Sage (Salva Officinalis) is a perennial evergreen with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is native to the northern Mediterranean region, particularly the coastal Dalmatia region of Croatia, but has been adapted to suit different land conditions across the globe. A natural match for meat and stuffing, this powerful herb is popularly used in sausage making and in traditional holiday roasts. It also lends its familiar flavor to gravy and soups, and its astringent properties make it an excellent pairing for fatty, rich foods, such as pork, goose, and duck. Sage's powerful flavor can be overpowering, so it is best added early in the cooking process so that its potency can mellow somewhat through cooking. In addition to its culinary applications, Sage has been cultivated for thousands of years for medicinal use. It is often brewed into a tea to soothe sore throat and cough and relieve congestion. It was also thought to help bring down fever and relieve joint pain and headaches. It is thought to be beneficial to concentration and mental clarity. Burning Sage has been used since ancient times as a means to bless people and places, to ward off evil, and to cleanse spaces of negative energy. Many Native American tribes of the American Southwest include "smudging" rituals in their religious ceremonies. In ancient European and Middle Eastern civilizations, sage was associated with longevity and even immortality. Fitting that the plant's genus name derives from the Latin word for "salvation."