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  • Writer's pictureOlivine Moss

Sage Myths Legends Poetry and Planting

Updated: Jun 16





Myths and Legends

Known as a sympathetic plant to its owner, has been known to become wilted when its owner receives bad fortune and thrives when good fortune occurs. Sage has been revered across cultures for millennia for its healing properties.

This special herb was used for healing wounds and for making man wise or a "Sage" by mixing a concoction of sage and other beneficial herbs into a poultice and rubbing it against the back of the head to prevent lethargy and forgetfulness. Sage has been recorded to be used all throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East as an herb that soothes and gives beneficial comfort to the vital spirit.

Before we better understood conception and childbirth and depended on herbal remedies, sage was used to assist in conception and miscarriage prevention. English Botanist and Herbalist John Parkinson of the 16th century described different uses for the herb. Parkinson described Sage being used in ancient Egypt after the plague to help women become more fertile. Parkinson claims that the ancient Orpheanic faith of Greece used sage to relieve coughing up blood and spitting, as well as consumption(Tuberculosis). Sage, when eaten may have been used in Italy as a protection against venomous serpents and frogs.

Sage is a herb with a long and rich history of use in various cultures and traditions. In this blog post, we will explore some of the fascinating facts and stories about sage and its benefits.

One of the most ancient and widespread beliefs about sage is that it can grant longevity and even immortality. According to legend, sage was one of the ingredients in the elixir of life that the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang sought in his quest to live forever. The ancient Greeks and Romans also valued sage as a tonic for health and vitality, and the Latin name for sage, Salvia, comes from the word salvere, meaning "to save" or "to heal".

 Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang

Sage has also been used for spiritual and religious purposes in many cultures. For example, sage was a sacred plant for the Druids, who used it in ceremonies and rituals to connect with the divine. Sage was also burned as incense or smudged to cleanse and purify spaces, objects, and people from negative energies and influences. This practice is still common today among some Native American tribes, who use white sage or desert sage for smudging ceremonies. Sage is also associated with wisdom, protection, and good luck in many folk traditions.

Another aspect of sage's history is its role in trade and commerce. Sage was one of the herbs and spices that were highly sought after by European explorers and merchants in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Sage was especially prized in Asia, where it was used as a medicine, a spice, and a perfume. Sage was traded along the Silk Road and other routes by Dutch, Portuguese, and British traders, who brought it to China, India, Japan, and other countries.

Sage is not only a herb with a rich history, but also a herb with many health benefits. Sage contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties that can help with various conditions such as sore throat, cough, colds, infections, inflammation, digestion, memory, mood, and more. Sage can be consumed as tea, infusion, tincture, oil, or capsule, or applied topically as a salve, cream, or lotion.

Sage is a herb that deserves our respect and appreciation for its many uses and benefits throughout history and today. Whether you use it for culinary, medicinal, or spiritual purposes, sage can enhance your life in many ways.


Medicinal Uses

Known throughout history to help with digestive concerns and reduce phlegm, increase appetite, and calm nerves. Soothes joint pain and muscle cramps.


Sage Poetry

Sage is for sustenance

That should man's life sustaine ,

For 1 do stil lie languishing Continually in paine ,

And shall doe still until I die , Except thou favour show ,

My paine and all my grievous smart ,

Ful wel you do it know .

Handful of Pleasant Delights .

IL Penseroso .

But hail , thou goddess , sage and holy ,

Hail , divinest Melancholy ,

Whose saintly visage is too bright

To hit the sense of human sight ;

And therefore to our weaker view O'erlaid with black , staid Wisdom's hue ; Black , but such as in esteem

Prince Memnon's sister might beseem ; Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove

To set her beauty's praise above

The sea - nymphs , and their powers offended :

Yet thou art higher far descended ...

MILTON (1642-1648)


How to Plant Sage: A Guide for Beginners

Planting sage is easy in your garden or in pots, and it can be used for cooking, medicine, or decoration. Here are some tips on how to grow sage successfully.

  • Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Sage prefers full sun, but it can tolerate some shade in hot climates. The soil should be sandy or loamy, and not too rich or moist. You can improve the drainage by adding some gravel or perlite to the soil.

  • Start sage from seeds or cuttings. You can sow sage seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date, or outdoors after the frost danger has passed. Cover the seeds lightly with soil and keep them moist until they germinate. You can also take stem cuttings from an existing sage plant in spring or summer, and root them in water or moist soil.

  • Transplant or thin out the seedlings. When the sage seedlings have at least two sets of true leaves, you can transplant them to their final location, spacing them about 2 feet apart. If you sowed the seeds directly in the garden, thin out the seedlings to the same distance.

  • Water and fertilize sparingly. Sage doesn't need much water or fertilizer, as it can thrive in dry and poor conditions. Water only when the top inch of soil feels dry, and avoid wetting the leaves to prevent fungal diseases. Fertilize once or twice a year with a balanced organic fertilizer, but don't overdo it, as too much nitrogen can reduce the flavor and aroma of the leaves.

  • Harvest and prune regularly. You can start harvesting sage leaves once the plant is established, but don't take more than one-third of the plant at a time. The best time to harvest is before the plant flowers, as the leaves are most flavorful then. You can use fresh or dried sage for cooking or tea, or make sage butter, vinegar, or oil. Prune back the woody stems in spring to encourage new growth and prevent legginess.

  • Protect from pests and diseases. Sage is generally pest- and disease-resistant, but it can be affected by aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, powdery mildew, root rot, and rust. To prevent these problems, keep the plant healthy and well-ventilated, and remove any infected parts as soon as possible. You can also spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil if needed.

Sage is a versatile and easy-to-grow herb that can add flavor and beauty to your garden and kitchen. With proper care and harvesting, you can enjoy sage for many years.



Further Reading and Resources

Rosalind Northcote (1903), The Book of Herbs, retrieved from

“John_Parkinson_(Botanist).”, 2023, Accessed 1 May 2023.

Labriola, Albert C. “John Milton | Biography, Works, & Facts.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 5 Apr. 2019,

Parkinson, John. Theatrum Botanicum: The Theater of Plants. Or, an Herball of a Large Extent ... Collected by the Many Yeares Travaile, Industry, and Experience in This Subject, by John Parkinson .. Google Books, Tho. Cotes, 1640, Accessed 1 May 2023.


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