Green Living / Urban agriculture

Pineapple Sage!

It’s no secret that I LOVE PINEAPPLE SAGE!
It should also be no secret… that I struggle with anxiety & depression.
Particularly seasonally, as the days get shorter and darker.

Pineapple is one of my favourite fruits, so every year I plant quite a few Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans Vahl) in each of the gardens that I run.  I find the plant itself quite attractive – though it can grow bushy and huge if left unchecked, and in the fall it flowers with these lovely vibrant red blooms.  The fruity citrusy leaves are edible, adding a new element of flavour to fruit salads, teas or hold up remarkably well as a garnish and just this summer I’ve discovered that the red flowers are remarkably sweet tasting!

For food lovers, pineapple sage recipes are perfect for including a flavorful dish in the meal menu. From sweet banana smoothie to bread, fritters, salsa and chicken recipes, the sweet scented leaves complement nearly all types of dishes that call for a rich flavor.  Try mixing the minced leaves and flowers in cream cheese for a delightfully fruity spread, or knead a handful or two of chopped leaves into raisin bread dough. Steeping the leaves in hot apple juice and using the juice to make jelly is an easy way to preserve the pineapple sage flavor. You can preserve the sweetness in herbal sugar too by layering the leaves in sugar and allowing to infuse for a day or 5. The dried leaves can be brewed for a satisfying winter tea; however, the fruity element is lost in drying. — Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh from her post Backyard Patch Herbal Blog      

I was also surprised to learn from my Mexican co-workers, that this plant is used regularly in Mexican traditional medicine to treat anxiety among other things.  Further reading when I got home confirmed this!  Referred to within Mexico as “mirto”, “flor del cerro”,“limoncillo” or “perritos rojos” tinctures of the plant are widely taken, traditionally used to alleviate central nervous system ailments.  A preliminary study seems to confirm the traditional knowledge “The hydroalcoholic extract of Salvia elegans induces anxiolytic- andantidepressant-like effects in rats” … in plain language … pineapple sage extract seems to have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant like effects.

Honestly though?  The stuff’s tasty!  I would keep eating it whether it was magic or not!  But knowing that tea I already find tasty has some beneficial properties to help me with anxiety that plagues me daily, even if it’s a placebo effect?  That’s really brightened my day 🙂

I didn’t put references throughout the post cause this isn’t a school paper, but I did use the following sources:


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