Since it is Thanksgiving here in Canada it seems appropriate to give a nod to a most misunderstood herb, Sage. Salvia Officinalis or Sage was once thought to be a cure all. It is still used for a large number of medical issues.
The Greeks and Romans used sage to preserve their meat and to enhance their memories. In history it was used for epilepsy, worms and also as bandages. Arab healers believed that sage could provide immortality.
In modern times Sage has other more mundane uses than providing immortality. It is used to calm hot flushes in menopause and reduce the production of breast milk. It is an excellent remedy for throat problems and vertigo as well as being antiseptic and antibiotic.
According to Georgetown University Medical Center some of it’s modern uses are antibacterial and anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-spasmodic. It should be avoided during pregnancy however since it does stimulate the uterine muscles.
Studies have shown that sage does reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and has benefit as an anti-oxidant. It has even been shown in studies to have a beneficial effect on Alzheimers.
One of the common uses for sage is as a tea. It can be steeped in hot water and used as a gargle for sore throat or sipped as a remedy for coughs. A nice side effect of taking sage tea is the fact that it is excellent for the mouth. It has great effect on gingivitis, canker sores and bad breath and also aids in digestion.
My love of Sage came from a trip to Ireland in 2007. Sage is a common seasoning in Ireland and England as well as in Mediterranean countries. Garden sage has a delicate citrus tone that makes it a delicious addition to stews and seafood dishes.
In honor of Thanksgiving here is my stuffing recipe
1 large loaf white bread torn into small pieces
1 medium onion minced in food processor
1 medium to large potato peeled and boiled
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp sage
1 Tbsp Summer Savory
Cool potato while tearing bread. Mix all ingredients together in bowl and squeeze together until a large ball is formed. Wrap in waxed paper or saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. Place stuffing in the body cavity and neck cavity of your turkey. Bake several hours (time depends on the size of the turkey) remove from bird and keep warm in covered casserole reheating in oven if needed.
Enjoy a safe happy and sagelicious Thanksgiving.
Castleman Michael, The Healing Herbs, Rodale Press Pennsylvania