Notes for sage document


Me writing on sage
The plant is a most noble one, a sort of shrubbe. When it is young, it is graye-green, and hath small leaves of an Oval shape, with smooth edges but much toothed on the surface, as a cow's tongue. The leaves grow larger, to about the length of a man's smallest finger. If the plant abideth a year or more, the main Trunks become hard and gray, and are like wood. In the colder parts, it dropeth its leaves in winter-tide; but in these more seasonable climes, the branches oft bear some leaves green all winter. When the leafs are picked and dried hanging or on a screen, they are gray. Some like to grind them thus into powder, but it liketh me not. Let the sprigs be dried hanging and in a drie ayre, and then close them up in a bagge or box, and use them as occasion call.

Though the poor place sage and suchlike herbs in the worst ground in the garden, the wise gardiners of old and nowadays say that a well drest soil doeth best for Sage. I have known it to grow in shade, and in red-clay soil; but it liketh best a loose sweet soil, not often dunged, and a great Quantitie of Sunne. In the Italies it growth in the full strength of the sun, which at noonday will scorch the skin. Though it can be brought from seed, it is a paltry business, and 'tis better to set slippes of the branches, which boweth out to the ground as the limbs of an aged man. Husbandmen say Sage plants are best planted close, and together they will choke away the weeds; but thou must clean out dead leaves and rubbish from under the branches, lest noxious Toades and other Reptiles nest there. I have heard it said, and seen it is so, that you must set new slips from time to time, and cut the Branches back close on one side, for if the plant grow too Woodey they said it will strangle itself and lose vigor, as those long in appointment may grow careless in office.


Gervase Markham, The English Husbandman on sage:

"Sage is in gardens most common, because it is most wholesome, and though it may be better set from the slip then sowen in the seede, yet both will prosper, it loveth any well drest ground, and may be sowen either in February , March, September, or October: it loveth also to grow thicke and close together, and will of it selfe overcome most weedes: it asketh not much dung, neithe too great care in watring, onely it would be oft searched, for Toades and other venemous thnings will delight to lye under it, the more Sunne and ayre it hath, the better it is. (p. 26-- 2nd book, chapter V).

Also, in Chapter 1 of the same, he says " In the month of May . . .Sage with sweet Butter is a most excellent breakefast..."

Obviously, if I'm writing a period treatise, I can't mention him by name in the treatise, since his books are postperiod. However, I can make reference to 'what people say'.

 


 

Disoscorides on Sage
Dioscordies Pedanius of Anazarbos was the most famous and most revered classical botanist in the middle ages. John Goodyer translated his Herbal into English in 1655, but it was used in Latin and Greek long before then.
On sage, the Herbal says:
"Elelisphakon. [Salvia officinalis]
Sage, which some call Elaphoboscon, some Sphagnon, some Ciosmin, some Phagnon, some Becion, ye Egyptians Apusi, the Romans, Cosalon, others Salvia, is a shrub somewhat long, much branched, having stalks 4-square, & somewhat white, but leaves like to Malicottoon, but yet longer & sharper & thicker, hidden by hairs, like as of outworn garments, whitish, exceeding odoriferous, poisonous, but it hath ye seed on ye top of the stalks, as of wild Horminum. But it grows in rough places. But ye decoction of the leaves, & of ye branches hath the power being drank, to move ye urine & ye menstrua, & to draw out ye Embrya, & to help ye strokes of ye Pastinaca marina. It dyes ye hair black also, & it is a wound-herb, & a blood stancher, & a cleanser of ye wild ulcers. But ye decoction of ye leaves, and of the branches of them with wine being fomented on, assuageth ye itchings about ye privities. [Elelisphacon dissolves chilliness, ye cough and it is good being taken with Rosaceum, and Cerat for all ye bad ulcers, & being drank with white wine it cures ye paine of ye spleen, and ye Dysenterie. In like sort being given to drink, it cures blood-spitters & is available for all cleansings of a woman, but most wicked women making a Pessun of it, do apply it, & cast out ye Embrya]" (p. 274)

