Sage is an aromatic herb native to the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Sage has been utilized by mankind for both health and food since the first people began to settle in the Fertile Crescent, along with other powerful herbs and spices of that region such as Thyme and Saffron.
Sage grew naturally in this region as a wild bush that thrived in all climates from the arid regions of the Middle East to the more temperate Islands of Greece to the subtropical shores of Spain. As a result, civilizations in the Old World began to cultivate the plant in their own gardens and drying the leaves to preserve them for a consistent supply and to trade with the rest of the world.
The medicinal properties of this herb was already being explored during the Ancient Egyptian civilization as evinced by their attempts to increase their women's fertility with sage tea. The Ancient Greek civilization was the first to establish and define the true medicinal properties that still hold true by modern pharmaceutical standards.
The Greek Physician and Father of Western Medicine Hippocrates said "Boil water with sage and drink two cups a day to cease perspiration." During the Roman era the Latin term for this remarkable herb was "Salvia Salvatrix" which translates to "Sage the Saviour" referring to its healing properties as "Salvia" is derived from the term "Salvere" which means "health" in Latin.
During the Middle Ages, the sage gained an even greater reputation as a medicinal herb in as much to compel Charlemagne to order that sage be cultivated in agricultural fields and planted in his personal palace gardens and monasteries during his reign over the Carolingian Empire. In fact, sage was one of the ingredients of the Four Thieves Vinegar that was a blend herbs at that time believed to help ward off the Black Plague. That may be the source of the scientific surname of the plant, "Officinales", because the Officina was the storeroom in monasteries where medicines were stored.
A common phrase during this time period was "Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto?", which translates to "Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?'' and another English Proverb was "He that would live for aye, Must eat Sage in May." The crop was so prized that a traditional pest control was developed by planting Rue amongst the sage in order to keep small animals like frogs at bay.
The ancients and medieval peoples may have gotten carried away however, at least with the claims they hold to legendary sage. Although the plant may have some slowing properties, some believed it to cure and get rid of bites from venomous snakes and to even induce conception. However, other men such Gerard were carefully observant and quite accurate in their assessment of the properties of sage, at least in regards to current research and analysis, which is evident by is words "Sage is singularly good for the head and brain, it quickeneth the senses and memory, strengtheneth the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy, and taketh away shakey trembling of the members." In fact, Dioscorides, Pliny the Elder, and Galenus all recommended Maramia as a diuretic, local anesthetic, styptic, hemostatic, emmenagogue, and tonic.
And even still today the Sage plant is held in high regards for its flavor, aroma, and medicinal properties in many communities around the world, especially around the Mediterranean and by the Native American Tribes.
The Palestinian Method of Preparing Maramia Tea:
1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
2. Infuse water with Maramia leaves by simply dropping them in and letting it seep for about 5 mins.
3. Sweeten as desired*, pour a glass for you and a friend and enjoy!
*Try using honey for a healthier alternative.
The Native American Tradition of Smudging
A Native American tradition, smudging is a common practice for ceremonies, therapy, and incense. "Smudge Sticks" are essentially bundles of sage and/or other aromatic vegetation that is burnt to produce an pleasingly odorous smoke trail often used for purification rituals in the traditional context. In the modern age smudging has been taken up by many belief systems and meditation techniques in order to enhance/cleanse one's spirit, mind, and body.
Since we grow our own Maramia (sage) herbs, we accept requests for selecting bundles. Many people believe the method to picking the leaves is as important as the actual smudging and so may prefer leaves to be picked at a certain time of day, month, moon phase, or anything that may be important to them.