THE BENEFITS OF THE USE OF DESERT SAGE
IN HERBAL PREPARATIONS
DESERT SAGE - PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
My first formal memory of desert sage is when we moved from California to Southern Utah.My younger brother loved the out of doors, and I thought of him as a “mountain man”.He took our family on a nature hike, identifying the plants and flowers.I remember crushing sagebrushleaves between my fingers to release the aroma, and asking the name of this fragrant plant.Many years later, I walked through the snow to retrieve a twig of sagebrush to place in the casket of this same brother.The plant is evergreen, and so are my memories of him.
Now, when I step out on my balcony and breathe deeply the mountain air, it is scented with sagebrush, especially after a rainstorm.I marvel at this intrepid and versatile plant that has been such a boon to natives and settlers alike.There is an army of sagebrush surrounding my house, providing cover and food for mule deer,wild turkeys, and many smaller folk.
Last Christmas I made sagebrush ointment that was strongly scented, and gave it to neighbors and friends as a gift.I have had many favorable comments on its healing properties.People have loved the scent most of all.
A week ago, I dressed in an Indian fringed dress, headband and feathers to teach my grandsons lessons on Indian ways for cub scouts.As “Princess Little Dove”, I spoke to them of peaceful ways, preserving and appreciating nature, and of always speaking the truth.We lit a smudge stick of sagebrush to purify ourselves, and then were driven outside by the rank and acrid smoke.It was not the aromatic experience I had expected!And it took several hours to de-stink the house.
I had more success in making a cold and a hot infusion of the sagebrush leaves and twigs.The coldwas lighter in color and flavor than the hot infusion was, but both were pleasant to drink.The camphor effect felt cleansing to the sinuses, and my husband said that drinking the tea in the evening after dinner helped his heartburn condition.
I have rubbed sagebrush on my skin both as an insect repellent, and as an anti-itch application.It was moderately successful, though somewhat sticky.
My favorite experience with sagebrush, though, is to hike through it, sit next to it, and wonder what scenes have occurred in the 200 year existence of some of the mature plants.They seem very old and wise to me, and bear much further experimentation and study.