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''Salvia officinalis'', the common sage or just sage, is a perennial, evergreen
subshrub A subshrub (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it ...

subshrub
, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family
Lamiaceae The Lamiaceae ( ) or Labiatae are a family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social ter ...

Lamiaceae
and native to the
Mediterranean region In biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geography, geographic space and through evolutionary history of life, geological time. Organisms and biological community (ecology), communities ofte ...

Mediterranean region
, though it has been naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times it has been used as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "sage" is also used for closely related species and cultivars.


Names

''Salvia officinalis'' has numerous common names. Some of the best-known are sage, common sage, garden sage, golden sage, kitchen sage, true sage, culinary sage, Dalmatian sage, and broadleaf sage. Cultivated forms include purple sage and red sage. The
specific epithet In taxonomy, binomial nomenclature ("two-term naming system"), also called nomenclature ("two-name naming system") or binary nomenclature, is a formal system of naming species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classi ...
''
officinalis ''Officinalis'', or ''officinale'', is a Medieval Latin epithet denoting organisms — mainly plants — with uses in medicine, herbalism and cookery. It commonly occurs as a Binomial nomenclature, specific epithet - the second term of a two-part b ...
'' refers to plants with a well-established medicinal or culinary value.


Taxonomy

''Salvia officinalis'' was described by
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
in 1753. It has been grown for centuries in the Old World for its food and healing properties, and was often described in old
herbal A herbal is a book containing the names and descriptions of plants, usually with information on their medicinal, tonic, culinary, toxic Toxicity is the degree to which a chemical substance or a particular mixture of substances can damage a ...

herbal
s for the many miraculous properties attributed to it. The binary name, ''officinalis'', refers to the plant's medicinal use—the ''officina'' was the traditional storeroom of a monastery where herbs and medicines were stored. ''S. officinalis'' has been classified under many other scientific names over the years, including six different names since 1940 alone. It is the
type species In zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Convention (norm), convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific name, scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is al ...
for the genus ''Salvia''.


Description

Cultivars are quite variable in size, leaf and flower color, and foliage pattern, with many variegated leaf types. The Old World type grows to approximately tall and wide, with lavender flowers most common, though they can also be white, pink, or purple. The plant flowers in late spring or summer. The leaves are oblong, ranging in size up to long by wide. Leaves are grey-green, rugose on the upper side, and nearly white underneath due to the many short soft hairs. Modern cultivars include leaves with purple, rose, cream, and yellow in many variegated combinations.


History

''Salvia officinalis'' has been used since ancient times for warding off evil, snakebites, increasing women's fertility, and more. The Romans referred to sage as the "holy herb," and employed it in their religious rituals.
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos Island, Lesbos,Gavin Hardy and Laurence Totelin, ''Ancient Botany'', Routledge, 2015, p. 8. was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic ...

Theophrastus
wrote about two different sages, a wild undershrub he called ''sphakos'', and a similar cultivated plant he called ''elelisphakos''.
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
said the latter plant was called ''salvia'' by the Romans, and used as a
diuretic A diuretic () is any substance that promotes diuresis Diuresis () is increased urination Urination is the release of urine from the urinary bladder through the urethra to the outside of the body. It is the urinary system's form of excretio ...
, a
local anesthetic A local anesthetic (LA) is a medication that causes absence of pain sensation. In the context of surgery, a local anesthetic creates an absence of pain in a specific location of the body without a loss of consciousness, as opposed to a general ane ...
for the skin, a
stypticAn antihemorrhagic (antihæmorrhagic) agent is a substance that promotes hemostasis (stops bleeding). It may also be known as a hemostatic (also spelled hæmostatic) agent. Antihemorrhagic agents used in medicine have various mechanisms of action: * ...
, and for other uses.
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
recommended the plant for cultivation in the early Middle Ages, and during the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
, it was cultivated in monastery gardens.
Walafrid Strabo Walafrid, alternatively spelt Walahfrid, surnamed Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called " Pompeius Str ...
described it in his poem ''Hortulus'' as having a sweet scent and being useful for many human ailments—he went back to the Greek root for the name and called it ''lelifagus''. The plant had a high reputation throughout the Middle Ages, with many sayings referring to its healing properties and value. It was sometimes called ''S. salvatrix'' (sage the savior).
Dioscorides Pedanius Dioscorides ( grc-gre, Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης, ; 40–90 AD) was a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of '' De materia medica'' (, On Medical Material) —a 5-volume Greek encyclopedia about herbal m ...

