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Plants encyclopedia.

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Clary Sage

Clary Sage

Produced from plant: sage essential oil

Type of plant - grass

Usable part - flowering tops of the sprouts and leaves


The stem is reddish, height is about 60 cm; the leaves are large, cordate. Europe is considered to be the birthplace of the plant. In its wild form it is found in Spain, Italy, Romania, France, in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, the Black Sea region.

History and Myths

Since prehistoric times sage has been used as a medicinal plant and spice.

The Latin name "Salvia" originates from the word "salvus" (healthy) because it was thought that the plant preserves the health and prolongs life. It was widely used in folk medicine. Since that time, it was familiar to the ancient physicians: Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Pliny and others considered this plant a "holy herb" and the most useful medicine.

Sage has long since been thought to possess the power to resurrect the dead, predict the future and communicate with the other world. Shamans used it to go beyond human abilities.

In the Middle Ages sage was called "the eye of Christ," as it was mainly used to treat eye diseases. Besides, medieval herbalists used it to aid digestion and to treat women's diseases.

In the 12th century sage was considered an aphrodisiac. Its popularity in China was so great that in the 17th century the Chinese could trade the box of sage leaves for three boxes of Chinese tea.

German merchants used to add sage flowers to Rhine wine to imitate a good Muscat wine. Clary sage has sometimes been used to substitute hops in beer, as it caused more drunkness and cheer, along with severe headache after that.

Medieval herbalists recommended use of fragrant sage leaves to make love potions that evoke tender feelings and give a person power and longevity. According to them, once there was a man who ate only butter, bread and sage, and lived till about 150 years old.

There is a popular belief which has descended to our time that sage blooms in the garden only when a woman runs the household well

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