Perfume Illuminated: Cannabis
Song of the Sea : Roxana Villa's GreenWitch

Perfume Illuminated: Sage

Are you goin' to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt (On the side of a hill in the deep forest green).

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground).

Without no seams nor needlework (Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain).

Then she'll be a true love of mine (Sleeps unaware of the clarion call).

Tell her to find me an acre of land (On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves).

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Washes the grave with silvery tears).

Between salt water and the sea strands (A soldier cleans and polishes a gun).

Then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather (War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions).

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (Generals order their soldiers to kill).

And gather it all in a bunch of heather (And to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten).

Then she'll be a true love of mine."

 Scarbourough Fair/Canticle  - Simon and Garfunkel


Flavor: Sage 

For todays Perfume Illuminated, Roxana and I have decided to take a fragrant and flavorful journey with the genus Salvia....more commonly known to us as sage. Sage is the  herb that I love the most passionately and if I ever(perish the thought!) had to choose just one herb to spend the rest of my days with it would be the sage. Immortalized in songs and sonnets , sage is still planted in the cloisters and medieval knot gardens that have been hidden for centuries behind castle walls.   Images of Sage and it's lovely flowers are embroidered into some of the most famous tapestries ever created, tapestries that set fire to the imagine passionately.   Indeed , the lovely little sage is no stranger to the secret languages of passion and romance.


It comes in so many different varieties and I plant as many as I can, adoring them for their flowers which my hummingbirds love and the velvety fleshy leaves that flavor my stews and stuffings  all throughout the year. There are Sacred Sages, Culinary Sages and even a Psychoactive Sage, the gorgeous yet notorious Salvia Divinorum.  I have found it growing wild in Colorado and Arizona and have picked big bouquets of long stemmed Sacred White Sage in Wyoming where it grows abundantly along the Snake River, taking it home and turning it into smudge sticks.  The Native Americans have always considered sage one of the sacred herbs and  burned smudge sticks such as these to banish any feelings of negativity or the lingering feelings of fear  and sorrow left in a space once a being has passed on or suffered through a long sickness or trauma. They also used the wet leaves in their sweat lodges to produce copious amounts of smoke that would help open the nasal passages and the lungs.  

Sage is an ancient herb, beloved for centuries in Europe and on this continent for its medicinal and antibacterial qualities and of course for the musky, earthy flavor that blends so beautifully with so many things.  Indeed the associations that we have with the aroma of sage are of hearth and home, the scent of a turkey roasting with a sage, sausage, apple and chestnut dressing takes me back into my mothers kitchen faster than almost any other thing else that I can cook. I'll post that recipe when Autumn comes!


Sage Derby, that remarkable English cheese has it’s origins in the 17th century when sage leaves were added to fresh derby curds to produce a delicious cheese enjoyed at Lughnasadh and Yule feasts that was almost minty in flavor and wonderful for the digestion.  These days, fresh sage is still added at the beginning of the process and chlorophyll too, so that the cheese has a beautiful marbling of green throughout.  Sage Derby is my favorite cheese to melt over sprouted grain bread for a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich and one of the most beautiful cheeses to use on a cheese board. Make sure that you have a wonderful ale to go with that and some fresh apples too! 

I’ve also made my own farmers cheese flavored with sage using  a gallon of organic milk (cream top!), a pinch of salt and the juice of a lemon. It's a very simple recipe, just bring the milk to   a boil, stir for a minute and add the salt . Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and the curds will begin to form. Take a lot of cheese cloth and line a strainer with it, (I've found that a pasta pot with a strainer works very well for this) and pour in the milk and curds. Let it drain for a bit, scoop out the cheese and put it into a bowl. Add some salt, pepper and chopped fresh sage.  refrigerate and serve with whole grain crackers for a light treat thats delicious and has the added bonus of being a digestif as well!

I love to drink sage tea when I've got a touch of the flu as it relaxes me and cools me down if I'm feverish. Just steep a handful of fresh sage (or a tablespoon or two of dried) in a  cup of hot water, add a bit of raw honey and enjoy. This same tonic makes an exceptional gargle for a sore throat and really soothes the parched dry tissues of aching tonsils. Sage powder (ground in a coffee grinder) and mixed into a paste with baking soda and a bit of peppermint essential oil is one of the best remedies that I know of to help sooth inflamed gums naturally. Women who experience a heavier flow during their monthly periods can  drink sage tea to help bring a bit of balance to their cycle and lighten up the bleeding. An important note for women who are breastfeeding - avoid sage as it will dry up your milk production very quicklyI  I love to take fresh sage and pieces of Crystallized ginger and simmered them in  sugar and water until they boil down into a delightful syrup that makes a very relaxing and restorative stomach tonic when stirred into a glass of white wine.  Try infusing the same syrup into a pitcher of iced green tea! You'll love it!

So this spring whether you've a garden or a patio, be sure to plant a few different types of sage to enjoy! Don't forget the beautifully fragrant clary sage and in my book you can never have too much pineapple sage! That's the one that the hummingbirds really adore and you'll spend many a summer afternoon watching them dart from bud to bud while sipping a cool glass of that 

delicious iced tea! 

When you're done listening to the Mediaevil Babes, float over to Roxana Villas gorgeously Illuminated journal for her sure to be wonderful musings about Fragrance: Sage 


Sage Derby Photo courtesy of

The Captive Unicorn Tapestry courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

Sage Bundle Photo courtesy of


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