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Edible uses


Leaves and flowers - raw or cooked[1][2][3][4][5]. A very common herb, the strongly aromatic leaves are used as a flavouring in cooked foods[6]. They are an aid to digestion and so are often used with heavy, oily foods[7]. They impart a sausage-like flavour to savoury dishes. The young leaves and flowers can be eaten raw, boiled, pickled or used in sandwiches[6]. The flowers can also be sprinkled on salads to add colour and fragrance[6].

A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[6], it is said to improve the digestion[8][9].

An essential oil obtained from the plant is used commercially to flavour ice cream, sweets, baked goods etc[10][6].

Unknown part


Material uses

The leaves make excellent tooth cleaners[2][9], simply rub the top side of the leaf over the teeth and gums[K]. The purple-leafed form of sage has tougher leaves and is better for cleaning the teeth[K]. The leaves have antiseptic properties and can heal diseased gums[11].

An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery, hair shampoos (it is good for dark hair) and as a food flavouring[2][12][10]. It is a very effective 'fixer' in perfumes[13], and is also used to flavour toothpastes and is added to bio-activating cosmetics[14]. The plant (the flowers?) is an alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[15]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. The growing or dried plant is said to repel insects, it is especially useful when grown amongst cabbages and carrots[2][16][17][11]. It was formerly used as a strewing herb[11] and has been burnt in rooms to fumigate them[7].

A good dense ground cover plant for sunny positions, though it needs weeding for the first year or two[18]. They are best spaced about 60cm apart each way[19].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Sage has a very long history of effective medicinal use and is an important domestic herbal remedy for disorders of the digestive system. Its antiseptic qualities make it an effective gargle for the mouth where it can heal sore throats, ulcers etc[K]. The leaves applied to an aching tooth will often relieve the pain[4, K].

The whole herb is antihydrotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, galactofuge, stimulant, tonic and vasodilator[20][21][8][9][22][14]. Sage is also used internally in the treatment of excessive lactation, night sweats, excessive salivation (as in Parkinson's disease), profuse perspiration (as in TB), anxiety, depression, female sterility and menopausal problems[14]. Many herbalists believe that the purple-leafed forms of this species are more potent medicinally[14]. This remedy should not be prescribed to pregnant women or to people who have epileptic fits[14]. The plant is toxic in excess or when taken for extended periods[14] - though the toxic dose is very large. Externally, it is used to treat insect bites, skin, throat, mouth and gum infections and vaginal discharge[14]. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use[20]. The essential oil from the plant is used in small doses to remove heavy collections of mucous from the respiratory organs and mixed in embrocations for treating rheumatism[20]. In larger doses, however, it can cause epileptic fits, giddiness etc[20].

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Tonic'[23].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse[24]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. In areas where the plant is towards the limits of its hardiness, it is best to grow the plants on in a greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring of the following year.

Cuttings of heeled shoots, taken off the stem in May and planted out directly into the garden grow away well[25]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, June to August in a frame[26]. Easy. Cuttings of mature wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, November/December in a cold frame[26].

Layering in spring or autumn. Mound soil up into the plants, the branches will root into this soil and they can be removed and planted out 6 - 12 months later.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Salvia officinalis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a very well-drained light sandy soil in a sunny position[27]. Prefers a calcareous soil[20][2]. Dislikes heavy or acid soils[24][28]. Succeeds in dry soils, tolerating drought once it is established[29]. Sage can be killed by excessive winter wet[27] and winter-planted bushes often die[19].

A very ornamental plant[24], sage is commonly grown in the herb garden for culinary and medicinal purposes. There are some named varieties[25][6]. 'Albiflora' is said to be the best culinary sage[30]. 'Purpurea' has tougher leaves than the type and makes a better tooth cleaner[K]. Plants need to be trimmed in late spring in order to keep them compact[27]. They tend to degenerate after a few years and are best replaced after about 4 years[20]. The leaves emit a unique pungent aroma when pressed[31].

A good companion for many plants, including rosemary, cabbages and carrots[2][16][17][32], the growing plant is said to repel insects. It is inhibited by wormwood growing nearby and dislikes growing with basil, rue or the cucumber and squash family[2][16][17][32].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Salvia officinalis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Salvia officinalis.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Salvia officinalis
Imported References
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

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"image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


  1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
  4. ? 4.04.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
  6. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  7. ? Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
  8. ? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
  9. ? Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  10. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  11. ? Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
  13. ? 13.013.1 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  14. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.1 Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making. Faber ISBN 0-571-09990-4 (1977-00-00)
  16. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
  17. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.1 Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
  19. ? Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
  20. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  21. ? 21.021.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  23. ? 23.023.1 Westwood. C. Aromatherapy - A guide for home use. Amberwood Publishing Ltd ISBN 0-9517723-0-9 (1993-00-00)
  24. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  25. ? 25.025.1 Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  26. ? 26.026.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  27. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  28. ? Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
  29. ? Chatto. B. The Dry Garden. Dent ISBN 0460045512 (1982-00-00)
  30. ? 30.030.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  31. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  32. ? 32.032.1 Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)

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"image:Salvia officinalis0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Facts about "Salvia officinalis"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyLabiatae +
Belongs to genusSalvia +
Functions asGround cover +
Has common nameSage +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part + and Leaves +
Has edible useSeasoning +, Unknown use + and Tea +
Has environmental toleranceDrought +
Has fertility typeBee +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has hardiness zone5 +
Has imageSalvia officinalis0.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useCompost +, Essential +, Repellent +, Strewing + and Dental care +
Has mature height0.6 +
Has mature width0.6 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAntihydrotic +, Antiseptic +, Antispasmodic +, Aromatherapy +, Astringent +, Carminative +, Cholagogue +, Galactofuge +, Stimulant +, Tonic + and Vasodilator +
Has primary imageSalvia officinalis0.jpg +
Has search namesalvia officinalis + and x +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceNeutral +, Alkaline + and Very alkaline +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameSalvia officinalis +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheSoil surface +
Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +