Pineapple sage is more than just another pretty pollinator plant for your garden – it’s rich in antioxidants & also used as a traditional herbal remedy!
Health Benefits of Pineapple Sage
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is “widely used in traditional medicine, particularly in the form of infusions or decoctions, to… lower blood pressure and combat central nervous system disorders for anxiety and insomnia.”
Today’s science shows that hydroalcoholic extracts of pineapple sage have been shown to exhibit antihypertensive, antidepressant, and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects and it may even help cognitive function.
I was especially interested to learn that it’s rich in caffeic acid (a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which is great for your skin), so it would be fun to play with pineapple sage skin care recipes too! (That’s on my to-do list!)
All that, plus its pretty ruby red flowers attract all sorts of bees and pollinators to your garden. ❤
Pinapple sage is hardy in zones 8 to 11, but in the area I live (garden zone 7), pineapple sage grows slowly all summer, then bursts into bloom just a few weeks before the first frost, which for our area happens towards the middle or end of October.
That only gives me a short time to enjoy the flowers, though I do extend its season for a couple of extra weeks by tossing a heavy blanket over the plant to protect it from the first few light frosts.
How does pineapple sage taste?
The flowers remind me a lot of honeysuckle. You can pinch off the bottom bit of each one and suck out a drop of nectar that is yummy! The flowers don’t have a lot of taste other than the nectar though.
The fresh leaves smell wonderfully of pineapple, but when you eat one – it’s more of a leafy herby taste and not really so pineapple-y. The scent when you rub the leaves is the main thing that makes you instantly think – Pineapple!
Now that you know more about its awesome potential, here are 7 creative ways to use your pineapple sage plant.
1. Pineapple Sage Flower Vinegar
This beautiful jewel-toned flower vinegar can be used as:
- Hair Rinse – dilute with water before using
- Salad Dressings & Marinades – try using in place of balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Vinegar Bath – for tired, achy muscles
- Fruit Dip – we like 3 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp honey, 1 cup plain yogurt (adjust honey and vinegar amounts up or down to taste)
- Chigger Bites – vinegar is one of the best remedies I’ve found for those pesky critters that leave you itching for days
To make it:
Fill a jar about 1/3 way with fresh pineapple sage flowers. Cover with apple cider vinegar and cap with a plastic lid. (Vinegar will corrode metal lids over time.) Tuck away on a shelf or cabinet, shaking occasionally. The vinegar should start turning color within a week or so. Infuse for about 2 or 3 weeks, then strain. Store the strained vinegar in your fridge for 3 to 4 months.
2. Use as a Creative Salad or Drink Garnish
Sprinkle pineapple sage flowers along with other edible flowers (borage, calendula, violet, forsythia, etc) over a veggie or fruit salad to add a pop of color.
You can also tuck flowering stems into pineapple drinks or lemonade.
3. Edible Flower Ice Cubes
Pineapple sage adds a gorgeous pop of color in floral ice cubes. Here, they’re shown with fresh borage and calendula flowers.
Instead of water, another idea is to freeze the cubes with pineapple juice or lemonade.
Drop into drinks to add a pretty color and taste!
4. Pineapple Sage Flower Scrub
This pretty scrub requires just 3 ingredients:
- pineapple sage flowers
- granulated cane sugar
- your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond, rice bran, sunflower, etc)
Learn how to make it in my article:
5. Flavored Sugar (2 Ways)
Pineapple sage flavored sugar is a subtle sweet treat to add to your tea, or to sprinkle over toast.
One ways to make it is to layer fresh pineapple sage leaves in sugar. Cover lightly and allow the leaves to infuse into the sugar for a week or two. After that time, brush through the sugar to retrieve the now-dry leaves. There may be some little clumps of sugar to break up with a fork or a mini food processor.
The second method involves blending leaves with sugar, just as you would for the pineapple sage sugar scrub above (only using leaves instead of flowers.) Air dry overnight, then grind again to a smooth texture. This gives a bit of a stronger flavor, but be aware that the pretty green color fades down to a brown-green over time.
6. Pineapple Sage Tea
Tea is super easy to make with the fresh leaves. It may be helpful to sip on when you’re feeling stressed and anxious.
To make, just pick about 1/4 cup of leaves (packed), bring inside, and pour 1 3/4 cups of boiling water over them.
Cover the steeping container with a saucer to keep the aromatic vapors in, and steep for around 20 minutes, or to taste.
Sweeten with honey, if you’d like.
You can also use this to make iced tea. Just cool and pour over ice cubes. (Use the pretty edible flower ice cubes from above!)
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7. Melt & Pour Soap
In my experiments so far, pineapple sage doesn’t keep its color in cold process soap, but the leaves make a beautiful green when infused into melt and pour soap base.
(The flowers didn’t keep their color when infused in melt and pour either – only the leaves.)
It starts off a bright green, then will mellow to the softer green shown. The soaps in the photo are about 3 weeks old and made with SFIC shea butter base.
1/4 cup fresh pineapple sage leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) water
8 oz (227 g) white soap base, cut into 1″ cubes
optional: 2 grams (abt 1/2 tsp) essential oil of your choice
Rubbing alcohol, for spritzing
Soap mold used: YGEOMER 2pcs Soap Mold, 6 Cavity Round and Square Silicone Mooncake Cake Chocolate Mold (find it in my Amazon storefront)
Directions to Make:
In a heatproof jar or container, combine the pineapple sage leaves, water, and soap base. If you’d like, microwave it about 20 seconds to jump start the infusing process.
Next, cover the jar loosely with a canning lid or small heatproof saucer. Place the jar in a saucepan containing a few inches (at least 5 cm) of water, forming a makeshift double boiler.
Heat over low to medium-low heat for 20 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soap takes on a pretty green color.
If the soap isn’t turning as green as you’d like, try adding extra chopped leaves and infuse a little longer.
Remove the container from the heat, stir in essential oil if using, and strain the hot soap through a fine mesh sieve into your soap mold.
Work quickly, because the soap will start to harden once removed from heat.
A few more ideas…
I’ve also used pineapple sage to infuse pineapple juice before turning it into sorbet, or you could use the infused juice in a smoothie.
These are just a few ideas to get you started – have fun experimenting and learning about your pineapple sage plant!
(And if you don’t have one yet, think about adding it to your garden next year.) ?