Monday, September 28, 2009

‘holy Herb’ Sage - Cyprus

herb sage By Erkan Kilim

Northern Cyprus on the other hand possesses 90% of these natural and cultural entities. You can not help falling in love with this little island after realizing its beauties that nature presents. Among these is an important planst.Sage, ‘Salvia’ in Latin. This name comes from the Latin word ‘Salvare’ which menas ‘to heal’.

Sage plants that originate from Mediterranean have a history nearly as old as human history. The utility of Sage plant by humans extends from the periods before Christ. It is a fact that due to its many benefits that it present to humans, sage plant is known as ‘Holy Herb’ in Roman times. The leaves, flowers and stems of sage plant that grow naturally in altitudes of 1500 m above sea level have a pleasant odor. As tea, in salads and foods, as deodorizer, sage plant is known as ‘Adaçay?’ ‘Garafan’ or ‘Hahomilya’ among Turks of Cyprus and as ‘Alisfakia’ or ‘Hahomilia’ among Greeks of Cyprus. The volatile oil extracted from sages of Cyprus and known as ’01.Salviave’, compose of camphora, tannin and other substances having flavors.

Sage oil which has an important part in perfume and cosmetic industry, food industry and candy and cake production, is also considered to be important by phytotherapists due to its healing properties. The people of Cyprus benefit from sage in many fields. Its fresh or air dried leaves and flowers, ‘as Herbal Tea; odorization of bathing water; appetizer in salads and foods; deodorizer in rural areas and in pest control; antimicrobial in the rooms of bed ridden patients and providing a continuous clean and pleasant smell; in barbecue, addition to foods, soups and sauces are among these. Sage is also an important plant in medicine. Especially the sage plant collecting all of the healing properties of thyme, urum flower, linden, mint, rosemary among itself is known to be used by Hippocrates himself in ancient times.

In the years after the Christ, Dioscorides and Galenos benefited from sage in the field of medicine. Therefore sage has the feature of being the most popular plant of Phytotherapists from ancient times to present. Sage known as ‘Holy Herb’ by Romans and ‘Life Saver’ in Latin has been a remedy which has been used by combining with every medicine in ancient times. A Roman poet and Doctors of Salerno Medical School in the XVI century, who believed that no other garden plant was resistant to death than sage, could not help saying ‘One who grows sage in his garden, can he die?’ to emphasize the importance that they bestow on sage. The well known French Phytoterapist explains the healing properties of vigorous sage in his book named ‘Medicinal Plants of Life’as: ‘The sage which is essentially stimulant and its leaves and flowers are benefited from; Effects blood circulation; assists the functioning of nervous system; helps nervous breakdown sufferers; the ones who suffer from anemia; recently improved patients; nervous people; neuroastenic and anxious people.

In women: strengthens their weak genitals; heals vagina; regulates periods; helps young girls in the balancing of their hormones and relieves menopausal disorders.

In men: fights with disorders related to andropausae efficiently.Sage is alsop known to be effective against diabetes. When boiled, normalizes high sugar level in blood. It is a plant of beauty: Retains the health of the skin efficiently; slows down hair loss and cleans the scalp, purifies from microorganism and provides the growing of hair; when it is added to bath water and one takes a bath with that water, it relieves fatigue, has aphrodisiac properties, bathing should be done in the mornings; however, passionate people are strongly advised to avoid these baths’.

How many salvia species are present? D.E. Viney in 1994 explained the species os sage plant in his book named ‘An II-lustrated Flora of North Cyprus’ as: Salvia lanigera; S. viridis; S. veneris; S. verbenaco; S. hierosolymitana.

Among these species, S. viridis, S. fruticosa and S. verbenaco species have a large distribution. However, S. lonigera, S. veneris and S. Hierosolymitana species are rare, in fact very rare. S. veneris grows only in Northern Cyprus throughout the world. In other words, it is an endemic species. During the World War Two, the Administration of English Colony decided to export sage leaves that were used especially in drug and costemic industry to create a means of living to ease the severe economical crisis created by poverty and unemployment. As a consequence, during 1943-1947, 11,001 weigh-bridge sage leaves had been exported and 19,453 Cyprus Pound was earned.Cyprus Hotels The holy herb sage was used as cigarette in Cyprus during the years of 1930 when the periods of poverty were very severe. The witnesses of those periods whom I interviewed with, reported their observations as: ‘the economical crisis after the World War also affected Cyprus as the rest of the world.

At that times cigarette smoking was considered to be a luxury. It was the first years of 1930. ‘A man was sick with smoking. There was a rumor that he recovered when he quitted smoking and started sage smoking. ‘After that addicts who could not find cigarettes atarted preparing and smoking cigarettes of sage. When this becomes widespread, lots of people from many villages started collecting sage from the mountains and selling them in towns. I used to stay in Tahtakale, Le?fko?a at those times. I still remember that villagers were selling sage in bunches and earned some money’.

Holy Herb Sage

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