Dioscorides
, Pliny, and
Galen Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus ( el, Κλαύδιος Γαληνός; September 129 – c. AD 216), often Anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modi ...
all recommended sage as a diuretic,
hemostaticAn antihemorrhagic (antihæmorrhagic) agent is a substance that promotes hemostasis Hemostasis or haemostasis is a process to prevent and stop bleeding, meaning to keep blood within a damaged blood vessel The blood vessels are the components o ...
,
emmenagogueEmmenagogues (also spelled ''emmenagogs'') are herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus; some stimulate menstruation. Women use emmenagogues to stimulate menstrual flow when menstruation is absent for reasons other than pregnanc ...
, and tonic. Le Menagier de Paris, in addition to recommending cold sage soup and sage sauce for poultry, recommends infusion of sage for washing hands at table.
John Gerard John Gerard (also John Gerarde, c. 1545–1612) was an English herbalist with a large garden in London. His 1,484-page illustrated ''Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes'', first published in 1597, became a popular gardening and herbal book ...
's ''Herball'' (1597) states that sage "is singularly good for the head and brain, it quickeneth the senses and memory, strengtheneth the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy, and taketh away shakey trembling of the members."
Gervase Markham Gervase (or Jervis) Markham (ca. 1568 – 3 February 1637) was an English poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may ...
's
The English Huswife ''The English Huswife'' is a book of English cookery and remedies by Gervase Markham, first published in London by Roger Jackson in 1615. Markham's best-known work, it was a bestseller of its time, going through nine editions, and at least two ...
(1615) gives a recipe for a tooth-powder of sage and salt. It appears in recipes for Four Thieves Vinegar, a blend of herbs which was supposed to ward off the plague. In past centuries, it was also used for hair care, insect bites and wasp stings, nervous conditions, mental conditions, oral preparations for inflammation of the mouth, tongue and throat, and also to reduce fevers.


Uses


Culinary use

In Britain, sage has for generations been listed as one of the essential herbs, along with
parsley Parsley, or garden parsley (''Petroselinum ''Petroselinum'' (parsley) is a genus of two species of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land p ...

parsley
,
rosemary ''Salvia rosmarinus'', commonly known as rosemary, is a shrub with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native plant, native to the Mediterranean Region, Mediterranean region. Until 2017, it was known ...

rosemary
, and
thyme Thyme () is the herb (dried aerial parts) of some members of the genus ''Thymus The thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism ...

thyme
(as in the folk song " Scarborough Fair"). It has a savory, slightly peppery flavor. Sage appears in the 14th and 15th centuries in a "Cold Sage Sauce", known in French, English and
Lombard The term Lombard refers to members of or things related to Lombardy (man) it, Lombarda (woman) lmo, Lombard (man) lmo, Lombarda (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 ...
cuisine, probably traceable to its appearance in ''Le Viandier de Taillevent''. It appears in many European cuisines, notably Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern cookery. In
Italian cuisine Italian cuisine (, ) is a Mediterranean cuisine Mediterranean cuisine is the food and methods of preparation used by the people of the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean r ...
, it is an essential condiment for
saltimbocca Saltimbocca, also spelled saltinbocca (, , ; ), is an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a R ...

saltimbocca
and other dishes, favored with fish. In British and American cooking, it is traditionally served as sage and onion stuffing, an accompaniment to roast turkey or chicken at Christmas or
Thanksgiving Day Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...
, and for Sunday roast dinners. Other dishes include pork
casserole A casserole (French language, French: diminutive of ''casse'', from Provençal dialect, Provençal ''cassa'' 'pan') is a variety of a large, deep cookware and bakeware, pan or bowl used for cooking a variety of dishes in the oven; it is also a ca ...
,
Sage Derby cheese Sage Derby is a variety of Derby cheese that is mild, mottled green and semi-hard, and has a common sage, sage flavour. The colour is from sage and sometimes other colouring added to the curds, producing a Marble cheese, marbling effect and a subtl ...

Sage Derby cheese
and Lincolnshire sausages. Despite the common use of traditional and available herbs in
French cuisine French cuisine () consists of the cooking traditions and practices from France. French cuisine developed throughout the centuries influenced by the many surrounding cultures of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium, in addition to ...
, sage never found favor there.


Essential oil

Common sage is grown in parts of Europe for distillation of an
essential oil An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matte ...
, although other species such as '' Salvia fruticosa'' may also be harvested and distilled with it. The essential oil contains
cineole Eucalyptol is a monoterpenoid. A colorless liquid, it is a bicyclic ether Ethers are a class of organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that conta ...

cineole
,
borneol Borneol is a bicyclic A bicyclic molecule (''bi'' = two, ''cycle'' = ring) is a molecule that features two joined rings Ring most commonly refers either to a hollow circular shape or to a high-pitched sound. It thus may refer to: *Ring (jewelle ...

borneol
, and thujone. Sage leaf contains
tannic acid Tannic acid is a specific form of tannin Tannins (or tannoids) are a class of , ic s that bind to and s and various other organic compounds including s and s. The term ''tannin'' (from ''tanner'', from ''tannāre'', from ''tannum'' ...

tannic acid
,
oleic acid Oleic acid is a fatty acid In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and t ...

