As we relish in the myriad savory tones of flavor tomorrow, let us remember the traditional uses behind some of the more common Thanksgiving herbs. This blog via Wild Foodism presents four traditional Thanksgiving herbs -- white sage, bay leaf, thyme, parsley -- and their non-culinary uses in native traditions.
White sage, for example, was used as a medicinal remedy, as well as a space purifier:
Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family, and many of its species have been used by the indigenous peoples of North America (thistle sage, gray ball sage, purple sage, lyreleaf sage, black sage, etc.). I will be focusing solely on one particular species: Salvia apiana, or white sage.
The Cahuilla, Native Americans who primarily inhabit southern California, used white sage as a cold remedy and dermatological aid, and also seasoned their food with the aromatic leaves. Like the Cahuilla, other southwestern groups, such as the Kumeyaay and Luiseño, ate the seeds dry or as a porridge, known as pinole.
Today, we can receive the non-conventional benefits of white sage quite simply. For example, herbal decoctions can be brewed, and smudge sticks can be created using the plant. Its distribution is limited to the Pacific Southwest, but the conveniences of modern living have allowed cultivated sage to be readily available in supermarkets across the globe.
Read the full article over at Wild Foodism.