Sage: Broadleaf (Salvia officinalis)
Broadleaf sage (Salvia officinalis), also called culinary sage, produces aromatic foliage suitable for kitchen use. The attractive. broad, gray-green leaves remain lush throughout summer, and the plant forms attractive blue or lavender flowers in early summer. Sage grows reliably as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 to 8, but it can be enjoyed as an annual in other climates. The bushy plant complements both herb gardens and ornamental beds while providing a summer-long harvest of leaves.
Harvesting & Storage
Culinary & Medicinal
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Native Range: Mediterranean and northern Africa
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Perennial/Annual
Hardiness: Half Hardy. Sage is a hardy plant and can take cold temperatures but does not do very well in extremely cold climates.
Crops: Spring Transplant, Spring
Growing Season: Long
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot. Sage originated in the Mediterranean and prefers mild winters and warm summers. It must have well drained soil in order to do well.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 55°F - 90°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 45°F. Don't plant outdoors in Spring until danger of frost has passed and soil is at least 45˚F.
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: Yes
Light: Full Sun. Min. 6 hours daily (Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot). This Mediterranean herb loves full sun, though in very hot climates it will also grow in partial shade.
Water: Dry to medium. Sage is a very drought tolerant plant and is probably more often harmed by too much water, rather than too little. In very dry areas it will be more productive if watered occasionally.
Feeder: Light. Sage will grow in any well-drained soil, it doesn't need to be very fertile.
Suitability: Drought tolerant, Tolerates light frost, High heat
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. Sage is an excellent candidate for container growing. Choose a pot that is a minimum of 8" deep and 8" in diameter. Make sure that there is at least one drainage hole in your container. Fill with potting soil and fertilize with compost. Water thoroughly and place in a sunny location. Water again when the soil gets dry.
Attracts beneficial insects?: Yes
Sowing Depth: Just below the surface.
Produces: broad, textured, downy green leaves and spikes of purple flowers.
USDA Grow Zone: 4-9
Garden Uses: Mix with perennials in borders or rock gardens. Excellent in herb or vegetable gardens.
Soil pH: 5.6-7.8, Ideal 6.0-6.5. Sage will grow in any well-drained garden soil, but prefers a light, slightly alkaline soil. If the soil will not drain then grow it in a raised bed.
Transplant after the last spring frost in light, well drained soil and full sun or partial shade. Space the plants 12-15" apart.
Direct sowing is not recommended, since the seeds take much longer to germinate in the cooler soil of spring; this significantly delays their growth. As a companion plant, sage repels the harmful cabbage butterfly and also protects carrots from insect pests. Avoid planting sage near cucumbers. Sage also grows well indoors or as a container plant.
Sage doesn’t like very cold weather and may not survive the winter outdoors in very cold climates. In which case it could be potted up and brought inside for winter use (or kept dormant in a cool garage).
Water Needs: Low. Sage is a very drought tolerant plant and is probably more often harmed by too much water, rather than too little. In very dry areas it will be more productive if watered occasionally.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. Sage will grow in any well-drained soil, it doesn't need to be very fertile.
Watering: Water, 1 cup(s) per plant, every 2 weeks. Water when soil is dry, especially in the summertime. If gardening in containers, check the soil more regularly, at least once a week.
Pruning: every 4 weeks. Remove the flower stalks as they appear (unless you want seed or enjoy the blooms) as this diverts energy from vegetative growth. If a plant start to get woody after 2 or 3 years, cut it back hard, to encourage tender new growth. If a plant gets very woody dig it up, divide it, and replant the most vigorous parts (or just take cuttings from it).
Side Dressing: Compost tea, 1 cup(s) per plant, 1 time. If you need a lot of Sage you could give your plants a cup of fertilizer occasionally to encourage greater leaf production. Generally you don't need that much though.
Storage Req: Drying
Storage Temp: 55-70°F
Storage Length: 1-180 days
Seed Viability in Years: 3-5 years
Rich, bold distinct flavor, great for savory dishes.
Sage is at its best before the plant flowers. It is best used fresh, but is also good dried.
Sage is a very versatile herb and can be used in a variety of recipes including, stuffings, sauces, meat and fish dishes, fried in pasta, an accent for sweet desserts.
Leaves and flowers: raw or cooked. A very common herb, the strongly aromatic leaves are used as a flavoring in cooked foods. They are an aid to digestion and so are often used with heavy, oily foods. They impart a sausage-like flavor to savory dishes. The young leaves and flowers can be eaten raw, boiled, pickled or used in sandwiches. The flowers can also be sprinkled on salads to add color and fragrance. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is said to improve the digestion. An essential oil obtained from the plant is used commercially to flavor ice cream, sweets, baked goods etc.
Sage repels cabbage moths and black flea beetles. Allowing sage to flower will also attract many beneficial insects and the flowers are pretty. There are some very striking varieties of sage with variegated foliage that can be used for their ornamental as well as practical qualities.