oleic acid
, ,
carnosol Carnosol is a phenolic diterpene found in the herbs rosemary (''Rosmarinus officinalis'') and Mountain desert sage (''Salvia pachyphylla''). It has been studied in-vitro for anti-cancer effects in various cancer cell types. See also * Carnosic ...

carnosol
,
carnosic acid Carnosic acid is a natural benzenediolDihydroxybenzenes are organic chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than ...

carnosic acid
,
fumaric acid Fumaric acid is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules a ...

fumaric acid
,
chlorogenic acid Chlorogenic acid (CGA) is the ester of caffeic acid and (−)-quinic acid, functioning as an intermediate in lignin biosynthesis. The term "chlorogenic acids" refers to a related polyphenol family of esters, including hydroxycinnamic acids (caffeic ...

chlorogenic acid
, ,
niacin Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, is an organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, ...

niacin
,
nicotinamide Niacinamide or Nicotinamide (NAM) is a form of vitamin B3 found in food and used as a dietary supplement A dietary supplement is a manufactured product intended to supplement one's diet by taking a pill Pill or The Pill may refer t ...

nicotinamide
,
flavones Flavones (from Latin ''flavus'' "yellow") are a class of flavonoids based on the backbone of 2-phenylchromen-4-one (2-phenyl-1-benzopyran-4-one) (as shown in the first image of this article). Flavones are common in foods, mainly from spices, and so ...
, flavonoid glycosides, and
estrogenic Estrogen, or oestrogen, is a category of sex hormone responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. There are three major endogenous estrogens that have estrogenic hormonal ...
substances.


Research

Extract An extract is a substance made by extracting a part of a raw material A raw material, also known as a feedstock, unprocessed material, or primary commodity, is a basic material that is used to produce goods, finished Product (business), prod ...

Extract
s of ''Salvia officinalis'' and ''S. lavandulaefolia'' are under preliminary research for their potential effects on human brain function. The
thujone Thujone () is a ketone In chemistry, a ketone is a functional group with the structure R2C=O, where R can be a variety of carbon-containing substituents. Ketones contain a carbonyl group (a carbon-oxygen double bond). The simplest ketone is ...

thujone
present in ''Salvia'' extracts may be
neurotoxic Neurotoxicity is a form of toxicity in which a biological, chemical, or physical agent produces an adverse effect on the structure or function of the central nervous system, central and/or peripheral nervous system. It occurs when exposure to a su ...
.


Cultivars

In favourable conditions in the garden, ''S. officinalis'' can grow to a substantial size (1 square metre or more), but a number of
cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human ...
s are more compact. As such they are valued as small ornamental flowering shrubs, rather than for their herbal properties. Some provide low
ground cover 250px, Groundcover of ''Vinca major'' Groundcover or ground cover is any plant that grows over an area of ground. Groundcover provides soil protection, protection of the topsoil from erosion and drought. In an ecosystem, the ground cover forms th ...

ground cover
, especially in sunny dry environments. Like many herbs they can be killed by a cold wet winter, especially if the soil is not well drained. But they are easily
propagate Propagation can refer to: *Chain propagation in a chemical reaction mechanism *Crack propagation, the growth of a crack during the fracture of materials *Propaganda, non-objective information used to further an agenda *Reproduction, and other forms ...
d from summer cuttings, and some cultivars are produced from seeds. Named cultivars include: * 'Alba', a white-flowered cultivar * 'Aurea', golden sage * 'Berggarten', a cultivar with large leaves, which rarely blooms, extending the useful life of the leaves * 'Extrakta', has leaves with higher oil concentrations * 'Icterina', a cultivar with yellow-green variegated leaves * 'Lavandulaefolia', a small leaved cultivar * 'Purpurascens' ('Purpurea'), a purple-leafed cultivar * 'Tricolor', a cultivar with white, purple and green variegated leaves 'Icterina' and 'Purpurascens' have gained the
Royal Horticultural Society The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultiv ...
's
Award of Garden Merit The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) is a long-established annual award for plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardeni ...
. File:Salvia officinalis Berggarten.JPG, 'Berggarten' File:Salvia officinalis 'Icterina'.jpg, 'Icterina' File:Salvia purpurea.JPG, 'Purpurascens' File:Salvia officinalis3.jpg, 'Tricolor'


References


External links


Salvia officinalis
Israel Native Plants
Salviae officinalis folium, European Medicines Agency
{{Authority control Herbs
officinalis ''Officinalis'', or ''officinale'', is a Medieval Latin epithet denoting organisms — mainly plants — with uses in medicine, herbalism and cookery. It commonly occurs as a Binomial nomenclature, specific epithet - the second term of a two-part b ...
Medicinal plants Plants described in 1753
Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus Taxonomy (biology), Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus (1707−1778), an 18th-century Swedish taxonomist, botanist, and zoologist. Known as the "father of modern taxonomy" – from his inventing and developing binomial nomenclature; the taxonomy (biology) ...