False sage, stranger in Flanders
False sage, not exactly a nice name for a plant. This inconspicuous, greenish flowering plant growing on the edge of pine forests, is therefore not really beautiful nor known for its medicinal or other uses. According to people, he even cheats a bit. It pretends to be a sage, while it belongs to the gamander family. So really a ‘false’ sage! And yet, if we search long enough, the herb turns out to be more interesting than it appears at first sight.
The Latin name of the genus is therefore not Salvia but Teucrium and our species is Teucrium scorodonia. Sounds powerful! According to a legend, the name “Teucrium” refers to the Trojan king Teukros who was the first to recognize the meaning of this plant. the nose and with its amber-like scent attracts cats, but the best known of the teucrium species is of course the real gamander. But I still want to talk about the False sage and the water gamander here.
Dodoens and Gamander
Dodoens does not discuss the False sage, Teucrium scorodonia, but a closely related species Teucrium scordium, Swamp Gamander. He even calls it mithridatum, which has been in use for centuries as a mythical mixture and where this gamander was also included. Swamp gamander, judging by the indications, was considered styptic and wound healing for “old aggravated and littered wounds” and “stifles that root meleason.” Furthermore, especially good for the respiratory tract ‘monstrous ghepoedert ende with huenicht ende inghenomen, suyvert that chest from all fluymen and es seer good for all outdated cough.
Also sniffing through my ‘fallen’ bookcase I find that False sage was still used in the 19th century in the treatment of tuberculosis. The Revue writes about the discovery of this medicinal effect. Hom. Belge (1895): “Dr. Martiny examined a tuberculosis sufferer in the last stage of his illness in the Ardennes. He had a cavern in one top of the lung and the doctor had given it up. A year later, the same doctor found the patient who had long been thought dead in perfect health. The patient attributed his cure to ingesting the nearby growing false sage, which an old woman advised him to take. After that time, Dr. Martiny this herb with great success in pulmonary tuberculosis; he prescribed 5-10 drops of the essence several times a day to take. Other doctors also reported their successes and recommended teucrium not only for pulmonary tuberculosis but also for prostate and bone tuberculosis “.
Now, 110 years later, Teucrium is hardly used in practice in Belgium and the Netherlands. We already read at Furlenmeier that in the 1970s it was still prescribed for chronic nasal and bronchial catarrh, persistent cough, bronchial asthma and with existing tuberculostatics as an accompanying therapy for tuberculosis. In addition, with a slow function of the digestive organs with liver blockage (bitter substance effect).
And more recently, in Ethnomed 2007 that Mastitis in cows has been “treated with Achillea millefolium, Arctium lappa, Salix alba, Teucrium scorodonia (False sage) and Galium aparine”. And further in Plant for a future that the ‘herb is alterative, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, tonic and vulnerary. It is harvested in July and can be dried for later use. The herb is often used in domestic herbal practice in the treatment of skin afflictions, diseases of the blood, fevers, colds etc. It is an appetizer of the first order and is equal to gentian root as a tonic.
So to read, some possibilities, even too many possibilities to be completely true. In any case, the plant is not poisonous, so we can sometimes make tea or tincture with it.
Tea: Pour 1 large teaspoon of the chopped fresh or dried plant with a cup of boiling water, let it steep for 5-15 minutes, strain, cool slightly and then, sweetened with honey, drink several times a day as a cough tea, or, Drink unsweetened 1 hour before a meal to promote bile secretion. Infusion: pour 2 generous teaspoons of the finely chopped herb with 2 cups of cold water, let it steep for 8 hours (night), strain and drink during the day.
For further study
- Lans C, Turner N, Khan T, Brauer G, Boepple W. Ethnoveterinary medicines used for ruminants in British Columbia, Canada. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t]
- J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2007.:11.
- Essential oil of Teucrium scorodonia L. ssp. scorodonia from Italystar.