Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Salvia Dinivorum

Salvia is the generic name for sage encompasses about 700 herbaceous, shrublike species of plants in the mint family, Labiatea. The stem of these plants is squarish, and the leaves grow opposite to each other along a branch.

The common sage, S. officinalis, native to the Mediterranean region, is grown for its rough-textured, wooly leaves. These aromatic leaves, either fresh or dried, are used to flovor such meats as pork and sausage, cheese, and poultry seasoning. An essential oil is also produced from the leaves and used to flavor food, beverages, and perfumes. Sage tea has long been believed to be a spring tonic, increasing circulation, improving memory, and promoting longevity. Another medicinal herb, known as clary, S. sclarea, was used in past centuries in eyewashes to reduce inflammation.

Ornamental salvia from Brazil, scarlet sage, S. splendens, is often grown in flower gardens and borders for its vivid scarlet blooms, which are arranged in spikes. These flowers appear from early summer to fall. Two other ornamental salvias are S. farinacea, which has deep violet blue flowers and is grown as a bedding plant, and gentian sage, S. patens, with bright blued flowers and arrow-shaped leaves.

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