038. Salvia officinalis. Garden sage.

Botanical name: 

038. Salvia officinalis. 038. Salvia officinalis. C. Synonyma. Salvia. Pharm. Lond. & Edinb.
Salvia major. Gerard Emac. p. 764. Dodon. Pempt. p. 288. Bauh. Pin. p. 237.
Salvia major vulgaris. Park. Theat. p. 49.
Salvia latifolia. Bauh. Hist. iii. p. 304. Raii Hist. p. 509.
(greek) Theophrast. & (greek) Dioscoridis existimatur esse.
α Salvia major. C. Bauh. Aliorumque, s. c. Common, or Greater Garden Sage.
β Salvia minor, aurita et non aurita. Bauh. Pin. 237.
Salvia minor, seu angustifolia, Auctorum. Small Sage, or Sage of Virtue.
[Both these varieties are used medicinally; and the narrow leaved sage is by many preferred to the broad.]

Class Class Diandria. Ord. Monogynia. L. Gen. Plant. 37.
Ess. Gen. Ch. Cor. inaequalis. Filamenta transverse pedicello affixa.
Spec. Char. S. foliis lanceolato-ovatis integris crenulatis, floribus spicatis, calycibus acutis.

The root is perennial, long, and fibrous; the stalk is shrubby, square, firm, divided into many branches, and rises above two feet in height: the leaves are oblong, rough, crenulated, or finely notched at the edges, generally of a reddish or purplish tinge, and stand in pairs upon long footstalks: the flowers appear in June, and terminate the branches in long spikes, they are of a blue colour, monopetalous, tubular, and separate at the extremity into two lips; the upper lip is entire and concave, the lower divides into three roundish lobes, of which the middle one is the largest: the calyx is tubular, large, reddish, striated, bilabiated, and cut into acute segments; the two filaments are short, and crossed transversely by two others affixed to them; the antherae are large and yellow; the style is long, filiform, of a blue colour, and the stigma is bifid; the seeds are four, roundish, naked, and placed at the bottom of the calyx.

Sage is indiginous to the southern parts of Europe, and was cultivated in this country by Gerard, who first published a figure of this plant in the year 1597, and it is now a constant inhabitant of the kitchen garden: it has a fragrant strong smell, and a warm bitterish aromatic taste, like other plants containing an essential oil; it gives out its properties more perfectly to spirituous than to aqueous menstrua. In ancient times sage was celebrated as a remedy of great efficacy; ["Cur moriatur homo cui salvia crescit in horto? / Contra vim mortis non est medicamen in hortis." / — c "Salvia salvatrix naturae conciliatrix." / — "Salvia cum ruta faciunt tibi pocula tuta." "Efficacia et nomen herbae dedit (a salvando) et cumulum laudum attulit, in tremore artuum, paralysi, obstructione menstruorum, fluore albo, arthritide & rheumatismo, morbis contagiosis, apthis, ulceribus, aliisque multis morbis, quorum nomina colligere absque testium fide non interest."—— Murray Ap. Med. vol. 2. p. 167.] but, at present, few practitioners consider it as an article of much importance in the materia medica; and although frequently employed as a sudorific, it seems to have no advantage over other planes, whose aromatic flavour renders the fluid in which they are infused more acceptable to the stomach; and by some it has been successfully used even for the purpose of restraining inordinate sweating. [Infused in wine or spirit, Van Swieten found it remarkably efficacious in stopping night sweats. Vide Comment, tom. 2. p. 370.—Quarin remarks, that a strong infusion of sage in water was experienced to be equally successful. Method, med. febr. p. 37.—Baron Van Swieten also found it useful in restraining the improper continuing of a flow of milk from the breasts of women, after they had weaned their children. Com. tom. 4. p. 645.] As possessing a small share of aromatic and astringent power, it may prove a serviceable tonic in some cases of debility of the stomach and nervous system: the Chinese, who are said to have experienced the good effects of sage in this way, value it highly, and prefer it to their own tea. The power of this plant, in resisting the putrefaction of animal substances, has also been adduced in proof of its medicinal efficacy. [From the experiments of Etlinger, it is discovered to have a considerable share of antiseptic power. Vide Comment, de Salvia, p. 16.]

Medical Botany, 1790-1794, was written by William Woodville, M. D., and illustrated by James Sowerby.