8 responses to “Salvia viridis ‘Pink Sundae’”

  1. Patrick Collins

    A Modern Herbal is available online so the whole quote can be found (Salvia horminum is now considered to be the same as Salvia viridis):

    Another south European species, an annual, S. Horminum, the RED-TOPPED SAGE, has its whorls of flowers terminated by clusters of small purple or red leaves, being for this peculiarity often grown in gardens as an ornamental plant. The leaves and seed of this species, put into the vat, while fermenting, greatly increase the inebriating quality of the liquor. An infusion of the leaves has been considered a good gargle for sore gums, and powdered makes a good snuff.

    However, it should be noted that Salvia viridis is known as Wild Clary and the addition of Clary (or Clary Sage), Salvia sclarea, to increase the intoxicating qualities of beers was well-known. There may have been some confusion here between the types of Clary. This is what A Modern Herbal says of Salvia sclarea.

    Waller (1822) states it was also employed in this country as a substitute for Hops, for sophisticating beer, communicating considerable bitterness and intoxicating property, which produced an effect of insane exhilaration of spirits, succeeded by severe headache. Lobel says:
    ‘Some brewers of Ale and Beere doe put it into their drinke to make it more heady, fit to please drunkards, who thereby, according to their several dispositions, become either dead drunke, or foolish drunke, or madde drunke.’

    Many essential oil vendors will warn against mixing alcohol and the use of clary sage oil from Salvia sclarea. I once accidentally did that when having a bath with a few drops of clary sage oil after drinking a small amount of vodka. The ceiling became profoundly textured and mobile. It was simultaneously worrying and profoundly boring.

    Robert Tisserand has mentioned this contraindication in his books but the Tisserand webshop does not mention it.

    Salvia viridis has none of the sclareol that is characteristic of Salvia sclarea essential oil.

    1. Patrick Collins

      The Salvia chapter of A Modern Herbal is at:


      The whole book is online and has some fascinating historical information. It is incredibly out-of-date as it was published in 1931. It should not be used for medical advice.

  2. Patrick Collins

    I believe I have found the source of confusion. “The new family herbal; etc” by William Meyrick, published in 1790.

    The section headed Clary, Salvia horminum, is quite clearly describing Salvia sclarea, not Salvia horminum. The plant is described as biennial, not annual, three to four feet tall rather than a maximum of two feet, large flowers rather than small and a native of Greece rather than Britain. The rest of the description also clearly fits S. sclarea rather than S. horminum. The uses given cover all those repeated by both Wikipedia and A Modern Herbal, though with some extras.

    The leaves and seeds of Clary have a warm bitterish taste, and a strong aromatic, but somewhat disagreeable smell. They are of a cordial, corroborating, and detersive nature, and are useful in hysterical complaints, the whites, &c. Lewis.

    A conserve of the tops of Clary warms the stomach, helps digestion, removes flatulencies, acts as a cordial, and is good in the head-ach, lowness of spirits, and all other nervous disorders. Hill.

    An infusion of the leaves is a good gargle for putrid spongy gums; and the powder of them snuffed up the nose excites sneezing, and a discharge of watry humours from the head; the leaves or seed put into the vat with ale while fermenting, greatly increase its inebriating quality.

    A clear case of a small error in print being repeated down the centuries by subsequent authors. Although the confusion is understandable. Caspar Bauhin had called the plant Horminum sclarea in a book published in 1671. Linnaeus named both species in 1753. Botanical descriptions in the 18th century were cursory and tended to refer to previous descriptions making it difficult to understand which plant was being described.

    1. Patrick Collins

      Linnaeus has Salvia horminum as Bauhin’s Horminum sativum and Salvia sclarea as Bauhin’s Horminum sclarea. Just to clarify what I wrote before.

      https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/358048#page/36/mode/1up with S. sclarea on page 27.

    2. Patrick Collins

      Oops, my mistake. I was thinking of Salvia verbenaca, another plant also called Wild Clary that is native to Britain. Salvia horminum is native to Southern Europe including Greece but so is Salvia sclarea.

      I shouldn’t stay up so late.

  3. Wendy Burke

    Hi! I have just started getting your wonderful photos of the varying plants. I was wondering if this
    particular salvia plant would grow over my way on Vancouver Island. I live near the Oyster River
    in Campbell River. The soil hear appears to be dry & rocky. My husband usually has to put lots
    of mulch in the soil, but sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. I can grow lots or pre-
    nniel plants eg: heather, roses, tons of blueberry plants etc. I would appreciate any answer
    back – even if it is negative. Thanks so much. Wendy Burke, Campbell River, B.C. My E-mail
    address is wburke1@telus.net.

    1. Patrick Collins

      I don’t know about Canada but the RHS page shows them as pretty adaptable to most conditions if you don’t go below -15C. They like well-drained soil.

      However, Washington State prohibits the import of seed from the very similar Salvia sclarea and Salvia pratensis as noxious weeds, so it might not be the best idea to introduce them.

  4. Karen Shuster

    Speaking of salvias, salvia coccinea ‘Summer Jewel Red’ in a container is still blooming on my patio in False Creek. What a great plan, beloved by hummingbirds.

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