Sage (Salvia officinalis) also known as clary sage, vervain, garden and common sage, is a small evergreen shrub that only grows to about 1 or 2 feet tall. Greenish gray leafed with wiry, woody stems, sage is native to the northeastern coastal shores of the Mediterranean. Sage has a 100-year-old history as both a pungent culinary flavoring and as an ingredient in many herbal tonics, creams and remedies. Sage oil is obtained from either fresh or dried leaves and stems. Its volatile oil is extracted by steam distillation.
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Purchase a traditional Arembic copper distiller available from aromatherapy stores or on the Internet. Follow assembly and use instructions carefully.
Simmer the leaves in boiling water. If you do not have access to a professional distiller, the leaves can be placed in a deep kettle or pasta pot. Tie the leaves and stems in a piece of cheese cloth and place in the pot. Add 2 quarts of water, put a lid on the pot and simmer for two hours.
Remove the cheese cloth wrapped bundle from the water and discard in the garden compost pile.
Allow the water to cool to room temperature. The oil will float on top of the water when it has cooled.
Use a poultry baster to suction the thin layer of oil off the top of the water. Put in small glass containers and seal.