Salvia officinalis, the common garden sage, is a shrubby perennial herb native to Iberia, the Balkans, and North Africa. Common sage is widely naturalized throughout southern Europe and Asia Minor, as well as the United States (see the U.S.D.A. Plants Profile for a distribution map) and widely grown in temperate gardens all over the world.
Botanists describe the textured leaves as “rugose“. Both the rough texture and the aromatic oil in the leaves lent themselves to the use of sage as a dentifrice. Sage is still widely used in folk medicine and in aromatherapy, and its medicinal properties have been investigated in modern clinical trials.
The downy, gray-green leaves are an economically important crop, as sage is widely used as a culinary herb in many parts of the world.