10 April 2010

Salvia Oxford Blue - Clary Sage

Salvias are a favorite of mine and I'm adding seed grown Oxford Blue to the beds this spring.

The seeds are from Chiltern in England and the plant is called Salvia hormium Oxford blue in the catalog.

Well, it's difficult to research this plant since it has several names going for it. Its family name is Labiatae/Lamiaceae or mint, of course.

One synonym is Salvia viridis. Other names include Clary sage Oxford blue. The Backyard Gardener calls it Oxford Blue Annual Clary Sage, pretty much covering all bases.

It is an annual that grows to 18-inches tall, though Clemson U. says it will be 2-feet tall by the end of the summer.

Just to throw a little science into the mix, Purdue's Hort Dept says
"clary, clear eye, eyebright, clarywort, and musoatel sage, the species is widely cultivated throughout the temperate regions of the world. Principal production centers include France, the USSR and Hungary. Reaching a height of 1 to 1.5 meters during flowering, the plant is characterized by broad-ovate, green, pubescent leaves, and the economically important lilac to blue-colored flowers. The name sclarea is Latin for clear or bright, in reference to the color of the flowers, and the name clear eye refers to the traditional use of the plant for clearing the eyes.

Fresh and dried leaves of clary sage have been used as flavoring agents in adulteration of wine, in substitution for hops, and in adulteration of digitalis. The flowers are used in herbal teas, sachets, potpourris, and beverages. The essential oil is used as a fragrance and fixative in the perfume industry. The concrete and absolute, often blended with lavender, jasmine, or other scents, are used in soaps, detergents, creams, powders, perfumes, and lotions (14.1-8). Clary sage is also grown as an ornamental.

As a medicinal plant, clary sage is known for the mucilaginous seeds used to clear the sight and reduce inflammation of the eye. The plant has reportedly been used for its antispasmodic, astringent, and carminative properties. Clary sage has been used in treatment of cancer. The plant displays lecithinic properties and the seed contains anti-Tn-specific agglutinins. Antispasmodic activity is probably attributable the presence of nerol."

Well, and, I hope the blue flowers are pretty to look at and loved by butterflies, skippers and their friends, since that's why I'm growing it.

Anyone out there experienced with this annual salvia?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I planted a few seeds years ago and it took off and is blooming this year. i use the leaves in a beeswax and oils salve. Am interested in how to use the seeds for an eye wash

Martha said...

Hi - Did you find that information yet?