Salvia spp. (S. officinalis & S. apiana)


Salvia spp. (S. officinalis & S. apiana)


The genus, Salvia is the largest in the mint (Labitae), family with over 800 species represented. Salvia derives from the Latin salvere ("to save"), referring to the long-held belief in the herb's healing properties. Pliny the Elder was the first author known to describe a plant called "Salvia" by the Romans. It has ben used widely as a culinary herb and traditional plant for a long list of functions. The plant has trichomes or hair like structures on the undersides of the leaves that when broken release stores of volatile oils which impart characteristic flavor and properties. Sage was officially listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1840 to 1900.

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Traditional Health Benefits of Sage

Immune Support, Men, Women, Brain & Cognitive Support

What is Sage Used for?

The German Commission E approved internal use for occasional mild gastrointestinal upset and excessive sweating. Sage conatins high amounts of volatile oils with antioxidant properties. The rosmarinic acid in sage functions with antioxidant properties. The leaves and stems of the sage plant also contain antioxidant enzymes, including SOD (superoxide dismutase) and peroxidase. The ability of sage to protect oils from oxidation has also led some companies to experiment with sage as a natural antioxidant additive to cooking oils that can extend shelf life and help avoid rancidity. Polysaccharides naturally found in Sage, have immune supportive characteristics that help the membranes of the throat support a normal inflammatory response. It is also helpful in supporting normal transition in women through the cooling properties it provides. Research indicates that it may also support healthy prostate function.

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Active Constituents of Sage

Volatile oils: camphor, 1,8-cineole, alpha- and beta-pinene, bornyl acetate, geraniol, limonene, camphene, linalool, terpineol, gamma-terpinene, alpha-humulene, and beta-caryophyllene. Phenolic diterpene compounds: carnosol, 12-O-methylcarnosol, 12-O-methyl carnosic acid, and carnosic acid. Triterpenoids: ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, and their derivatives, monoterpenes, & sesquiterpenes. flavonoids (including apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin), and phenolic acids, including rosmarinic acid.

Parts Used


Additional Resources

1.) Rzemykowska, Z. and Holderna-Kedzia, E. Phytochemical and microbiological studies of Salviae officinalis folium and Salviae miltiorrhizae radix extracts. Herba Polonica 2003;49:391-392. 2.) Malencic, D., Gasic, O., Popovic, M., and Boza, P. Screening for antioxidant properties of Salvia reflexa hornem. Phytother Res 2000;14(7):546-548. 3.) Santos-Gomes, P. C. and Fernandes-Ferreira, M. Organ- and season-dependent variation in the essential oil composition of Salvia officinalis L. cultivated at two different sites. J Agric.Food Chem. 2001;49(6):2908-2916. 4.) Rau, O., Wurglics, M., Paulke, A., Zitzkowski, J., Meindl, N., Bock, A., Dingermann, T., Abdel-Tawab, M., and Schubert-Zsilavecz, M. Carnosic Acid and Carnosol, Phenolic Diterpene Compounds of the Labiate Herbs Rosemary and Sage, are Activators of the Human Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma. Planta Med 2006;72(10):881-887. 5.) Miura, K., Kikuzaki, H., and Nakatani, N. Antioxidant activity of chemical components from sage (Salvia officinalis L.) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) measured by the oil stability index method. J Agric.Food Chem 3-27-2002;50(7):1845-1851. 6.) Miura, K., Kikuzaki, H., and Nakatani, N. Apianane terpenoids from Salvia officinalis. Phytochemistry 2001;58(8):1171-1175. 7.) Baricevic, D., Sosa, S., Della, Loggia R., Tubaro, A., Simonovska, B., Krasna, A., and Zupancic, A. Topical anti-inflammatory activity of Salvia officinalis L. leaves: the relevance of ursolic acid. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;75(2-3):125-132. 8.) Clebsch, Betsey, The New book of Salvias, Timber Press, 2003. Malencic D, Gasic O, Popovic M, Boza P. Screening for antioxidant properties of Salvia reflexa hornem. Phytother Res 2000 Nov;14(7):546-8 2000.

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

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