Russian Sage Care: Tips For Growing Russian Sage Plant
The Russian sage (Salvia officinalis) is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in Russia. It was introduced into Europe from the Soviet Union during World War II. Today it’s grown commercially all over the world. However, it still grows wild in many parts of Russia and other countries where its native range extends.
It is a perennial herb with short growing season. It prefers moist soil but will grow in dry conditions if they are not too severe. Its leaves are arranged in three lobes and each lobe contains two leaflets. They have a light green color and turn reddish brown when bruised or damaged.
The stems of the plant are long and slender, sometimes reaching up to six feet tall!
In addition to being used as a medicine, russet sage is also used for its aromatic oil which is widely sold in health food stores. The oil has been shown to possess antiseptic properties and may even prevent cancer. It can be extracted from the plant using a solvent such as acetone or hexane. There are several different grades of russet sage available depending upon how much of the essential oils are present in the plant material.
The word “sage” is used to refer to several different plants in the genus Salvia. Most of them are native to south and central America, but they have naturalized in many parts of the world and grown as common garden plants. The leaves of most of these plants can be used as a spice (such as in cooking) and their flowers are often brightly colored and very showy. They are annual plants, not perennials like russet sage.
The leaves and flowers of the russet sage have a strong flavor that is somewhat similar to mint. They are used in cooking, in brewing beer (as an additive to stabilize the foam), in making wine, and in various recipes. The leaves can be made into herbal teas or added fresh to salads. The oil of the plant is poisonous and should never be used as a cooking oil!
It should only be used in very small amounts (as is done in the brewing of beer). Very small amounts of the flowers can also be eaten.
If you have a garden or yard, russet sage can be grown there especially if it gets plenty of sun. It goes without saying that it likes moist soil but it can tolerate some drought (like most plants). It’s a good idea to plant it near a patio or somewhere where you will be able to enjoy its unique flavor and fragrance.
Note: Be sure to plant russet sage seeds in the spring as they require warm soil to sprout. The sprouts will grow slowly at first but once they reach a certain height they can grow up to an inch a day (sometimes even faster). Make sure that you keep them watered and don’t let them dry out. Young plants are very susceptible to disease and insects.
Once they are about a foot high, their growth slows down to around 1/2″ to 1″ per day.
When harvesting for medicine or culinary use, lightly brush the leaves and petals off instead of using garden shears or scissors. Bruising the plant releases its essential oils and can greatly reduce its value as a medicine, food, or even a scent (its essences is highly valued in the perfume industry). If you are only using it for scent, then cut it down and dry it instead.
Also note that russet sage is not the only type of Salvia. There are many different types that can be used for different purposes.
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Ruset Sage is a protector, especially of children. It provides a shield and wards off those that would do them harm (whether physical or spiritual). It is useful in healing people who have been mentally or emotionally damaged in some way. It can help prevent diseases from settling in the mind as well as the body.
In particular it is effective against insanity and paranoia.
It is also used for divination and psychic powers in general. It can impart knowledge of the mystic arts and increase one’s power and ability in these areas.
In fact, its powers seem to defy distinct classification. It has properties of many different herbs and plants yet it is distinctly different from all of them. It is a bit like a focused beam of sunlight; extremely useful for certain purposes but not generally useful.
In any case, it is an herb that should be treated with respect due to its powerful essence. It should not be taken by those of a weak constitution. It should also only be used with great care.
There are some rare individuals who can handle its power with no ill effects but most people will feel some effect from it (if only a mild stimulation). For most people, too much russet sage will cause extreme nausea and possibly vomiting. In extreme cases it can cause the skin to become yellow (jaundice) and the whites of the eyes to become yellow as well. This is due to the oversensitivity of the eyes that most people experience when they take it.
In any case, it should only be used for divination or spiritual work of the greatest importance and then only by the most experienced diviners and shamans. It is not something to be trifled with by those without serious training.
The flowers are most potent but all parts of the plant have some effect. The roots have the most but the least pleasant effect.
You will need:
1 oz dried herb (flowers are best)
3 cups water
1 cup white flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
To begin, mix the flower and water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Boil it for about 10 minutes. Strain out the liquid and set it aside to cool. Once cooled, mix in the sugar and baking powder.
Stir until it produces a thick batter.
Take small spoonfuls of the batter and drop it into a pot of hot oil (360 degrees). Fry them until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
These are called Olilikh which is the Ruset term for Joymaker. They taste a bit like honey cakes and give a mild stimulation to the mind when eaten.
You can use the batter to make other things such as banana pancakes or anything else you might make with a similar batter.
If making something other than Joymakers, use less batter so that you get crispy cookies rather than a gooey paste.
These are more for flavoring than stimulation but they can still be useful in the right circumstances.
Sources & references used in this article:
Planting a Flag in Arctic Waters: Russia’s Claim to the North Pole by N Matz-Luck – Goettingen J. Int’l L., 2009 – HeinOnline
Flag planting and finger pointing: The Law of the Sea, the Arctic and the political geographies of the outer continental shelf by K Dodds – Political Geography, 2010 – Elsevier
C3 plants enhance rates of photosynthesis by reassimilating photorespired and respired CO2 by T DiSabato-Aust – 2006 – Timber Press