Herbs: Sage,Stinging Nettle



Subject: Sage


COMMON NAME (English/German): Sage/Salbei
LATIN NAME: Salvia officinalis
TYPE OF PLANT: perennial "subshrub"

SYMBOLISM: wisdom, long life

MEDICINAL: for cold symptoms and digestive upsets; lowers blood sugar in diabetics
bath: stimulates the skin
cosmetic: used in soaps; also as an insect repellent (flies); mixed with lavender to make a soothing, astringent aftershave
EDIBLE: Young leaves are eaten fresh in salads and cooked in omelets, fritters, soups, yeast breads and rolls, marinades, sausages, meat pies, and poultry stuffing. They are also cooked with all kinds of meats and a wide variety of vegetables.
Herb vinegar--sage, parsley, shallots with red wine vinegar
Tea blend--tansy, sage and rosehips; jasmine, orange peel and sage

CULTIVATION: sow in late spring and transplant to 20" apart when seedlings reach three inches high; or divide an established plant and use the outer growth for replanting. Prune plants severely in the spring and replace them every three years or so.

HARVESTING AND STORAGE: To dry sage leaves, snip t hem from branches you have removed, discard the stems, and spread them on cloth or paper in the shade. Store in a colored glass or solid container.

ETC.: wild sage used for "smudging"; dries up breast milk; green-gray or yellow dye; can be smoked like tobacco

Stinging Nettle

COMMON NAME (English/German): Stinging nettle/Brennnestle
LATIN NAME: Urtica dioica
TYPE OF PLANT: single-stalked perennial

LEGENDS/HISTORY: Petronius wrote that a man could be thrashed on the kidneys and below the navel to improve his virility. "Nettle" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for "needle."

SYMBOLISM: "Though you stroke the nettle ever so kindly, yet it will sting you."

MAGICKAL: element--fire; deities: Mars

MEDICINAL: The plant, collected before flowering and made into tea, has been used to treat asthma, as well as to combat water retention. Nettles are high in vitamin C, which may account for their centuries-old repuation as a spring tonic.
bath: stimulate skin and improve circulation
EDIBLE: High in vitamin C. Stinging nettles offer vitamins to anyone brave or careful enough to collect and eat them. The young shoots won't sting, and some herb fanciers consume them raw, tossed into salad. The greens can be cooked much like spinach. Once boiled, the leaves lose their sting.
Tea blend--nettle, ginger and hyssop

CULTIVATION: Grows easily from seed or division.

HARVESTING AND STORAGE: Dress carefully and move cautiously. Wear gloves! Cut off the entire plant two inches above the ground. Drying is best done in the shade at temperatures above 90F. It's best to use trays or sieves, rather than tying it in bunches.

ETC.: Previously used to make cloth; leaves and stem make green dye, while roots make yellow. Powdered leaves in chicken feed boost nutritional value of their eggs. High in nitrogen for good fertilizer (cover plants with water and let sit for one to three weeks).

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