Now, Dioscorides calls it poisonous, but the description does sound like sage. He also says it is used as a pessary (vag. suppository) to induce abortion; I've never heard of Sage being a reliable abortifacent when applied. He says it's a diuretic but helps with dysentery, 'itchings about the privities' and a blood stauncher and cleanser. He also mentions the traditional use of sage as a rinse for dark hair.


more sage recipes
from a 15th c. manuscript, middle dutch manuscript, ms UB Gent 1035 "Good and noble food"
(formerly "Kitchen book"). Translation by Christianne Muusers http://www.coquinaria.nl/kooktekst/Edel ikespijse1.htm

2.15 Greens.
Boil them and cut them. Then bray pepper, sage, parsley and some bread crumbs, tempered with the [boiling]water of the greens. Mix it in a pan and [add] a cup of wine.


Middle Dutch Sage sauce recipes
From a translation of a Middle Dutch manuscript, Manuscript KANTL Gent 15, no title:
translation by Christianne Muusers at http://www.coquinaria.nl/kooktekst/Intr oduction.htm
Sage sauce recipes:

1.47. To make a sauce with sage.
Strain the brayed juice of the sage with some white bread. Add a little sugar, some ginger, a little vinegar and wine. Then pour the sauce on brawn.

1.48. To make a sauce with potherbs.
Bray toasted white bread, sage, parsley, mint and pepper. Strain this together through [a sieve] with vinegar.

1.29. Another fine garlic sauce.
Sage, salt, pepper, garlic and wine, parsley.

1.57. Sauce for geese.
Take dried white bread, salt, sage, garlic, pepper, parsley. Bray them [and strain them] through [a sieve] with wine.


Platina on Sage
Ok, so what does that learned man, Platina, formerly librarian of the Vatican, say about sage in his _On Right Pleasure and Good Health_?
He says "We use warm and dry sage in many condiments, and it is no wonder, since the herb is healthful, for it is even effective against paralysis, is helpful when smeared on the teeth, and settles the poisonous bites of snakes."
Now, this is curious because I can't find a recipe for a condiment involving sage in his book. Perhaps there are some in Martino; sage in green sauces is pretty common.
Platina suggests sage in a pie recipe (eggs and herbs and cheese). He also gives a recipe for sage fritters, and suggests sage for one of the flavorings in scrambled eggs (along with chard, parsley, borage juice, mint, and marjoram), and to season intestines (with mint) or fish intestines (with mint and parsley). He suggests that roast pig, while cooking, should be sprinkled with "vinegar, pepper, saffron, mixed together with springs of sage or rosemary or bay.

That reference to smearing it on the teeth links it to the recipe in Gervase Markham's _The English Housewife_"
"For teeth that are yellow: Take sage and salt, of each alike, and stamp them well together, then bake till it be hard, and make a fine powder thereof, then therewith rub the teeth evening and morning and it will take away all yellowness."

My Redaction: Mixture #2
60 fresh (small) sage leaves
2 tablespoons sea salt
I beat the sage leaves into the salt in groups of 10-20 leaves, adding sufficient leaves to form a rather dry paste. More sage and less salt would have formed a thicker paste; I may try that next time. When spread on a baking sheet baked for 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven, it did form a hard crust. I left it in the oven overnight to dry, crumbled it up, and stored it in a container.
From the results, I suspect that equal weights of salt and sage are meant, and that the fresh sage is indicated.
This is easy to make in a food processor.


Things about sage
Ok, in no particular order, there are a number of things I'll need to note in my treatise on sage.
One is that it's name comes from the Latin, to save.
Sage was eaten in the month of May as a tonic.
It's an astringent, as was often used for 'women's complaints.'
Proverb: "Why should a man die if sage groweth in his garden?"


