Photo by mattmitchell8 via flickr
The California wonder herb, sage, which has been praised by the Native Americans, healers, energy workers, mediums, and just about anyone who values the power of medicinal herbs, is now threatened and endangered. Due to an increase in global use, over harvesting and unpleasant climate change, serious threats now face this California native plant.
Which is hard to imagine, due to the fact that it is not uncommon to see a white sage bundle in almost every conscious household we step foot into. But do we ever wonder where it comes from, how it is grown and how long it will be available for us?
First off, let’s see what science has to say about the “magical” properties of Sage.
British Scientist at the Universities of Newcastle tested 44 people, who were either given Sage oil tablets or a dummy placebo pill. Those who were given the herb performed much better in a “word recall test.” Similar double-blind study of people with Alzheimer’s disease showed corresponding results.Test tube researches have found that sage oil has antibacterial, antifungal and antidotal functions. The volatile sage oil contains alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, cineole, rosmarinic acid, tannins and flavonoids.
It doesn’t stop here. The reason why we burn Sage is because the smoke that it releases contains negative ions that cancel out positive ones (which, oddly, are the bad ones) and this very procedure neutralizes the energy field in which you are burning it. Negative ions promote alpha brainwaves and increase brainwave amplitude, which translates to a higher awareness level. This also explains the calming effect of sage smoke, which also stimulates the endocrine system and balances hormonal output in a human body.
But because of its positive effects, it is in high demand, and this has led to previously abundant sage fields being completely wiped out. According to Elliot Vega, who has been running a sage business for many years: wild fires, lack of rain and urban development are the main dangers facing the well being of the plant today.
So what can we do to protect this precious medicine and prevent its extinction?
Well first of all, we can use it more consciously. Sometime burning just a single leaf is enough, as opposed to lighting up the whole bundle. Secondly, plant it in your back yard! Sage is one of the easiest plants to grow. Although it naturally likes dry and hot climates, it can also be grown in green house conditions. Outside of Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico, sage should be cultivated as an annual or brought indoor for the winter by repotting seedling into ceramic pots. White sage has gray-green young leaves that turn white as they mature. It blooms during the summer with silvery white lavender-tinged flowers.
You can find more detailed information on growing sage here. Everyone can do their little part in conserving this incredibly valuable plant by treating it with a lot of respect, careful harvesting, facilitating new growths and prayers for the rain.