Who knew that Sage was such a versatile herb! Commonly used in the traditional British Christmas dinner as a key ingredient for stuffing, and to enhance savoury dishes and buttery sauces, sage also likes to be of use in a number of other ways. As far back as the Greek and Roman times, Sage was used to preserve meat. Fast forward to the present where modern technology has discovered that the bioactive properties of sage help delay the onset of rancidity and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Today it is extensively used in food production, specifically in the process for meat packaging where a solution of sage extract is used as a coating to extend the freshness of vacuum packed meats.
A Natural Purifier
Burning sage has been a spiritual ritual practised by many ancient cultures across the world. Today it is marketed as good for cleaning out bad negativity in our homes, but scientifically because of the antimicrobial properties of sage, burning the leaves and letting the smoke disperse, could be clearing the stagnant air of viruses and bacteria, in our homes.
The Beauty of Sage
Used topically on the skin Sage’s astringent properties have been shown to deeply cleanse and naturally exfoliate the skin and can also lighten hyperpigmentation. Used as a part of your dental health routine; it is not only proven to help soothe a sore throat and mouth ulcers, but it can treat gum disease as well. When consumed as a drink or tea, sage has been shown to affect cognitive function, used traditionally to alleviate symptoms of depression, it also has had promising results on Alzheimer’s patients, as it is packed with healthy compounds that make it beneficial for our brains.
Sage for Christmas
So why do we stuff a combination of breadcrumbs, onion and the magical herb; Sage into our turkeys every year for our Christmas dinners? It seems that historically speaking, it’s an age old habit of the culinary obsessed. From the Mesopotamians to the Romans stuffing more food into cavities was a norm and let’s not forget the feasting Tudors who ate everything and stuffed their multi bird roasts with pastry. In more recent history pre-made sage and onion stuffing came about when a butcher from Manchester was looking for ways to make Sunday roasts more exciting. These boxed mixes would include sage leaves, onion pieces and even sausage meat combined with other seasonings, dried fruit, and spices. Of course nothing beats homemade stuffing, giving flavour, freshness, and quality that can be hard to find in pre-made mixtures, allowing you to add more of the ingredients you enjoy and tweak your recipe according to personal taste.
So with all that being said, as you tuck into your Christmas dinner and scoff that mouthful of turkey with a heap of sage and onion stuffing just think how you are gifting your body a whole host of health benefits all due to the humble herb; Sage.