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Sage and Disocorides

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  • zajaczkowa
    Ok, I ve been doing some research on period writings on sage for a period treatise I m going to write. (you can see more of my notes on my livejournal:
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 4, 2005
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      Ok, I've been doing some research on period writings on sage for a
      'period treatise' I'm going to write. (you can see more of my notes on
      my livejournal: http://www.livejournal.com/users/bunnyjadwiga ) And I
      found this part very interesting. Anyone else have some responses and
      comments on this? Is modern sage really an effective abortifacent? I
      knew it was considered not healthy for at-risk pregnancies, but not
      something that drs warned against much...

      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.
    • Alamanda de Claret
      I have never heard of anyone told not to eat sage during pregnancy, but I ve never been pregnant and I ve never asked either. Since salvia is a complete
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 4, 2005
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        I have never heard of anyone told not to eat sage during pregnancy, but I've
        never been pregnant and I've never asked either. Since "salvia" is a
        complete genus of plants with only a few being fit for human consumption it
        would not surprise me that one of its branches would have this side effect.

        I did find it interesting how many different sites came up by searching the
        individual "names". For instance:

        Elelisphakon - Sage
        http://www.willowpondherbs.com/shed/salvianew/

        elaphoboscum - Sage-leaved Germander
        http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/gersag10.html

        And if anyone reads latin (which I don't much to my dismay) ELELISPHACON
        http://www.forumromanum.org/literature/serenus.html

        Bear with me while I think aloud but I want to share some musings:
        Some thorough reading shows certain sages are used to "quicken the blood"
        while being used for dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) as an
        anti-spasmodic being taken as infusion/tea. But its volatile oils staunch
        wounds when physically applied. Would this in fact assist in starting a
        medieval woman' cycle? If we are talking general health-nutrition perhaps
        most women did not have a regular 28 day cycle and so thought that they were
        pregnant and found that taking sage brought their cycle on more often then
        naught. To my mind that would be proof of its power. But this is
        speculation as we don't know if he is actually describing sage. I do hope
        that someone has the answer, because now I'm curious.

        Lady Alamanda de Claret


        >From: "zajaczkowa" <jahb@...>
        >Reply-To: SCA-Herbalist@yahoogroups.com
        >To: SCA-Herbalist@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: [SCA-Herbalist] Sage and Disocorides
        >Date: Tue, 04 Jan 2005 19:52:33 -0000
        >
        >
        >Ok, I've been doing some research on period writings on sage for a
        >'period treatise' I'm going to write. (you can see more of my notes on
        >my livejournal: http://www.livejournal.com/users/bunnyjadwiga ) And I
        >found this part very interesting. Anyone else have some responses and
        >comments on this? Is modern sage really an effective abortifacent? I
        >knew it was considered not healthy for at-risk pregnancies, but not
        >something that drs warned against much...
        >
        >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.
        >
        >
        >
      • Corwyn Ravenwing & Carowyn Silveroak
        Greetings! We d probably have to make a trip over to Greece & Italy to see which sage was being talked about. My guess is that it s a different species - we
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 4, 2005
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          Greetings!

          We'd probably have to make a trip over to Greece & Italy to see which
          sage was being talked about. My guess is that it's a different species -
          we have white sage here in PA, which I would never use for a dark hair
          rinse, but it makes an interesting tea, and is one of the traditional
          herbs in kinnick-kinnick (herbal cigarette mix).

          I just came across this while researching "bloodstone" - it turns out it
          could be one of a number of rocks, including modern bloodstone
          (heliotrope), hematite, red jasper, and a few others. Drove me nuts.
          Short trip.

          Maybe there was a particularly noxious species, or a strain that grew in
          an area that had some toxicity in the soil that the plant picked up?

          Or, is he doing the sometimes-traditional method of "if it's good for one
          thing, it's good for all related things"? If he saw it clean out a
          bleeding ulcer, it must be good for all sorts of blood-related things???
          It's a theory, kick it about...

          Another possibility is...well...hype. I came across a reference while
          researching the above bloodstone to a series of books given by a
          self-proclaimed magician to a local king, and Pliny the Elder went on a
          rip-tear hissy fit about how half the stuff was made up and the other
          half outright lies, where the magician was ascribing wrong attributes to
          stones just to sell his book! I laughed - I keep a collection of
          badly-written New Age gem / rock books for the same reason. I have no
          arguments with neo-Paganism as a religion, but some of the books are
          obviously written to only make a buck off what the author perceives to be
          gullible people. Makes me mad, really, people trying to research a
          subject and these schemers are muddying the water (to mix metaphors).
          There are good books out there (Scott Cunningham), but there are bad
          books, and definitely caveat emptor!!! (Word to the wise: no matter what
          the book says, never NEVER wave fluorite through candle flame!!!)

