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Blue Sage Salvia azurea
see List of Salvia species
Sage is a term used for plants of the genus Salvia of the mint family,
Lamiaceae. When used without modifiers, sage generally refers to common
sage (Salvia officinalis); however, it can be used with modifiers to
refer to any member of the genus. This genus includes shrubs, herbaceous
perennials, and annuals. Different species of sage are grown as herbs
and as ornamental plants. The ornamental species are commonly referred
to by their scientific name Salvia.
The closely related genera Perovskia and Phlomis are also known as sage;
Russian Sage, (Perovskia atriplicifolia), native to the Crimea south to
Afghanistan and Pakistan, is grown as an ornamental plant because of its
blue-violet sprays of flowers and its adaptability to either sun or part
shade. It has a pleasant smell and is also grown as a bee plant, but is
not consumed by humans. Jerusalem Sage refers to Phlomis fruticosa and
other species of Phlomis.
Some species of the unrelated genus Artemisia are also referred to as
sages, a shortened version of sagebrush, which is a more appropriate
term for them. They generally taste vile and are not used in food
preparation, although many of them are used medicinally. Smudge bundles
are made with various grey-leaved species of Artemisia and are
misrepresented as "whitesage" smudges. The true whitesage is Salvia
apiana, which has a delightful scent when burned.
2 Notable species
2.1 Aromatic sages
2.2 Non-aromatic sages
2.3 Chia sages
3 Medicinal uses
3.1 Aromatic sages
5 External links
The sage varieties used as herbs stem from the Mediterranean and Asia
Minor and Sage has been grown in Central Europe since the Middle Ages.
The name Salvia derives from the Latin 'salveo', which means 'to heal'.
Indeed this herb is highly regarded for its healing qualities. An
ancient proverb states, "Why should a man die who has sage in his
garden?". The ancient Greeks used it to treat consumption, ulcers and
The Romans considered sage to be a sacred herb and concocted a whole
elaborate ceremony just to pick it. A sage gatherer would have to use a
special knife (not made of iron as it reacts with the sage), have to
have clean clothes and clean feet and a sacrifice of food would have to
be made before he could begin. The Romans would use it for toothpaste;
they also believed it to be good for the brain, senses and memory.
The Chinese also were quite partial to this herb. 17th century Dutch
merchants found that they would trade one chest of sage leaves for three
of their teas .
Salvia apiana, White sage, California white sage, a perennial at home in
the mountains of Southern California, sometimes found in the desert of