Monday, November 7, 2011

The Sage Tongue

Last week, Meg posted about pumpkin, and what goes better with a little orange gourd than sage?   
Sage grows in my garden, though I don't necessarily grow it, and fall finds me harvesting the plant and hanging it to dry in the back hallway.

Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) has a long history and many uses.  
Sage, in French, is recorded as meaning wise, or of profound wisdom, and Salvia is from the Latin meaning save, or health. 
Being a lover of tongues, I was pleased to read this in the 1970 edition of Helen Morgenthau Fox’s Gardening with Herbs for Flavor and Fragrance:  “Ibn Baither says the Greek name for the plant means camel’s tongue, and the oval leaves terminating in a point, with their glandular uneven surface covered with a fine network, do resemble the tongue of some animal.” 
If you wet a fresh sage leaf, and caress it across your neck, you will easily be convinced that your flesh is being licked - seriously, try it.
Sage is said to prolong life, strengthen the memory, and prosper in the garden of a domineering wife.
If you live in Omaha, are a friend of mine, and mention you have a sore throat, it is likely you’ve then received a bit of fresh sage from me with directions on how to make a medicinal tea from it.  My trusty Country Doctor’s Book of Folk Remedies & Healing Wisdom explains that sage is “. . . a strong astringent, and it also contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial aromatic oils. . . .It is a common remedy for sore throat in the professional medical herbalism of Europe and North America.  It is an approved medicine for sore throats in Germany.”
The Country Doctor recommends placing 1 tablespoon of sage leaf in a cup, filling it with boiling water, and letting it stand until reaching room temperature and then gargling with 1/4 cup dose three to four times a day. 
You can also dice up the sage leaf and steep it – covered – for at least five minutes and then drink it as a tea.  A variety of preparations for medicinal sage teas and tinctures abound, so research it for yourself, and don’t drink sage tea if pregnant.
Poetry of Sage:
Fox, in her description of sage flowers, poeticizes the sensuality of the bloom:
Two strongly marked white spots on the lower lip are surrounded by a dark lavender patch. The style is whitish; the stigma two-parted at the tip, blue-purple, and curves out from the hooded upper lip; and the four stamens are whitish with golden anthers; the four sepals are brownish, pointed, ribbed, and hairy. 

As Meg continues to create new muffin flavors, it may not be long before we have a savory pumpkin muffin with a fried sage crumble topping!
~ Trilety

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