          -Carowyn
        • Jo Anne
          To chime in on this with OP data: Sage tea was widely drunk by the early colonists -- being cheaper, and whatnot. At one time I did a fair amount of reading on
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 4, 2005
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            To chime in on this with OP data:

            Sage tea was widely drunk by the early colonists -- being cheaper, and
            whatnot. At one time I did a fair amount of reading on early American
            medicine and herbs, and saw not ONE mention of this as a use or warning.
            Gotta be a different plant with the same name, if true at all.

            Johanna

            At 02:52 PM 1/4/05, you wrote:


            >Ok, I've been doing some research on period writings on sage for a
            >'period treatise' I'm going to write.
          • Umm Yasmine
            There are many warnings about sage being unsafe for pregnancy...drunken as a cold tea can cause serious side effects and I believe (let me check though) that
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 4, 2005
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              There are many warnings about sage being unsafe for pregnancy...drunken as a cold tea can cause serious side effects and I believe (let me check though) that it can trigger labor. While you may be planning to drink it how, there is no knowledge at what temperature it becomes too dangerous to drink.

              Sage is an anti-parasitic and for all means and purposes, a fetur is almost like a parasite to the body (as in a foreign matter). Other thinkgs to avoid are fenugreek, cinamon in large amounts, cohosh, raspberry leaves in the first two trimesters, etc.

              Laura


              At 07:59 AM 1/5/2005, you wrote:
              To chime in on this with OP data:

              Sage tea was widely drunk by the early colonists -- being cheaper, and
              whatnot. At one time I did a fair amount of reading on early American
              medicine and herbs, and saw not ONE mention of this as a use or warning.
              Gotta be a different plant with the same name, if true at all.

              Johanna

              At 02:52 PM 1/4/05, you wrote:


              >Ok, I've been doing some research on period writings on sage for a
              >'period treatise' I'm going to write.



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            • otsisto
              White sage is an Artemisia. European sage is Salvia officinalis. White sage has an aroma when burned. European sage stinks or as one person told me it smells
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 5, 2005
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                White sage is an Artemisia. European sage is Salvia officinalis. White sage
                has an aroma when burned. European sage stinks or as one person told me "it
                smells kind of like marijuana", in other word, it stinks. :)
                European sage is of the mint family. Some other names that it goes by are
                Common sage, meadow sage, True sage, scarlet sage, garden sage.
                In "Magic and Medicine of plants Reader's Digest, it says:
                "Why should a person die, when sage grows in his garden?" This is not really
                a question but a saying that originated in the Middle Ages at the famous
                medical school of Salerno, Italy.
                Salvia (Latin)"healthy"
                M&M goes on to say that a boiled down brew was used to slow down heavy
                menstrual flow and a similar brew mixed with wine increased the flow.
                (Greco-Roman medicine)
                In most herbal and medicinal books they will state a warning that herbs
                should not be taken if you are pregnant, the sad thing is that some do it
                just to be safe and not because the herb is dangerous which causes some
                people to ignore the warning when it does endanger mother and/or child.
                Salvia has been used to slow lactation. And being of the mint family it is
                a carminative (eases gas).
                I can not remember where I read it so take it with a grain of salt (maybe a
                cup) It has been known that if you are late with your period that taking
                sage will help bring on the period. If this is true then I could see
                concerns for possible miscarrage but I would say that you probably would
                have to ingest a lot of sage for that to happen. It is like Lunds book warns
                that saffron is poisonous if you ingest it and lists a large amount that no
                one I know uses that amount for just one dish, unless you are cooking a
                feast for 200 or more.

                Okay enough rambling,
                Lyse




                -----Original Message-----
                Greetings!

                We'd probably have to make a trip over to Greece & Italy to see which
                sage was being talked about. My guess is that it's a different species -
                we have white sage here in PA, which I would never use for a dark hair
                rinse, but it makes an interesting tea, and is one of the traditional
                herbs in kinnick-kinnick (herbal cigarette mix).

                I just came across this while researching "bloodstone" - it turns out it
                could be one of a number of rocks, including modern bloodstone
                (heliotrope), hematite, red jasper, and a few others. Drove me nuts.
                Short trip.

                Maybe there was a particularly noxious species, or a strain that grew in
                an area that had some toxicity in the soil that the plant picked up?

                Or, is he doing the sometimes-traditional method of "if it's good for one
                thing, it's good for all related things"? If he saw it clean out a
                bleeding ulcer, it must be good for all sorts of blood-related things???
                It's a theory, kick it about...

