Salvia Fast Facts

Overview

There are over 800 species of salvia or sage. Belonging to the mint family Lamiaceae, salvias are popular herbs for cooking, herbal remedies and garden ornamentals.

History

Garden sage, S. officianalis, has been used since medieval times in Europe and ancient Greece and was introduced to North America with the first settlers. Salvias also grow in Central America and in Asia.

Growth

Generally they prefer well-drained or dry soils, which tend more toward alkalinity or neutral pH. Most prefer sunny locations, but their needs vary among different species. Many varieties tend to get sparse and woody as they age.

Pests

Sages may be prone to certain pests, especially spider mites, aphids and whitefly. This is especially the case if grown under cover.

Herbal Uses

White sage has long been burned for its aroma. Garden sage, S. officianalis, has especially potent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects and can be made into teas to relax spasms, suppress perspiration and support liver function.

Edible Uses

Many sages have culinary uses such as flavoring chicken or pork dishes, salads or other foods. Some varieties also have fruity flavors and are added to salads.

References

  • Sages of the Genus Salvia
  • Encyclopedia of Herbs
  • White Sage as Sacred
Keywords: salvia, sage, herbs

About this Author

Amy Hengst is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area, with expertise in technology, education, and gardening. She's written about computer networking, IT Security, and also maintains a regular blog about computer ergonomics and alternative health. When not writing, she's out taking photographs or zooming by on her bicycle.