Back to Sage document
Ok, so I'm supposed to be planning a period treatise on Sage (Salvia Officinalis).
I'm digging around in Hildegarde of Bingen's Physica (throop trans. p. 36-37).

Here's my thoughts.

Sage is both hot and dry, as all may see by bruising a leaf and placing it upon the tongue. Therefor do cooks and physicians use it in recipes to allay cold and wet ingredients and conditions. The learned abbess Hildegarde was moved by visions to write of it, that it is good to eat agains noxious humours. Those who are ill with a superfluity of harmful humors should pulverize sage and eat it with bread. Wine in which sage has been cooked the abbess suggests for those with too much phlegm, and for aches and pains in the bones that cause palsy, which she calls 'virgichtiget', water in which sage has been boiled will decrease the pain and the palsy.

"Someone who disdains eating should take sage, and a little less chervil, and a bit of garlic, and pound these together with vinegar, and so make a condiment, He should dip foods which he wishes to eat in it, and he will have an appetite for eating."

Compare this to the spicy green sauce from Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi omnia cibaria 394, translated in Redon et al.
"Here is how to make green sauce: take ginger, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, parsley, and sage. First grind the spices, then the herbs, and add a third of the sage and parsley, and, if you wish, three or two cloves of garlic. Moisten with vinegar or verjuice. Note that to every sauce and condiment salt is added, and crumb of bread to thicken it."

and
Forme of Cury, 1390
"Take persel, mynt, garlek, a litul serpell and sauge; a litul canel, gynger, piper, wyne, brede, vyneger; do thereto powdour of gynger and pepper, & the grece of the maulard. Salt it; boile it wel and serue it forth."

These are all recipes for green sauces but they add hot dry spices (pepper, cloves, ginger) etc. to combat the phlegmy (cold and wet) issues. WIthout more information about the green sauce it's hard to tell but the dryer hotter ingredients appear to be for an autumn or spring green sauce.


Sidetracked by bread -- sage
Ok, today was wasted-- spent too much time working on bread question, nothing to do with my darn research.

So, let's get back to my research. I've been trying to work on Sage for a laurel prize project.

For instance, Le menagier de paris suggests sage-water for handwashing at table.

Of current times, the common or garden sage is known by our botanists as "salvia officinalis," salvia being to save and officinalis meaning, so they tell me, 'from the apothecary' for that is the sage one uses in possets and medicaments.

Thomas Hyll in the _Gardener's Labyrinth, saith: "Sage may be sowed of seeds, but the best way is to set the slips in spring." (p. 96.) "Sage is best to be set in Slips in April or May, if you would have it last long, suffer it not to seed, but if you please you may sow the seeds in the spring." (p. 88) He also suggests that sage have a bed to itself in the garden (p. 54). Further, "In another bed you may sow fine seeds, to have pleasant herbs that may be kept dry for the pot or Kitchin in the Winter time, and those which yield delectable flowers, to beautifie and refresh the house, as the Marioram, French balme, Time, Hisop, Basil, Savery, Sage, Marigold, Buglas, Borage, and sundry others." (p. 51)


Side note: sage is good in a chewy sourdough bread, or sage butter on such bread.


OED on Sage:

[ME. sauge , a. F. sauge (13th c. in Littré): {em}L . salvia (whence late OE. saluie , ME. SAVE n. ). Cf. Pr., Sp., It. salvia , Pg. salva ; also MLG. salvie , selve , Du. salie , OHG. salbeia , salveia fem. (mod.G. salbei masc.). For the phonology in Eng. cf. CHAFE v. , GAUGE , SAFE , SAVE .] 

