Description. Sage, also called Salvia is a half-shrub, a perennial herbaceous plant of the Lumiaceae family with height from 20 to 70 cm.
It is spread in all parts of the Old and New Worlds. The homeland of sage is Asia Minor. In the wild form, the plant is widespread in the countries of the Mediterranean region and the Balkan Peninsula. It is cultivated in the Crimea, the North Caucasus, the south of the European part of Russia, Krasnodar Territory, Ukraine and Moldova. Sage is grown on plantations of medicinal and essential oil plants, in orchards.
The plant has an erect, branchy, whitish, fluffy stem; at the base of the stem there are leaves, simple or feathery, gray-green in color. The flowers are of blue-violet color, less often of light pink, white color, bilabiate, placed in rings in the upper spicate inflorescences. Flowering of the plant begins in May-June. Fruits are four ovoid-trihedral nuts, they ripen in July-August.
Forms and colors of sage are different: from the usual to the most outlandish and extraordinary. There are about 700 different kinds of Salvia in the world.
As a medicinal raw material, the leaves collected at the beginning of flowering and repeatedly in September are used.
The leaves are collected manually or mechanically. In case of a mechanized method of harvesting, the grass of the plant is mowed off with mowers. The collected raw material is dried in air, but always in the shade, in attics or in dryers at a temperature of about 40º-50ºC, then is threshed and the leaves are separated from the stems by dressing.
Most kinds of medicinal sage prefer the soil to normal acidity (5.5 - 6.5 pH). Sage is planted in a well-lit area, it will grow best on light, fertile soils, loamy soil is ideal for this.
To enrich the soil before sage planting, digging is done in autumn with humus or compost application, as well as phosphate-potassium mineral fertilizers. On coming of spring, the soil is leveled and crushed with rakes, after which nitrogen fertilizers are introduced.
Since salvia is a perennial plant, it can grow in the same place for more than 8 years. The plant brairds fine, so the seedling method can be avoided, and the seeds can be sown directly to the soil in the early spring in March - early April, using a film, or in autumn before snow. It's not critical, if you delayed with planting, you can sow it in May, than film shelter for sprouting will not be needed. The sage grows with a bush, so it is recommended to leave about 30 cm between plants, and about 50 cm between rows. It is not advisable to sow the sage after the relatives of its family (Lamiaceae). The best predecessors for sage can be potatoes, cabbage, onions, legumes.
In the second year after planting, like most spicy herbs with thick inflorescences, sage is renewed by cutting (10 cm from the soil surface).
Salvia tolerates the drought well, but it requires moisture, so that the greens to be juicy and tender, so that the leaves become very hard. In the spring, before flowering, fertilizing with nitrogen mineral fertilizers is necessary, in autumn, after the plant is cut and prepared for winter, phosphorus-potassium fertilizers must be applied in accordance with the standards on the package.
It is recommended to use and preserve sage during its flowering period. Leaves can be consumed,\ as in fresh form, as to be preserved for winter in bundles or spreading them out in a dark, warm aired place (in the attic).
Application. All kinds of Salvia (sage) are essential-oil-bearing ones; some of them were classified as medicinal, for example, Salvia officinalis. Different properties of essential oils in different plant species and the possibility of their use have not been studied yet. The most famous of them is Salvia sclarea. Salvia officinalis contains tannins.
Many kinds of sage are decorative plants, they are used for planting the paths in gardens and parks, for example, such as Salvia officinalis, green sage.
Green sage and desertic sage are good nectariferous plants.
Salvia sclarea has been used in winemaking for a long time.
Seeds of Salvia sclarea and desertic sage contain non-drying fatty oil, which is used in the manufacturing of drying oil, varnishes and paints.
The cake of plant seeds, Salvia sclarea in particular, can serve as a fodder for cattle.