Sage, Salvia officinalis
Herb of the month by Sacha Begg
A woody perennial shrub that survives well in a four season climate (like ours in Nova Scotia). It grows to about knee high, and has beautiful blue/purple blossoms that arrive late spring/early summer. Some varieties also have white or pink blossoms. It has bumpy textured leaves which have a distinct and engaging aroma.
Medicinally, it is my go to plant for healing any mouth sores, especially cankers. At bedtime, lightly crush a leaf and place it in your mouth in contact with the canker and leave it there over night. Alternatively, brew a tea with fresh or dried leaves, let it steep for at least 10 minutes (the longer it steeps the stronger the tea, but also the more bitter the flavour). Either swish it around your mouth, or sip and drink it slowly, letting the natural oils and flavours roll around your mouth and the affected area. Add a bit of honey to your sage tea, and use it to help soothe a sore throat.
Traditionally, sage is burned (or rather smoldered) for its cleansing and purifying smoke, and is used to clear out negative energy. I have read that sage’s smoke actually de-ionizes particles in the air by attaching to them and weighing them down so that they sink to the ground. (So maybe you should vacuum after you smudge with sage!)
As much as it is possible, I believe in using the herbs and plants that grow right outside my door. Salvia officinalis is the variety that grows well in the climate of my garden in Nova Scotia, so it is my go to variety for health, healing, and enjoyment.