                Another possibility is...well...hype. I came across a reference while
                researching the above bloodstone to a series of books given by a
                self-proclaimed magician to a local king, and Pliny the Elder went on a
                rip-tear hissy fit about how half the stuff was made up and the other
                half outright lies, where the magician was ascribing wrong attributes to
                stones just to sell his book! I laughed - I keep a collection of
                badly-written New Age gem / rock books for the same reason. I have no
                arguments with neo-Paganism as a religion, but some of the books are
                obviously written to only make a buck off what the author perceives to be
                gullible people. Makes me mad, really, people trying to research a
                subject and these schemers are muddying the water (to mix metaphors).
                There are good books out there (Scott Cunningham), but there are bad
                books, and definitely caveat emptor!!! (Word to the wise: no matter what
                the book says, never NEVER wave fluorite through candle flame!!!)

                -Carowyn


                -------------------------------------------------------------
                SCA-Herbalist disclaimer: This list is primarily for discussion of medieval
                and renaissance herbalism and herbalism in the SCA. Please verify any health
                information in other sources and/or with a qualified health professional.

                Get medieval at Mad Macsen's http://www.MedievalMart.com/
                Sponsored by House Wyvern Hall, BBM, East Kingdom, SCA
                [Email to SCA-Herbalist-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]
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              • otsisto
                Salvia officinalis: the purple variety is considered to be the best for medicinal use. From The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. Leaves use in an
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 5, 2005
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                  Salvia officinalis: the purple variety is considered to be the best for
                  medicinal use.
                  From The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody.

                  Leaves use in an infusion as a tonic and liver stimulant or to improve
                  digestive function and circulation in debility. Can reduce lactation when
                  weaning and relieve night sweats at menopause.
                  Tincture of leaves for menopausal problems. Prescribed to reduce salivation
                  in Parkinson's disease.
                  Compress, a pad soaked in the infusion and applied to slow to heal wounds.
                  Gargle/Mouthwash, weak infusion for sore throat, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers
                  or gum disease.
                  Hair rinse for dandruff a restore color to gray hair.

                  It is listed as a:
                  carminative, anti-spasmodic, astringent, antiseptic, relaxes peripheral
                  blood vessels, reduces perspiration, salivation and lactation, uterine
                  stimulant, antibiotic, reduces blood sugar levels, promotes bile flow.
                  Cautions:
                  Avoid therapeutic doses in pregnancy. Small amounts of sage used in cooking
                  are quite safe.
                  Sage contains thujone, which can trigger fits in epileptics, who should
                  avoid the herb.

                  There is also the consideration that John Goodyer may have made mistakes in
                  his translation.
                  There was this Anglo-Saxon manuscript on medicinal remedies. A man
                  translated it. In one of the concoctions it asked for "Anglo-Saxon plant
                  name" (this was some years back so I don't remember the name) He had printed
                  with his translations the original form. There was, so I am told by friend
                  who translated "AS name, it is call Marrubium (?) by the So and such." the
                  author had stated that the ingredient was a piece of a special dog. My
                  friend and I came to the conclusion that it was probably horehound. Though
                  they did put some might weird stuff in their medicine.

                  Lyse
                • KatRavenclaw@aol.com
                  Some of the ornamental Salvias that are used widely where I live are in the same group as the Salvia known as Deviner s Sage It was used as an infusion to
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 6, 2005
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                    Some of the ornamental Salvias that are used widely where I live are in the same group as the Salvia known as "Deviner's Sage" It was used as an infusion to bring about prophetic dreams, and is still I suppose as it is an halucinogen... That would definitely be bad to use during pregnant
                     
                    KAT
                  • lilinah@earthlink.net
                    Corwyn Ravenwing & Carowyn Silveroak ... Salvia also grows just fine in Pennsylvania. From: otsisto ... Not only is
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 12, 2005
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                      Corwyn Ravenwing & Carowyn Silveroak <silveroak@...>
                      >>We'd probably have to make a trip over to Greece & Italy to see which
                      >>sage was being talked about. My guess is that it's a different species -
                      >>we have white sage here in PA, which I would never use for a dark hair
                      >>rinse, but it makes an interesting tea, and is one of the traditional
                      >>herbs in kinnick-kinnick (herbal cigarette mix).

                      Salvia also grows just fine in Pennsylvania.

                      From: "otsisto" <otsisto@...>
                      >White sage is an Artemisia. European sage is Salvia officinalis.

                      Not only is it an Artemisia, and it looks *nothing* like Salvia, but
                      it's a New World plant.

                      >White sage has an aroma when burned.
                      >European sage stinks or as one person told me "it
                      >smells kind of like marijuana", in other word, it stinks. :)

                      Well, i never thought marijuana stunk. But the smell of burning
                      Salvia i find decidedly unpleasant.

