Salvia officinalis, Perennial Sage
Native to the Mediteranean region, Salvia officinalis, known as Perennial, Garden or Common Sage is now grown in many places around the world. It has many uses in cooking, medicine and as an ornamental plant.
In cooking, most will have come across 'sage and onion stuffing', a tradition favourite for Christmas and Thanksgiving. With it's strong flavour sage is often used with fatty meats, although it also works well with vegetables such as butternut squash. In Italy it's chopped finely and stirred into pasta with melted butter.
While it's known for adding extra taste to recipes, sage can also be enjoyed on it's own. It makes a tasty and refreshing herbal tea popular in Turkey under the name of 'adaçayi', which translates as 'island tea'. Also it's possible to batter and deep fry the leaves for a tasty snack or appetiser.
Over the years Sage has been recommended for virtually every ailment with the term 'officianalis' refering to this in no uncertain terms. The officina was the storeroom in a monastery where medicines were kept.
In modern times sage is starting to be recognised as having a number of useful properties. There's good evidence that it works as an anti-perspirant, antibiotic and anti-fungal, and recent studies have shown it to have some use in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease.
There are many different cultivars of Salvia officinalis, including many varieties grown for their attractiveness as a garden plant. The name 'sage' is often used to describe similar plants of different genus.
Salvia triloba, Greek Sage
Strictly this is classified as Salvia Fruticosa, but plants with 3 major lobes to each leaf are generally refered as Triloba. Originally native to the Dalmation Coast (Croatia) this herb was was cultivated in ancient Greece, being prized for it's culinary and medical properties. Now it's grown all around the Eastern Mediterranean and is the main sage crop in Turkey. While Salvia officianalis is the first plant that comes to mind when sage is mentioned this is somewhat misleading, for instance the majority of Sage imported to the U.S.A. is actually triloba.
Compared to officianalis, triloba has a less pungent flavour while being fruitier and sweeter. Related to this is it's increasing use in the form of it's essential oil, it has a significantly lower proportion of ketones compared to officianalis which makes it safer for medicinal use.
One unusual feature of this plant in it's native habitat is it's ability to produce inch wide fleshy 'apples', which are said to be of very good flavour. As it happens, these are actually galls, produced in response to the egg laying attentions of a small wasp.
Camstar Herbs Ltd. can provide you with top quality English Perennial Sage, just contact us.
|Martin Hoxworth - Group Sales Manager: martincamstar.co.uk|