Salvia consists of the dried leaves of Salvia officinalis, Linn. (N.O. Labiatae), a perennial plant indigenous to Southern Europe, and largely cultivated in gardens. The drug is official in the U.S.P. The leaves are greyish-green, petiolate, elliptical or ovate-oblong, 3 to 7 centimetres long, obtuse or subacute at the apex, rounded or subcordate at the base, thick, finely crenulate, very pubescent, and conspicuously reticulate-veined; odour, aromatic; taste, bitter and somewhat astringent.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of salvia is from 1 to 3 per cent. of a yellow or greenish-yellow volatile oil (specific gravity, 0.910 to 0.930) with a penetrating odour. The oil contains pinene, a sesquiterpene, cineol, borneol, thujone, and esters.
Action and Uses.—Salvia has carminative properties, and has been used in dyspepsia, but is mostly employed as a condiment. The volatile oil is said to be a violent epileptiform convulsant, resembling the essential oils of absinthe and nutmeg. The leaves may be administered in powder or as an infusion (1 in 20).
Dose.—1 to 4 grammes (15 to 60 grains).