With this post I would like to honor my ancestors and their connection to the plants. I am humbled by your knowledge and have devoted my life to working with plant spirits, my intention is to honor you and your traditional ways of healing the body and spirit of the two legged.
Black Sage, Salvia mellifera is native to California and Baja California. All parts of the plant have been used by our ancestors for many generations. Black sage is the darkest of the sages and like all sages it is highly aromatic. This sage has many medicinal properties, it is anti-inflammatory and has traditionally been used by the Chumash people to relieve pain. A decoction was made from the leaves and used as a bath for arthritic limbs. Sage is also beneficial with assisting colic, coughs and sore throats. I like to prepare a tea of black and white sage for coughs, adding a tablespoon of organic, local honey this can assist with calming irritation and fighting infections. Many have used black sage to calm canker sores, mouth ulcers and have suggested to use as a mouthwash and or gargle. Sages are also antibacterial antimicrobial, antifungal, astringent and assist the body as a nervine (relaxing the nerves).
The bitter leaves has also been used to assist in digestive matters. Bitters help the digestive system produce bile, this may be beneficial when the digestive systems slows down or when constipated. The herbalist Matthew Wood states that sage when used in cooking can help with the digestion system to process fats and oils.
Mama Maiz Black Sage Dressing
2 pinches of black pepper
2 pinches of salt
1 full garlic clove chopped finely
3-4 fresh black sage leaves
grind down with mortar
then add Olive Oil, squeeze half a lime and Amino Acids as needed
Sage for the bleeding and menopausal body
Sage can assist with calming the motions of the menopausal body, especially hot flashes. The spirit of this plant can also assist with heavy moon (menstrual) bleeding. Many native peoples were aware that all sages should not be medicine to those with life in their bellies. After giving birth if you were to take sage in any form the production of milk will slow down in the breast.
When harvesting Sacred Medicine
“Forgive me, for I wish not to harm you but to learn from you…”
This is the begging of the prayer I share with all plants when harvesting medicine. It is essential to me as a xicana of indigenous people to use the medicines that my ancestor used to not only heal the body but also the spirit. Indigenous people of the Southwest and Mexico have used black sage as a purifying medicine. Many different sages live in coastal and desert environments as the people of the lands used these plants as purifiers, one may say to expel of negative energy. Knowing this it is important to honor the spirit of this plant and all plants when harvesting, I always ask for permission and listen. I have been told to wait by many plants, it was not my time to learn from that plant at that moment in time and I honor that. Some may call this a gut feeling, if something in your body says no or if you feel any hesitation know that it is not your time to harvest that plant at that very moment. Sit with a plant and always ask permission, I have been taught to always leave offerings to the plant which you harvest from, it is important to show gratitude in this way. Some indigenous peoples would leave offerings of tobacco, I have found that if this is not at hand, a prayer or an offering of water is just as meaningful.
Burning herbs is a sacred act and must be done with good intention and spirit. I have been taught by my elders that the offering of smoke, it be by burning a bundle or exhaling the herb through a pipe or herbal cigarette should always be done in prayer. You are offering the smoke so that your prayers may be heard.
My suggestion to you is to grow these native medicines and sit with them, you will find yourself growing a relationship with the plant spirit that can not compare to any other. Share your prayers and listen, soon you will hear the voice of these sacred plants.