1. A plant of the genus Salvia , N.O. Labiatæ ; esp. S. officinalis , an aromatic culinary herb. Hence, the leaves of this plant used in Cookery.
Sage, much esteemed formerly as a medicinal herb, is not now included in the British Pharmacop {oe}ia , but in domestic medicine is still used in the preparation of sage-tea (see 6b).

a 1310 in Wright Lyric P. (Percy Soc.) 26 He is blosme opon bleo brihtest under bis, With celydoyne ant sauge, as thou thi self sys. 1390 G OWER Conf. III. 131 Salge is his herbe appourtenant Aboven al the remenant. c 1420 Liber Cocorum (1862) 11 Do {th}er to sage and persely {ygh}oyng . 1533 E LYOT Cast. Helthe II . xvi. (1541) 29 Sauge. It healeth, and sommewhat byndeth. 1578 L YTE Dodoens II . lxxvii. 250 There be two sortes of Sage, the one is small and franke, and the other is great. The great Sage is of three sortes, that is to say, greene, white, and redde. 1584 C OGAN Haven Health xi. 33 Sage is vsed commonly in sawces, as to stuffe veale, porke, rosting pigges, and that for good cause. 1590 S PENSER Muiopotmos 187 The wholesome saulge, and lavender still gray. 1610 F LETCHER Faithf. Sheph. II . ii, These for frenzy be A speedy and a soueraigne remedie. The bitter Wormewood, Sage and Marigold.

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1584 C OGAN Haven Health xi. 33 Much after the same manner [as the making of sage wine] is made *Sage ale. 1597 G ERARDE Herbal II . cclii. 624 Sage ale, being brewed as it shoulde be, with Sage, Scabious, Betonie, Spikenard, Squinanth, and Fennell seedes.

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1579 L ANGHAM Gard. Health (1633) 575 Vse it as *Sage wine to consume flegme.

 

Note: OED gives this for Sage as an adj. meaning wisdom:

[a. F. sage adj. and n. (11th c. in Hatz.-Darm.; OF. had also saige , savie ): {em}Com . Rom. sabio (Pr. satge-s , sabi-s , Sp., Pg. sabio , It. saggio , savio ): {em}popular L. *sapius (cf. L. nesapius ignorant) f. sap- {ebreve}re to be wise (pr. pple. sapiens wise).] 

A. adj. Now only literary .

1. Of a person: Wise, discreet, judicious. In ME. often the sage (following a proper name). In modern use in narrowed applications: Practically wise, rendered prudent or judicious by experience.

1297 R. G LOUC . (Rolls) 4069 Nou it wor {th} iended {th}at Sibile {th}e sage sede biuore. 13.. E.E. Allit. P. B. 1576 As {th}e sage sathrapas {th}at sorsory cou {th}e . 1362 L ANGL . P. Pl. A. XI . 257 For salamon {th}e sage {th}at sapience made. 1390 G OWER Conf. II. 383 This..Is that Sibille of whom ye wite, That alle men yit clepen sage. c 1460 A SHBY Dicta Philos. 1222 To speke litil, is knowen a man sage. 1490 C AXTON Eneydos liii. 148 Retourne agayn towarde eneas and make peas wyth hym yf ye be sage.


Mrs. Grieves' Herbal on sage:

http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sages-05.html

Among the Ancients and throughout the Middle Ages it was in high repute: Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto? ('Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?') has a corresponding English proverb: 'He that would live for aye, Must eat Sage in May.' The herb is sometimes spoken of as S. salvatrix ('Sage the Saviour'). An old tradition recommends that Rue shall be planted among the Sage, so as to keep away noxious toads from the valued and cherished plants. It was held that this plant would thrive or wither, just as the owner's business prospered or failed, and in Bucks, another tradition maintained that the wife rules when Sage grows vigorously in the garden.

In the Jura district of France, in Franche-Comte, the herb is supposed to mitigate grief, mental and bodily, and Pepys in his Diary says: 'Between Gosport and Southampton we observed a little churchyard where it was customary to sow all the graves with Sage.'

