Salvia Officinalis

The latin name for Sage is Salvia, meaning to save or to heal.  The sage does indeed have many virtues on the medicinal level, as well as being a culinary herb.

Picture of Sage

It is part of the plant family known as Lamiaceae (originally called Labiatae) which covers mints and  lip-bloom plants, which have flowers with petals fused into an upper and a lower lip.

There are over 900 species of Salvia, some are annual, others bi-annual, long-lived or shrub plants. Ten of them are indigenous in Europe, for example Meadow Sage (Salvia Pratensis).

Salvia Officinalis
When speaking in general about sage, normally the common sage Salvia Officinalis is the species which is normally referred to, and which is discussed when referring simply to the word sage on its own on these pages.  Salvia Officinalis is a light grey-green shrub, which normally grows around 30 cm (one foot) high.  Its flowers appear in the spring or summer, and are normally a blueish-mauve but can also be white or pink.  Salvia Officinalis is known for containing useful antioxidants and its leaves, having properties of a natural antiseptic and preservative.
Cooking Uses of Sage
In cooking, sage is particularly pleasant as an aromatic herb. Its has a powerful, slightly bitter taste.  When dried the taste is at its strongest.  Sage goes well with fatty meats like duck or pork.  Sage and onion stuffing is a popular use for this herb.  For a particularly nice flavour to go with meat dishes, try adding a few sage leaves to apple sauce. Herb cheese can also be very tasty - add a sprig or two of sage to any cheese for a distinctive flavour.  You can also turn a standard plain vinegar into a special herb vinegar by adding dried sage.

Sage Tea and other uses of this herb
Growing Sage and some Interesting Varieties

Discover more about Herb Gardening and find out what Herbs are.

Home for flowers, plants and more at Piglette.