Let’s talk about Sage

Trigger Warning: appropriation

Did you know that there are over 1200 types of identified Sage around the world [1,2]?

1-POWO (2023). “Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Salvia L. Retrieved 16 July 2023.”

2-USDA, NRCS. 2023. The PLANTS Database (Salvia L.). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC USA.

Did you also know that there are over 800 types of identified Sagebrush around the world [1,2]?

1-POWO (2023). “Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Artemisia L. Retrieved 16 July 2023.”

2-USDA, NRCS. 2023. The PLANTS Database (Artemisia L.). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC USA.

I have found in my correspondence research for smoke cleansing that a lot of what is identified by shops etc. as “sage” is not actually a true sage but a sagebrush and vice versa (found this specific information during my research from Grove and Grotto, great article (be aware of terminology used)).

“One of these is Black sage, Black Sage is like the mystical, shifty-acting cousin of the Sage clan—so shifty, in fact, that people can’t even agree on what plant it is! There are a few different products sold under the name “Black Sage.”

A true Black Sage, “Salvia mellifera” has long leaves that are dark green on top and silver underneath. It is found in the mountains of the West Coast from California north through British Columbia. The plant can be difficult to identify because it resembles other species. The leaves only darken dramatically in times of drought. To add to the confusion, there are several cultivars.

Other “Black Sage” products come from shrubs in the genus Artemisia. They are commonly called sagebrushes, but these dark-green plants are more closely related to the Daisy than to true Sage. When dried, “Artemisia tridentata” has a lighter, straw-brown color, and may also have small, crowded blossoms on its stalks. But “Artemisia douglasiana” is leafier and easy to mistake for dark Sage such as Salvia mellifera.

Why does it matter? The metaphysical properties of both plants are similar, but Artemisia-based smudges may also contain small amounts of thujone. This mildly trance-inducing compound is best-known as the active ingredient in traditional absinthe liqueur. Black Sage contains less thujone than the common herbs Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Black Sage won’t cause you to “trip” or wildly hallucinate. At most, it may intensify your efforts at visualization and vivify your dreams. Even so, some people (like pregnant women and straight-edgers) should avoid using Black Sage.” (Click link above to Grove and Grotto to read more of the article).

I found this rather interesting that since Black Sage “Salvia mellifera” has less thujone than Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) but most correspondences for Black Sage point towards a lot of psychic related properties (astral travel, clairvoyance, shamanic journeys, etc.)

I see a lot of "Black Sage’ identified as Salvia mellifera, Artemisia nova, Artemisia douglasiana and others and they are all different.

Basically, this post goes to say that you “should do your research with plants, flowers, herbs etc.”, especially if it is something that you are going to use in your work like Black Sage, expecting one result and it will have a different outcome even if you put all your energy and intent into it.

So, with that being said, I set about on researching True Sages “Family- Lamiaceae, Genus - Salvia L.” and Sagebrushes “Family- Asteraceae, Genus - Artemisia L.”.

I’m a bit of a geek at heart along with my OCD and I put together an excel spreadsheet that lists both Family & Genus for each and it also has their common names. Feel free to download from my Google Drive:

Sages & Sagebrush

Hope this is helpful.


Oh wow, I didn’t realize there were that many types of sage! :herb: I know about White Sage and Garden Sage, and I just recently learned about Tropical Sage! Thank you for putting all of this together - this is a great resource!


I couldn’t agree more! :raised_hands:

Every now and then I get a reminder about just how tricky plants and plant names can be. While living in Poland, I often saw chestnut trees and chestnuts would be all over the sidewalk and in the parks at certain times of years- but unlike the sweet, tasty chestnuts you can enjoy in the US and in Japan, the local chestnuts in Europe are toxic (source) :astonished: :chestnut:

The more plant research one does, the safer and better off they will be in growing, harvesting, foraging, and using the plants in their work! :herb::sparkles:

It is so generous of you to share your research, Suzanne- thank you so much! :pray: :heart:


Thanks for sharing @suzanne7 and I am 100% in agreement with you on doing your research as well!

@BryWisteria thanks for the interesting link on Chestnuts, I had no idea about Poland fury ‘horse chestnuts’.



Happy to share! :blush::heart: It was a big shock for me too- plants sure do like to keep us on our toes! :sweat_smile: :chestnut:

Blessed be!


Very interesting! I’ll be studying this in more detail!