A while back, in my post four herbal teas you may not know about, I mentioned Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, a cousin of the common sage plant, native to the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala. That post was in March, shortly after I planted the plant. The plant grew fabulously over the summer here in Delaware, and it recently bloomed, producing beautiful red blossoms:
You can read a little more about pineapple sage on Wikipedia's page on Salvia Elegans. The plant has some interesting medicinal uses, some of which are supported by a little bit of scientific evidence, such as antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and blood-pressure-lowering effects. But I'm here to talk more about how this tea tastes, and why it's not commercially available.
A Transient Herbal Tea:
The leaves of pineapple sage have an incredibly pleasing scent...strong, sweet, and suggestive of pineapple. The best way I can describe it is that it's a bright, cheerful smell. It makes sense that the fresh leaves would yield a delicious beverage when infused in water. The brewed tea smells a lot like the fresh leaf, but the light, sweet, candy-like pineapple aroma is balanced by a mild herbaceous quality, vaguely reminiscent of common sage. Upon drinking a single cup of this drink, I thought to myself: why isn't this plant used more in herbal blends? Why haven't I seen it available commercially? I searched far and wide and was unable to find any tea company that sells this plant.
Apparently, after reading more, I learned that it does not dry well; this is one plant that is best used fresh. And I'm afraid that it seems unlikely that this plant will make it through the Delaware winter; it's planted in the warmest spot, near my house, and I'm going to trim it back and mulch it, but I doubt it's going to make it. I've grown enough for about 10 cups of pineapple sage tea, on top of the ones I've enjoyed throughout the summer and fall. I guess the lesson here, which is easily reinforced by local fruit or vegetable harvests, is that some of the best food and drink needs to be savored while in season!