White Sage (Salvia apiana) is definitely the most valued and admired sage in North America. It is considered sacred, bordering magical to indigenous peoples throughout the continent. The traditional burning or smudging of the dried leaves is said to cleanse and purify the spirit, and bring harmony and peace to those blanketed in the aromatic smoke. One is impelled to have clarity of thought and intention when lighting a bundle of White Sage for the purpose of purification. The aroma of the sticky, resinous leaves, as well as the smoke from the burning leaves is unmistakable and powerful.
Medicinally, White Sage is valued for its antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic qualities. Herbalist Michael Moore writes, "[White Sage]...is effective against staph, candida, and Klebsiella pneumonia, three bugs that cover a wide range of conditions." The leaves are best tinctured, as the majority of White Sage's active constituents are not water-soluble. A decoction of the leaves, however, is still quite effective at soothing a sore throat when drunken or gargled. A steam inhalation can help clear a chest cold.
White Sage is a proud plant in the garden as well, growing up to 8 feet tall. The silvery-blue foliage seems to glow, particularly under a full moon. The flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators. Hold off on harvesting any leaves until the plant is very well established; White Sage can be sensitive to over-harvesting.
120 days. Perennial.
Grown at Mano Farm in Ojai, California.