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Prairie Sage

Artemisia ludoviciana

Sage

Many species of sage or Artemesia are found across North America in the Great Plains region. Blooming July-October, and reaching 1-3 feet tall, this aggressive plant is covered in a fuzzy mat of gray hairs. It prefers to grow in rocky, sandy and gravelly soil in prairies and along roads and railways.

To the Plains Indians, the prairie sage was one of the important medicinal and ceremonial plants of their culture. When burned, it was used in ceremonies for purification purposes. Some tribes hung it in their homes for protection.

Sage is very aromatic, containing volatile oils. The fragrance is most noticeable during the warm days of summer. The oils are toxic if ingested in large quantities, but it was utilized medicinally in a numbers of ways. Sage was used as a foot deodorizer, to cure headaches, treat coughs, hemorrhoids, stomach troubles, and as a poultice for wounds. Rubbing the leaves of the plant on the skin served as a short-term mosquito repellant.

 

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