Top view of wooden spoon full of sage leaves
Food - Drink
Sage Has Been More Than A Culinary Staple For Thousands Of Years
Seasonings like garlic, onion, and chili flakes might get most of the attention, but sage shouldn’t be underestimated. Sage has long been used to add a comforting warmth and complex flavor to almost any dish, but more than that, the herb has been used for centuries outside of the kitchen for anything from medicine to religious ceremonies.
Known for its complex flavor, sage, or Salvia officinalis, is a member of the mint family, and is especially prolific in the Mediterranean. Throughout the region, sage has been used for centuries by ancient civilizations like the Egyptians who used it to promote fertility or the Greeks who believed the herb helped preserve meat.
According to Roman Emperor Nero’s physician, Dioscorides, sage was considered one of the most important herbs in the Roman Empire, and was used to stanch bleeding, cure ulcers, and make teas promoting throat and brain health. The herb was also infused into many beverages such as wine and spirits to aid digestion.
Along the west coast of the United States and Mexico, you’ll find white sage or Salvia apiana, which has been used by indigenous communities for thousands of years. The most prevalent of these practices is probably smudging, the cleansing process involving burning sage, which has unfortunately been appropriated by non-Indigenous people.