Do not plant near cucumbers, onions or rue.
The Health Benefits of Sage
Inflammation Issues: Chewing on sage leaves is not always the most pleasant remedy, as the flavor can be quite intense, but this may be the most effective way to get the organic compounds acting in your system the fastest. Creating a tincture or steeping leaves can also due the trick, but if you suffer from inflammatory issues, particularly in the respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts, you can eliminate that inflammation with this sage brew. The anti-inflammatory qualities of sage extend to health issues such as arthritis and gout, as well as general inflammation of the cardiovascular system, which can result in heart disease and increased blood pressure. The flavonoids and phenolic compounds found in sage are responsible for these beneficial effects.
Antioxidant Impact: Chronic conditions and degenerative diseases can be some of the most debilitating and dangerous health concerns that you face in your life. Many of these health issues are caused by free radicals, the dangerous by products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells, causing apoptosis or mutation. Antioxidant compounds found in sage, such as rosmarinic acid, luteolin, and apigenin, can all work to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from creating oxidative stress in the heart, organ systems, skin, joints, muscles, and even the brain.
Cognitive Disorders: As mentioned above, sage does have the ability to stimulate brain function to improve memory and concentration; however, it also works to eliminate cognitive disorders that may arise, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Although research into these applications is still in the relatively early stages, it is exciting to see real strides being taken with herbal alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment. The neural pathways stimulated by the extracts and essential oils of sage can keep the mind fresh and youthful well into your older ages.
Immune System Strength: There are some antimicrobial properties that have been identified in sage, and while sage is usually consumed in relatively small quantities, you can create a topical application of sage (salve or tincture) and use it to prevent bacterial and viral infections that attack the body through the skin. We often think of illness entering through our nose or mouth, but the skin can also be compromised and be used as a gateway for foreign agents. A topical cream or antibacterial routine that includes sage could be an extra line of defense against that sort of illness vector.
Bone Strength: One of the most overlooked benefits of sage is actually its superior level of vitamin K, an essential vitamin for the body that isn’t found in many common foods. Vitamin K is a crucial element in developing bone density and ensuring the integrity of our bones as we age. If you suffer from early signs of osteoporosis or have lived a rather nutrient-poor, sedentary lifestyle, your bone health is likely low. Adding sage leaves to your diet can increase your vitamin K levels significantly, as a single service has 27% of your daily recommended intake.
Skin Conditions: A topical salve can be created using sage leaves or a tincture of the plant that has been shown to be effective against certain skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. These unsightly blemishes can be quickly soothed and their appearance can be reduced gradually if you regularly apply sage extracts and salves to the inflamed or affected area.
Diabetes Management: There may be some debate about the efficacy of sage on certain health conditions explained above, but when it comes to diabetes, there is widespread agreement. Sage contains certain extracts and chemicals that mimic the drugs typically prescribed for managing diabetes. Sage appears to regulate and inhibit the release of stored glucose in the liver, preventing major fluctuations of blood sugar, which can help to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes, or at least manage the condition if it has already manifested.
Digestion: The rosmarinic acid found in sage acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in many parts of the body, even in the stomach, where it prevents gastric spasms and can significantly lower the occurrence of diarrhea and gastritis for patients suffering from the uncomfortable and embarrassing conditions. Adding sage to your meals can get your entire digestive process back on track and reduce inflammation throughout the gut.
A Final Word of Warning: Although there is not a measurable amount of oxalates or purines, nor is sage considered a typically allergenic herb, it is still in the mint family, so those who suffer from allergic reactions to members of that broad plant family should still consult a doctor before adding sage to your dietary or supplementation regimen.
The Health Benefits of Sage Essential Oil
Sage, or Salvia Officinalis, as it is known in botanical nomenclature system, is a well known and frequently heard name in the world of cosmetics, particularly in the field of skin care. Innumerable beauty treatment products claim that they contain the oil of sage, which is actually sage essential oil.
This essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of sage leaves and is constituted mainly of Aesculetinen, Alpha Humulene, Alpha Thujene, Alpha Thujone, Alpha Terpineol, Alpha Terpenines, Alpha Pinene, Alpha Maaliene, Aromadendrene, Beta Pinene, Beta Copaene, Beta Thujone, Borneol, Camphor, Cineole, Caryophyllene Oxide, Camphene, Delta Cadinenes, Linalool, Limonene, Myrcene, Ocimenes, Octenol, Paracymene, Para Cymenol, Salviol, Terpinenol, Thujanol and Terpinolene.
This oil has a number of non-cosmetic medicinal uses which are listed below.
Antifungal: The presence of camphor and camphene in this essential oil gives it an antifungal property. This oil is capable of inhibiting fungal infections both internally and externally, and gives relief from fungal infections like dysentery, skin diseases, Athlete’s Foot, or dermatitis. This property is one of the causes behind its use in skin care products.
