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Traditionally associated with longevity, sage has a reputation for restoring failing memory in the elderly. Like other memory-enhancing herbs, it was also planted on graves. It is said that when the British started importing tea from China, the Chinese so valued the herb they would trade two cases of tea for one of dried English sage.
There are several species of the sage herb, each with its own characteristics that make them have different uses.
The leaves and stems are used in cooking for flavoring sausages, pork, sauces, cheese, dressings and stuffing. Sage is also brewed for tea.
Sage herb can be used as an antiseptic and anti-fungal; it improves the digestion, and this is why it is sometimes used with heavy meals. It will also help control diarrhea. The purple variety of S. officinalis is generally used in medicine, and is more effective than the green plant. In China, the root of a related plant, S. miltiorrhiza (dan shen), is used as a tonic herb.
The Artemisa variety is very bitter, great as an insect repellant, and can be sprayed with alcohol after the plant is boiled to let all it's juices out. This variety is not intended for cooking.
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