The Common Form Of

Hypericum perforatum. Part used: flowering tops. Traditionally used for treating nerve pain, including neuralgia and sciatica as well as psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression, St. John's wort continues to be used for these conditions but these days is best known for its antidepressant activity.

St. John's wort has been proven to be effective against mild to moderate depression in a large number of clinical trials. It was found to have similar effectiveness to other antidepressant medication but with fewer side effects. Two compounds, hypericin and hyperforin, are believed to work in a similar manner to pharmaceutical antidepressants, and many preparations using St. John's wort are produced to contain a fixed level of these constituents.

Clinical trials of St. John's wort also suggest a beneficial use for treating mood symptoms of menopause and

Celebrating the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is a pagan festival that's still observed unlay. Traditionally, participants would cast St. John's wort onto a bonfire and then iump over it to cleanse the body of evil spirits. St. John's wort flowers were also placed above religious images to deler evil on the day.

premenstrual syndrome, for obsessive compulsive disorder and also for seasonal affective disorder.

Laboratory studies have shown that St John's wort possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and antiviral activity. A tea or extract taken internally as well as the external use of the red oil prepared from the flowers can relieve sciatica, shingles, cold sores, genital herpes and rheumatic pain. Topically, the oil is also a valuable wound- and burn-healing remedy.

For the safe and appropriate use of St. John's wort, see Depression and anxiety, poge 211. Do not use St. John's wort if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Use the pineapple-scented leaves of pineapple sage (S. elegans syn. S. rutiians) to flavor drinks.

Common sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage

Salvia sp. Lamiaceae

There are more than 700 species of salvias, many of them spectacular when in flower, and a number with leaves that are variously scented with pineapple, grapes, tangerine, grapefruit, anise, honey melon or fruit salad. Salvia flowers attract butterflies and nectar-sipping birds

Parts used Leaves, roots, seeds, flowers

Common or garden sage (S. officinalis) is one of the best-known culinary herbs, but there are also many ornamental species, all with small, lipped flowers in delightful shades, from white to dark purple.

A subshrub native to the Dalmatian Coast, common sage has silver-gray elliptical leaves and spikes of attractive lavender, pink or white flowers. It is a pleasantly pungent culinary herb, which also aids digestion.

Use the pineapple-scented leaves of pineapple sage (S. elegans syn. S. rutiians) to flavor drinks.

In addition to the common form of garden sage, there are handsome broad-leaf varieties, such as 'Berggarten,' and colored-leaf forms, such as the purple-leafed 'Purpurea'; the cream-, pink- and purple-variegated 'Tricolor'; and gold- and green-variegated 'Icterina! Three-leafed sage (S. fruticosa), native to Greece and Turkey, closely resembles garden sage except that most leaves are subtended by a basal pair of leaflets. The dried leaves are often sold as 'garden sage.' A hybrid between this species and garden sage, known as 'Newe Ya'ar,' is cultivated commercially in Israel. Spanish sage (S. lavandulifolia), also known as lavender sage, resembles a narrow-leafed garden sage. It has a lavender-and-sage fragrance, and its oil is extracted for toiletries. Clary sage or muscatel sage (S. sclarea), a biennial, is one of the most beautiful sages, forming a large rosette of broadly ovate, pebble-textured leaves and sending up tall dense spikes of large pink flowers. The leaves add a muscatel flavor to a diverse range of liqueurs, vermouths and wines, while the essential oil is used in perfumery. In water, the seeds become mucilaginous, and were once used to remove specks from the eyes. White sage (S. opiana) is a silver-leafed, rosette-shaped subshrub native to southwestern North America. The leaves are

Common sage (Salvia officinalis)

used by Native Americans as a flavoring, medicinally to reduce mucous formation and salivation, and for smudge sticks in purification ceremonies. The golden chia (S. eolumbariae), an annual, is native to the southwestern United States. Like chia (S. hispánico),

The root of red root sage or dan shen (S. miltiorrhiza) is used tor many purposes in Chinese medicine. The leaves are divided into paired leaflets and the flowers are blue.

which was cultivated as an important staple crop by the Aztecs until colonization by the Spanish, it produces tiny oily seeds that are gluten-free, very rich in omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), and high in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. A third chia, S. polystachya, is also nutritionally valuable. Diviner's sage IS. divinorum) exists only in cultivation and has been used for many centuries by Mazatec shamans in Oaxaca, Mexico, to create visionary experiences and promote spiritual healing. Despite sensationalized media reports, it is neither LSD-like in action nor a "party drug."

It is generally understood to be non-addictive, and toxicological studies have shown it to be non-toxic. The plant is a prohibited substance in Australia, South Korea, Belgium, Italy and Denmark. Fragrant-leafed species Some of these species find culinary uses. Pineapple sage (S. elegons syn. S. rutilans) has slender spikes of red flowers and pineapple-scented leaves used to flavor drinks and garnish desserts.

Others include its variety 'Honey Melon'; fruit salad or peach sage (S. dorisiona), with large, lush spikes of rose-pink flowers and broad fruit-scented leaves; and the very fragrant

California species, Cleveland sage (S. clevelondii).

Found on several Greek islands, apple sage (S. pomifera) forms fruit-like semi-transparent galls that are candied and eaten as delicacies.

• Position With few exceptions, the Salvia genus, particularly the gray-leafed species, requires a sunny, well-drained position. Salvias generally make poor indoor plants and become easily infested with white fly and scale. S. officinalis prefers alkaline conditions.

• Propagation Sages are propagated from seed, or by tip cuttings or division for named varieties.

• Maintenance Most shrubby salvias respond well to gentle pruning or pinching back, particularly after flowering. Do not heavily fertilize these plants.

• Pests and diseases Pick caterpillars off by hand. Sudden wilting indicates poor drainage and root rot.

• Harvesting and storing Harvest fresh leaves and flowers for culinary use at any time. Dry individual leaves and sprigs before flowering; spread them out in a well-aired place, then store in airtight containers.

Sage and thyme stuffing

Gently heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 25 g butter in large frying pan over moderate heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion and 2 finely chopped celery stalks. Cook about 10 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Stir in 1 % cups 1100 g) fresh white breadcrumbs. 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh sage and fresh thyme and I lightly beaten egg. Mix well to bind the mixture: season generously with salt and pepper. Allow stuffing to cool completely. Use it to stuff a turkey. Alternatively, use mixture to loosely stuff a large chicken and cook remaining stuffing in a buttered baking dish, putting it in the oven for the last 30 minutes of the chicken cooking time. To avoid the risk of food poisoning, do not stuff poultry until you are ready to cook it. To vary the recipe, try using 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh lemon grass and parsley in place of sage and thyme.

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Potted salvias in flower make a pretty display, 'art not 5"ited to long-term indoor life

In France, clary sage IS. sclarea) is cultivated and the essential oil extracted for perfumery.

Continue reading here: Herbal medicine

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