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The Genus Salvia and its Species

Salvia is a genus of plant that has several common species. Dr. Prabodh Satyal and William Setzer, APRC board members, have contributed to a couple papers on Salvia. The first paper focuses on the most well-known species, Salvia officinalis, or common sage.


Common sage (Salvia officinalis) is a popular culinary and medicinal herb. A literature survey has revealed that sage oils can vary widely in their chemical compositions. Fresh sage (Salvia officinalis, Jacobs Farm organic sage, Pescadero, CA, USA, grown in Mexico) was purchased from a local market in Huntsville, Alabama on 8 April 2017. The fresh leaves were used to create individual essential oils. The study of these oils has revealed the presence of five major chemotypes of sage leaf essential oils, with several subtypes, meaning there are many varieties of sage. Most sage oils belonged to the “typical”, α-thujone > camphor > 1,8-cineole, chemotype, but the essential oil compositions can vary widely and may have a profound effect on flavor and fragrance profiles as well as biological activities.

From: The Chemotaxonomy of Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) Based on the Volatile Constituents; Jonathan D. Craft, Prabodh Satyal and William N. Setzer

Sage, Clary Sage, & Andean Sage

The essential oils from three Salvia species from Heidelberg, Germany were analyzed in a recent study. The essential oils of S. officinalis (sage) and S. sclarea (clary sage) have more similarity to each other than S. discolor (Andean sage) oil, which is not surprising as S. discolor is a New World species whereas the former two are Old World species. S. officinalis cultivated in Germany is a α-thujone/camphor/1,8-cineole chemotype, cultivated S. sclarea is the linalyl acetate/linalool chemotype, and S. discolor, analyzed for the first time, is rich in intermedeol. The difference of constituents in these salvia varieties show the importance of sourcing pure oil. Oil that has been mixed with different varieties will have different benefits than pure oils.

From: Chemical compositions of the essential oils of three Salvia species cultivated in Germany; Farukh S. Sharopov, Prabodh Satyal,William N. Setzer, Michael Wink


These two papers are important to the essential oils industry in proving the importance of purity and sourcing in oils. The constituents of oil effect the flavor and fragrance of an oil, as well as the possible medicinal value. Salvia from different regions, or even different species, can have different effects, as these papers show with the research into the constituents of the oils.


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