The Strange Apothecary

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Each Thursday we take a look at the magical properties of different herbs & how we can use them to enhance our lives. Today we are going to be looking at the magical properties of Sage

Zodiac: Sagittarius

Solar system: Juniper

Element: Air

Gender: Masculine

Powers: Cleansing, Immortality, Longevity, Wisdom, Protection, Wishes.

The name Salvia derives from the Latin word Salveo, “to heal” or “to save” (more like, to salve, as in, apply a salve).

It has long been used in healing. An old proverb says “why should a man die who has sage in his garden?”. It was used in the Middle Ages to treat fevers, liver disease and epilepsy. In England, the tea is drunk as a healthful tonic. It was also believed to strengthen memory. An old English custom states that eating Sage every day in May will grant immortality. It was also said that a woman who ate sage cooked in wine would never be able to conceive and its fresh leaves were said to cure warts.

It is said that where sage grows well in the garden, the wife rules and that sage will flourish or not depending on the success of the business of the household.

During the Middle Ages, sage was used to mask the taste of rancid meat. Perhaps its antibacterial action also protected people from dying of rancid meat…

The Romans regarded sage quite highly and much sacrifice and ceremony were associated with its harvest. They believed it stimulated the brain and memory and used it to clean their teeth.

The Dutch in the 17th century traded Sage for tea with the Chinese.

Propagation of Sage

This lovely perennial enjoys the sun and well-drained soil. Keep fertilizer to a minimum. Most varieties are winter hardy. Sow seeds up to two weeks before the last danger of frost. Plants grown from cuttings do better than those grown from seed.

Russian sage ads an airy cloud of purple to the garden.

Common sage (garden sage, culinary sage) gets woody and bushy and is really neat-looking. Give it its own corner of the garden because it will take over.

White sage grows only in warm, arid regions. It requires low humidity and a great deal of sun and will not survive a winter frost so it must be grown indoors in northern regions, though it is not fond of pots. This herb has been over-collected in the wild, so if you use it and you can grow it; do.

Harvesting & Storage

Harvest sage lightly for the first year to allow the plant to get established. Then large bunches can be harvested and hung to dry. The flavour is better if you freeze sage rather than dry it, though it does retain its flavour well when dried. Store dried in a sealed glass container in a cool, dark area.

Prune garden sage after it flowers and then doesn’t harvest anymore until spring so the plant has a month or two to recover and survive the frost.

Magical uses

Sage is a popular garden herb with a sweet and savoury aroma. Sage grows well in most temperate climates. Its velvety leaves release their fragrance when rubbed.

Sage was used medicinally in Egyptian, Roman, and Greek medicine. It is now best-known as a culinary herb for the dishes of Autumn, from roast turkey to sausage stuffing to pumpkin soup. An Old World herb, Sage was brought to the Americas by colonists for use in their gardens and kitchens.

This article refers to Common Sage or Garden Sage, Salvia officinalis. It is distinct from the White Sage (Salvia apiana) commonly used for smudging. However, both plants have a solid magickal pedigree, and many of their correspondences are similar. For a detailed comparison of smudging herbs, see our article “Sage advice”.In Roman times, Sage was sacred to Jove and was gathered with great ceremony. The genus name Salvia is related to the Latin word salvere, meaning to heal, preserve or redeem. Sage was associated in European traditions with wisdom, long life, and even immortality. An Italian proverb states, “Why should a man die when he has sage in his garden?”

Sage is used in promoting wisdom and bringing in good luck. It builds emotional strength and may help to heal grief. Magickally, the Sage is associated with protection and the granting of wishes. It appears in countless spells of kitchen witchery, especially those stemming from European traditions.

