Sage

Health Power

The benefits of sage lie in its potent phytonutrients and volatile oils. Cousin to rosemary, sage is another source of rosmarinic acid. The acid is easily absorbed in the intestines and is known for its antioxidant properties. Sage is also a great source of flavonoids and two of the most powerful antioxidants, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase. SOD and peroxidase convert strong oxygen free radicals into non-toxic forms. These antioxidant compounds give sage a unique ability to help neutralize toxic forms of oxygen formed during cellular respiration. This in turn prevents oxygen-related damage to cell membranes, vital enzymes and DNA. Some studies suggest sage helps improve cognitive function and memory by preventing the degradation of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter. Sage is also known for antiperspirant, antiseptic, calming and digestive properties. Some commercial antiperspirants contain extracts from sage. Rubbing crushed sage leaves over an open cut or wound can help prevent infection. Regularly eating sage also helps smooth digestion and may help reduce blood sugar levels. In addition to adding sage to your food, you can also prepare a tea with it, which gives a more concentrated dose of the phytonutrients and essential oils.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – traces
Minerals – traces

Disease Prevention

Regular incorporation of sage in the diet may help reduce the symptoms or the onset of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other diseases caused by oxidative damage to cells/organs.

How to Grow

Easy on the eyes and aromatic, sage always serves as a pleasing component of borders. In addition to their colorful, velvety flowers and relaxing aroma, many cultivars add depth to a culinary creation. Sage is a hardy shrub, tolerant of many types of soil pH. Its main site requirements are full sun and good drainage. Amend the soil with plenty of organic matter, especially if it’s naturally dense and compacted. Perhaps add some coarse sand to heavier soil. Spring is the time to plant. You can sow from seed, but starting with sage plants in containers or purchasing them bare rooted is easier. Plant both container and bare rooted styles in the ground about 2 feet apart. As they grow, pinch the shoots out to prevent them from getting too lanky. If a couple shoots do get this way, they may be used to layer with (see Tips). Keep the area surrounding them weed free to alleviate nutrient competition. Leaves can be harvested all summer long as needed. Do it before flowering. After that, the flavor is compromised.

Insect Control

Sage has no common pests that threaten its life.

Tips

Propagate sage by layering or taking soft wood cuttings. To layer, put an object on top of some of the shoots so they are stuck against the soil. After new roots form, sever the shoot that connects the two plants. You can leave the new plant alone or pot it up and plant it out again in spring. For soft wood cuttings, select a newly grown, healthy shoot about 4-5 inches long. Cut the 4-inch section in half below the leaf joint. Remove the rest of the leaves and plant the end of the cutting in a tray with highly fertile soil. Perhaps dip the cuttings in a fungicide solution and rooting hormone before planting.

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