The meaning of sageâ€™s botanical (Latin) name, salvia, is to help or to save.
In Arabic, sage has the refined name â€śmariamiya,â€ť derived from the name Miriam (Mary), the mother of Jesus.
According to Arab tradition, Mary and Jesus fled from Bethlehem, where he was born, because they feared the anger of King Herodâ€™s soldiers.
It was during the summer. The mother and her child, tired and sweaty, searched for a little shade and a place where they could rest. In their flight, they encountered a three-lobed sage bush, with silvery leaves and a wonderful scent. Mary put her child down in the shade of the bush, picked the leaves, and used them to wipe her burning face.
The sweet intoxicating smell of the sage plant revived her and the tiny infant, and Mary blessed the bush. On that day, the sage plant received the name â€śblessed mariamiya.â€ť
Sage also has a place in Jewish tradition.
Land of Israel nature researchers have linked the Hebrew name of the plant, Marva, with Mt. Moriah. Some claim that the form of the seven-branch menorah originally symbolized the shape of the sage plant that grows in the Land of Israel.
The Properties of sage
Apart from the stories told about sage, there is no dispute concerning its unique properties. In Mediterranean countries, the Far East, and other continents, sage has been used as a spice and a healing herb for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used sage to guarantee fertility. In ancient Greece, Dioscorides reported that when boiled in water, the liquid extract from the sage plant stopped bleeding from cuts and wounds, and prevented hoarseness and coughing.
During the Roman era, Pliny reported that the sage plant improved memory.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates was quoted as asking, â€śHow can a person die if sage is growing in his garden?"
Clary Sage, a Holy Sage
Some years ago, a new strain, one of the worldâ€™s 2,400 different strains of the sage plant, was discoveredâ€”clary sage (Latin, salvia sclarea). A team of Israeli scientists from the Israeli ARO (Agriculture Research Organization) spent 7 years investigating the newly discovered special strain, and detected the presence of Omega 3 fatty acids.