Herbs & Plants

Lyre-Leaved Sage

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Botanical Name:Salvia lyrata
Family: Lamiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Salvia
Species: S. lyrata
Common Names: Cancer Root, Lyreleaf Sage, Wild sage,Cancerweed,

Habitat:Lyre-leaved Sage is found in sandy soiled woods and clearings.Dry, open woods and dry thickets, barrens, roadsides, lawns and waste places. Eastern N. America – Pennsylvania to Florida, west to Texas and Illinois.

Description:It is a herbaceous perennial plant with low growing leaves and flowering stems growing to 50 cm tall. The leaves are arranged in a basal rosette of large leaves, and smaller leaves in opposite pairs on the erect flowering stem. The basal leaves are up to 15 cm long and 5 cm broad, with several lobes, some approximating to the shape of a lyre, from which the species is named. The flowers are pale blue, up to 25 mm long. The species is often a lawn weed that self seeds into lawns and is tolerant of being mowed. It has square, slightly hairy, stem and produce whorls of blue or violet tubular flowers. The leaves form a basal rosette, are up to 8″ long, and often have dark red or purple areas along the main veins, are irregularly cleft and some times lobed. Gather fresh young edible leaves in spring. Gather entire plant as flowers bloom, dry for later herb use.
Flower size: 1 inch long , Flower color: pale blue-purple. Flowering time: May to June

Identification: Flowers tubular, violet to blue-violet. Lower petals lobes fused into a three-lobed hanging banner. Upper petal lobe narrow, folded, containing the stamens. Sepals fused forming a spiny capsule containing the corolla. Stem square, weakly hairy. Upper leaves blade-shaped, with slightly irregular outer margins. Lower leaves forming a rosette with outer margins irregularly lobed. Plant 1 to 3 feet in height.

Cultivation and uses: It requires a very well-drained light sandy soil in a sunny position.It is sometimes grown in gardens for its attractive foliage and flowers. Several cultivars have been developed with purple leaves. Two readily available seed raised cultivars include:

‘Purple Prince’ – Grows about 35 cm tall with reddish purple colored veins and dark purple spikes with small lilac colored flowers in dark purple calyces.
‘Purple Volcano’ – Grows about 35 cm tall with dark purple leaves that have a shiny sheen to them. The flowers are light blue in color.

Medicinal Properties:
Medicinal and edible herb, as an alternative medicine it is carminative, diaphoretic, laxative, and salve. Lyre-leaved sage has some of the same medicinal properties of the other sages but is very week. It is used mainly as a gargle in the treatment of sore throat and mouth infections. Medicinal salve made from root is applied to sores. Warm infusion of herb is taken as a laxative or for colds, coughs and nervous debility. This sage is not very strong tasting, and has a rather pleasent minty flavor, fresh young leaves are edible in salads, or cooked as pot herb.

Lyre-leaved sage is also a folk remedy for cancer (as the plant grows like a cancer upon the earth) it is therefore said to cure it. The fresh leaves are said to remove warts.

Medicinal tea: To 1 cup water add 1 tbsp. dried herb, bring to boil, steep 10 min. strain, sweeten to taste, drink warm at bed time.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.