The following is a translation of an old French saying: 'Sage helps the nerves and by its powerful might Palsy is cured and fever put to flight,' and Gerard says: 'Sage is singularly good for the head and brain, it quickeneth the senses and memory, strengtheneth the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy, and taketh away shakey trembling of the members.' He shared the popular belief that it was efficacious against the bitings of serpents, and says: 'No man need to doubt of the wholesomeness of Sage Ale , being brewed as it should be with Sage, Betony, Scabious, Spikenard, Squinnette (Squinancywort) and Fennell Seed.'

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Among many uses of the herb, Culpepper says that it is: 'Good for diseases of the liver and to make blood. A decoction of the leaves and branches of Sage made and drunk, saith Dioscorides, provokes urine and causeth the hair to become black. It stayeth the bleeding of wounds and cleaneth ulcers and sores. Three spoonsful of the juice of Sage taken fasting with a little honey arrests spitting or vomiting of blood in consumption. It is profitable for all pains in the head coming of cold rheumatic humours, as also for all pains in the joints, whether inwardly or outwardly. The juice of Sage in warm water cureth hoarseness and cough. Pliny saith it cureth stinging and biting serpents. Sage is of excellent use to help the memory, warming and quickening the senses. The juice of Sage drunk with vinegar hath been of use in the time of the plague at all times. Gargles are made with Sage, Rosemary, Honeysuckles and Plantains, boiled in wine or water with some honey or alum put thereto, to wash sore mouths and throats, as need requireth. It is very good for stitch or pains in the sides coming of wind, if the place be fomented warm with the decoction in wine and the herb also, after boiling, be laid warm thereto.'

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Chiquart's end of manuscript:

1. It is fitting for all good men of great sense to render great thanks to those from whom they receive good, otherwise they are ingrates.

2. Therefore to the High Trinity full of all great goodness -- that is God the Father and the Son and the blessed Holy Spirit --

3. I, Chiquart, give praise and thanks for the good I receive from Him and for the uncommon grace which He has given me to accomplish this.

4. It remains to give praise and honor to the very high and puissant lord at whose urging and command I have most humbly done this.

5. And to my most respected lady and to their children, our lords, and to all their predecessors whom God makes to live without end.

6. May the Paraclete have in his love all their noble counselors and may their counsel be profitable to all people.

7. The Master is above all masters and is over all their servants who serve so that it may be that each of them has honor from it.

8. By the grace of the Creator may they have the love of their country, and may the good people of the country have love without hate.

9. So that I may not be caught again in ingratitude towards my clerk I would like to give him praise for the work he has done with me,

10. and may God and our most dread and valiant lord because of his goodness and great worth reward him for his labor.

11. And if there should be any matter in which what I say is at fault, may they pardon and excuse me since I have neither great knowledge nor understanding.

12. To us be Paradise given and by the Virgin obtained: "Amen," I pray you all say with raised voices.

Amen


My adaptations

1. It is fitting for all scholars to render great thanks to those from whom they receive good, otherwise they are ingrates.

2. Therefore to the High Trinity full of all great goodness -- that is God the Father and the Son and the blessed Holy Spirit --

3. I, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, give praise and thanks for the good I receive from Him and for the uncommon grace which He has given me to accomplish this.

4. It remains to give praise and honor to the very high and puissant lord at whose urging and command I have most humbly done this.

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5. And to my most respected lady and to their children, our lords, and to all their predecessors whom God makes to live without end.

6. May the Paraclete have in his love all their noble counselors and may their counsel be profitable to all people.

7. The Master is above all masters and is over all their servants who serve so that it may be that each of them has honor from it.

8. By the grace of the Creator may they have the love of their country, and may the good people of the country have love without hate.

9. So that I may not be caught again in ingratitude towards my clerk I would like to give him praise for the work he has done with me,

10. and may God and our most dread and valiant lord because of his goodness and great worth reward him for his labor.

11. And if there should be any matter in which what I say is at fault, may they pardon and excuse me since I have neither great knowledge nor understanding.

12. To us be Paradise given and by the Virgin obtained: "Amen," I pray you all say with raised voices.

Amen