                      Anahita
                      who hasn't indulged in that other stuff in several decades
                    • Shanalee C Hollingshead
                      White Sage on this side of the continent (California) is indeed a true sage. It is Salvia apiana and is one of the sacred sages used by the Native Americans.
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jan 12, 2005
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                        White Sage on this side of the continent (California) is indeed a true
                        sage. It is Salvia apiana and is one of the sacred sages used by the
                        Native Americans. It is still a new world plant though.
                        Elysant
                      • Ro Bourdeau
                        Just curious, does anyone know what White Sage (Artemisia) likes in soil, climate and conditions? It sounds like it s more a Western plant but I m wondering if
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jan 13, 2005
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                          Just curious, does anyone know what White Sage (Artemisia) likes in soil, climate and conditions? It sounds like it's more a Western plant but I'm wondering if it'll be happy here in CT. I have no problem with European Sage. It seems to be happy in my garden (even when I'm trying to move it to a better location, it keeps popping up in the old place).
                           
                          -A'isha (mka Ro)

                          otsisto <otsisto@...> wrote:


                          White sage is an Artemisia. European sage is Salvia officinalis. White sage
                          has an aroma when burned. European sage stinks or as one person told me "it
                          smells kind of like marijuana", in other word, it stinks. :).....
                          Okay enough rambling,
                          Lyse


                        • Apollonia de Avena
                          I ve had luck with it here in South Texas. I don t know how it would do in CT. It really likes dry acidic soil and lots af neglect. The soil here is mostly
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jan 13, 2005
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                            I've had luck with it here in South Texas.  I don't know how it would do in CT.  It really likes dry acidic soil and lots af neglect.  The soil here is mostly sandy with clumps of dark clay.  It gets scorching hot in the summer and the artemisia loves that.  It would be tricky to mimic those conditions where you live, but I don't know how adaptable the plant is.  It may do well in multiple types of conditions. 
                            Hope that helps,
                            Apollonia

                            Ro Bourdeau <moose.mom@...> wrote:
                            Just curious, does anyone know what White Sage (Artemisia) likes in soil, climate and conditions? It sounds like it's more a Western plant but I'm wondering if it'll be happy here in CT. I have no problem with European Sage. It seems to be happy in my garden (even when I'm trying to move it to a better location, it keeps popping up in the old place).
                             
                            -A'isha (mka Ro)

                            otsisto <otsisto@...> wrote:


                            White sage is an Artemisia. European sage is Salvia officinalis. White sage
                            has an aroma when burned. European sage stinks or as one person told me "it
                            smells kind of like marijuana", in other word, it stinks. :).....
                            Okay enough rambling,
                            Lyse




                            -------------------------------------------------------------
                            SCA-Herbalist disclaimer: This list is primarily for discussion of medieval
                            and renaissance herbalism and herbalism in the SCA. Please verify any health
                            information in other sources and/or with a qualified health professional.

                            Get medieval at Mad Macsen's http://www.MedievalMart.com/
                            Sponsored by House Wyvern Hall, BBM, East Kingdom, SCA
                            [Email to SCA-Herbalist-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]



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                          • lilinah@earthlink.net
                            ... The White Sage i ve seen growing in the foothills and low mountains of Southern California is Artemisia ludoviciana. It is shrubby with somewhat woody
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jan 13, 2005
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                              Shanalee C Hollingshead <shana_c@...> wrote:
                              >White Sage on this side of the continent (California) is indeed a true
                              >sage. It is Salvia apiana and is one of the sacred sages used by the
                              >Native Americans. It is still a new world plant though.
                              >
                              >Elysant

                              The White Sage i've seen growing in the foothills and low mountains
                              of Southern California is Artemisia ludoviciana. It is shrubby with
                              somewhat woody stems. The leaves are small and a light grey-green.
                              I'm no botanist, so i can't describe the leaves appropriately, but
                              they had what i'll call a notched edge (i'm sure there's a proper
                              term). Its range extends through much of the western US.

                              My understanding was that it was sometimes used as smudge by some
                              Native Americans.

                              One website i visited said that High Desert Sage was Artemisia
                              tridentata, and "is the traditional desert sage used in Native
                              American incense. Often confused with white sage, which was used
                              primarily by southwestern tribes during sweat lodges." How accurate
                              this is can be debated. It also doesn't specify which "white sage"
                              they mean.

                              Both Salvia apiana and Artemisia ludiviciana are called White Sage.

                              Trying to find out just which "sage", whether a Salvia or an
                              Artemisia, was used as a Native American sacred herb isn't easy. I
                              suspect that ultimately it would vary from region to region depending
                              on which plants grew there. Also there were trade routes for sacred
                              and other desirable items, dried herbs among them.

                              Anahita
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