Antimicrobial: The components in sage essential oil which give protection against fungal infections also provide protection against microbial infections too. Therefore, you can protect small wounds or cuts from developing irritating or potentially dangerous infections.
Antibacterial: This oil is equally useful at countering bacterial infections, since it kills bacteria and inhibits their growth in the body. This property can also be used to heal ailments like bacterial infections in the ears, nose, throat, eyes, genitals, urethra, colon, intestines as well as on the skin and in wounds.
Antioxidant: This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this essential oil and the reason behind its extensive use in anti-aging and skin treatment products. Antioxidants, as the name suggests, act against the oxidants or free radicals in the body, which are the main causes behind aging. These antioxidants slow down aging and prevent symptoms of aging like wrinkles, sagging skin and muscles, reduction in vision and hearing capabilities, malfunctioning of the brain, memory loss, degeneration of tissues, macular degeneration and nervous disorders.
Antiseptic: Since it has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties, it serves as an antiseptic for wounds, surgical incisions, post natal injuries, ulcers, and sores.
Anti-inflammatory: It reduces inflammations on the skin, inflammations due to fever, and the entry of poisonous material in the blood stream. It also reduces the effects of excessive intoxicants and narcotics, ingestion of excessive salty or spicy food, influence of very hot winds etc. It helps cure inflammations in stomach, intestines and excretory tracts too.
Antispasmodic: This property of sage essential oil is useful in treating all problems that arise from spasms, including pain in the stomach, chest and intestines, as well as coughs, convulsions, and cramps.
Cholagogue & Choleretic: Both of these properties mean the same thing, which is a substance having that promotes the discharge of bile. This helps in digestion, soothing the stomach and improving the functionality of the whole digestive system against inflammations caused by excessive acids. It also neutralizes acids in the stomach and the blood stream, thereby providing relief from acidity and acidosis, which in turn protects us from peptic ulcers due to acidity, as well as from boils, eruptions and skin diseases that occur when acid levels rise in the blood.
Cicatrisant: This is yet another property which has made a strong place in the world of cosmetics as a key ingredient of anti-mark and anti-spot cream. This property helps eliminate scars, fat cracks, post-natal abdominal crack marks and after-spots left by boils, pox, and sores. This also helps in quick healing of wounds and incisions.
Depurative: Sage essential oil speeds up the removal of toxins from the blood through excretion or through sweating and thus purifies the blood, acting as a depurative.
Digestive: It acts as a digestive medicine in case of indigestion by facilitating the decomposition of food by promoting secretion of bile and gastric juices and by inhibiting microbial growth in the digestive system, which interferes with the digestive process.
Disinfectant: The antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of essential oil of sage make it an effective disinfectant, as it gives sound protection from both internal and external infections.
Emenagogue: This essential oil regularizes menstrual cycles and helps to relieve obstructed menses. This oil activates certain hormones, such as estrogen, which helps bring about clear menstruation and gives relief from problems like headaches, nausea, weakness, fatigue, depression, mood swings and other associated symptoms of periods.
Expectorant: It can give you relief from coughs, colds, and infections in your chest and respiratory tracts. It also provides relief from congestion that results from the common cold.
Febrifuge: Sage essential oil reduces fevers by fighting infections and reducing inflammation from fevers.
Laxative: It facilitates excretion and eliminates constipation by promoting the discharge of certain fluids, as well as stimulating the intestines.
Stimulant: If all the properties of this Essential Oil are to be described with a single term, then ‘Stimulant’ would be the appropriate one. Most of the properties it displays are different expressions of this property. It stimulates the brain, nervous system, liver, spleen, circulatory and excretory systems, thereby activating and optimizing them.
Other Benefits: Sage essential oil helps to manage dermatitis, herpes, psoriasis, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis, accumulation of phlegm, cerebral palsy, depression, sciatica and lumbago as well as inducing mental stability, alertness.
A Few Words of Caution: Being a nervous stimulant, those with epilepsy, hysteria, or a history of either, should avoid using it. Furthermore, since it contains camphor and camphene, which are toxic in nature, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Blending: Essential Oil of Sage blends well with the essential oils of Clary Sage, Geranium, Ginger, Lavender, Orange, Vetiver, Neroli, Rosemary and Tea Tree.
Broccoli: Green Sprouting Calabrese (Organic) (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Broccoli: Purple Sprouting (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Broccoli: Waltham 29 (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage: Late Flat Dutch (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage: Red Acre (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage is considered one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, since historians trace it back to 4,000 BC in China. The Romans also cultivated it and praised it for its healing qualities; philosophers Pythagoras and Cato both made the lowly cabbage the subject of a book. Jacques Cartier brought the first cabbage to America in 1536. Cabbages were quite popular in colonial America, being pickled and preserved in every possible way to provide food for the winter.