Why should a man die who has sage in his garden?ancient Roman proverb
The name comes from the Latin salveo, to heal, and for the Romans, sage was a sacred herb; drinking sage tea was supposed to help a woman conceive, and it was believed to have healing powers. One had to bathe and have clean feet, put on clean clothes, and make a special food sacrifice, before even cutting it (with a non-iron knife). They also used it as a kind of toothpaste.
It's still used throughout the Big Boot—popular with melted butter on pasta or gnocchi, or with meat dishes, in sauces, sausages, and more. In Friuli they make an unusual dish called salviade (or Surîs)--sage fritters.
Image by pizzodisevo 1937