Sage is available in both fresh and dried forms. If you wish to try to grow your own, take heart: Sage prospers in most home gardens (even in pots). However, it is said to be unlucky to plant it for yourself. Get a seedling from a friend or have someone else do the job. Sage is said to love company—it is similarly unlucky to plant the herb in a pot or flowerbed by itself. Sage leaves and bundles retain their shape well when dried and make an attractive addition to sachets and potpourri bowls. When crushed, the dried herb is added to purification incenses. Sage essential oil is readily available. Because Sage naturally repels pests and thrives without much intervention, organic Sage products are neither rare nor expensive.

Correspondences of SageSage’s reputation for wisdom, protection, and good luck cast it squarely into the bounds of Jupiter. Like that most paternal of planets, Sage’s energy brings prosperity and guards over the home. The leaves even contain trace amounts of tin—a Jupiter metal.

However, it should be noted that some writers (including Christopher Penczak) list it with Moon herbs. Sage often has a white or blue-grey cast and is associated with the wisdom of the Crone.

The usual elemental tag for this fresh-smelling herb is Air. However, given Sage’s loyalty to hearth and home and links to manifestation magick, an alternative correspondence could be Earth.

Spells and Formulas with SageWrite a wish on Sage leaf and burn it to release your intention. Alternatively, place the leaf under your pillow at night to dream of how your goal will be achieved.

Carry a Sage leaf in your wallet to attract money.

Burn Sage incense when seeking knowledge or guidance on a difficult decision.

Add Sage oil, incense, or herbs to any spell to temper the results with wisdom.

People who prefer not to use White Sage, either because of allergies or cultural sensitivity, may use Common Sage instead.

If you eat Sage leaves every day in May, you will be granted immortality. (Hint: Not really.)

Precautions Sage is recognized as safe to use as a cooking ingredient. However, Sage contains the chemical compound thujone, which affects the nervous system. Ritual or medicinal use of Sage may intensify the sedative effects of some medications. Avoid during pregnancy.

Excessive or extended consumption of the essential oil or leaves can be toxic. Do not take Sage oil internally, and limit consumption of Sage tea to a reasonable quantity.

Scent Profile: Woody, Herbaceous, Sweet (sometimes Fruity, Nutty, or Lemony)

Correspondences: Jupiter, Air/Earth

Occult properties of herbs are provided for historical interest only, and no outcome is guaranteed. Nothing on this website should be taken as medical or legal advice. Please use herbs responsibly.

You may use the smoke from a sage smudge stick to cleanse your space & magical tools. Especially useful on a day like today with a full moon, ready to put them out for charging.

If you do not have sage, another common household item that you will have is salt! 

Household Use of Sage

Sage makes a nice rinse for dark hair.

Sage’s attractive leaves hold their shape and fragrance well when dried and are an attractive addition to dried arrangements and potpourri.

Store dried sage in the same place as you store your potatoes to help them keep longer.

Healing Attributes

Sage tea has antiseptic qualities and makes a good gargle for sore throats.

Sage may boost insulin action, and therefore, a daily cup of tea may be helpful for those with diabetes. Use one or two teaspoons of dried sage leaves to one cup of boiling water.

Culinary Use for Sage

Only Salvia officianalis is suitable for culinary use

Sage aids in the digestion of fatty foods and is therefore good for seasoning meats, especially pork. It’s also famously useful for stuffing poultry. It is also awesome in various bean and pork dishes, like split pea soup and vegetarian bean dishes.

Sage blossoms are good in salads or floated on top of soups.

Pineapple sage is good in fruit drinks, salads, and ham.

Common sage blends well with the flavours of balsamic vinegar, basilbay laurel, black pepper, cream cheese, garlic, lavender, lemon, mushrooms, onions, oreganorosemarythyme, and red wine.

Additional Notes

The most commonly used sage in spiritual practice, white sage, grows only in the American Southwest and can be very difficult to grow indoors in other areas. Rumours say that it is becoming rare due to overcollection but conflicting information says that it grows like crazy out there. You can get ethically sourced white sage, just ask questions. In my experience, garden sage works just as well and grows quite easily just about anywhere. If you have ethical concerns, it is a great option.

Source – https://witchipedia.com/

Read all of our other Herbsday posts here.

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