McCormick Science Institute



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Sage Page Main

Sage is the dried leaves of the herb Salvia officinalis. The aromatic leaves are silvery gray in color. Cut Sage refers to leaves which have been cut rather than ground into smaller pieces. Cut Sage is preferred when the user wants the Sage to be apparent in the end product. Rubbed Sage is put through minimum grinding and a coarse sieve. The result is a fluffy, almost cotton-like product, unique among ground herbs. More Sage is sold in the rubbed form than any other.


Sage is used in Greek, Italian, and European cuisines. It is used to season sausages, poultry, and fish. Sage has been traditionally used for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.


Historically, Southeastern Europe has been the principal producer of Sage. Dalmatian Sage, as it is commonly called, has been recognized as superior in the United States. It is highly aromatic, noted for its mellowness and is smoother tasting due to differing essential oil components.


Sage was used during the Middle Ages to treat many maladies including fevers, liver disease, and epilepsy. The herb was used in England to make a tea that was considered a pleasant and healthful beverage. One common belief was that sage strengthened the memory, hence a sage, or a wise man, always had a long memory. In the 9th century, Charlemagne had sage included among the herbs grown on the imperial farms in Germany. During the 17th century, the Chinese exchanged three or four pounds of their tea with Dutch traders for one pound of European sage leaves.

Quick Facts

Whole Sage
Whole Sage
Rubbed Sage
Rubbed Sage


Silvery gray

Flavor & Aroma

Strongly aromatic

Sensory Profile

Sage is highly aromatic and is characterized by a medicinal, piney-woody flavor.