow to steep for 8 – 10 minutes.  Imbibe with a sigh and relax, and know that all’s well!


Download a copy of these recipes for your personal file.

Hope that you’ll try at least one of these recipes!
for love of food & friends,

The Healing Herbs
by Michael Castleman (book)

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