GREEN CULINARY SAGE (Salvia officinalis) is a ancient and classic culinary herb for flavoring meat, cheese and bean dishes. Also good for laying on the grill and flavoring meat with its smoke. Its fragrant and attractive grey-green woody/shrubby growth provides camouflage for welcome garden visitors such as the preying mantis shown, and produces beautiful mauve flowers that attract bees. (Sage honey is one of my favorites!) Also used to prepare healing teas and in the fragrance industry. Perennial in zones 5-10. 50 seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: The name "Salvia" comes from the Latin "salvere," meaning "to heal." The Romans considered sage to be sacred and even had special harvesting ceremonies. All sages have traditionally been considered antispasmodic, antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant, nervine and tonic. Used as a folk remedy against colds, diarrhea, enteritis, venereal disease, excessive perspiration, snake bites, sore throats, toothaches and cancer. Recent clinical studies have shown it is useful lowering blood sugar in diabetics. Strongly flavored, so if brewing as a tea, try combining with dried fruits such as apple, or fragrant raspberry leaves. Combined with rosemary, and boiled to make a "tea", it can be used to restore gray hair to its natural color. Let the combo cool and steep in your refrigerator. After shampooing, use a cotton ball to apply to gray (or rinse if you are gray all over) and let dry. Use weekly. Restoration will take several weeks but it beats chemical hair colors, which can affect your health.
GROWING TIPS: Start indoors 6-12 weeks before last frost date, hardening off before transplanting. Once established keep pinched back (which you will do naturally as you use it for teas, dishes and potpourris) to keep it from becoming leggy.
SEED SAVING TIPS: In its second and subsequent years, it will flower and then produce little bell-shaped seed pods. It requires daily observation to catch the seeds when the pods turn brown and the seeds inside are black. You will lose some to the ground and some to the birds. A great task for children who are more patient and have the little fingers needed to pluck the ripe pods without destroying the plant. Store the harvested pods in a paper bag until drying is completed, then separate seeds from pod by merely shaking the bag.