I came across this fragrant herb, Wild Himalayan Sage on my daily morning walks in the hills of Ladakh, . Wild Himalayan Sage grows in the dry and arid hills of Ladakh and adjoining areas. Sage is a Mediterranean herb and is extensively used in Mediterranean and European cuisine. I am not sure, if this is a native shrub of this terrain or has been introduced here. But closely looking at the leaves, I did find the slight difference in the structure and shape. On consulting the books and local resources, it was established that it is indeed a variety of common sage.
Uses of Wild Himalayan Sage
Wild Himalayan Sage is widely used in Tibetan Medicinal System for relief from various pains and breathing related disorders. As I am a chef, so I seek the culinary application of this miraculous herb. I use it in my kitchen to make sage butter and infuse sous- vide chicken with the aromatic, minty and heady fragrance of sage. The aroma of wild sage is same or in some cases, stronger than the regular sage.
Identification of Wild Himalayan Sage
I have not seen anyone growing or cultivating sage in Ladakh. It just grows on its own like any other weed or wild plant. Sage starts growing in the month of June in Ladakh. It is very common to spot the buses because of it’s velvety green leaves and beautiful pink/ purple flowers. . In the end July and start of August, beautiful pink and purple flowers appear. It is really difficult to miss a bush of sage. A gentle brush against the bush gives the clue of its presence.
Storing Wild Himalayan Sage
I collect it fresh from the wild. Using fresh herbs has it’s own advantages. And, in the case of Sage, it is it’s scent. I also store sage in dry form. I dehydrate it at low temperature. Once thoroughly dried, I vacuum pack it and store it in the pantry. Dried sage is excellent combination with our apple and toffee jam. also dry wild Himalayan Sage, so that i can use it in winters and spring.