Russian Sage Edible?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Rick Berger
Posted on: July 11, 2007

I recently planted Russian sage in my perennial garden. It looks nice, but is it edible?

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a distant relation to the true garden sage (Salvia officinalis) commonly used in cooking -- both are aromatic and both belong to the same family of plants, the Lamiaceae, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Frankly, before you posed your question, I had always thought of Russian sage only as an aromatic plant useful in potpourris. However, according to the "Plants for a Future Database", Russian sage is listed as edible, as the "small lavender flowers have a sweet flavour and can be eaten in salads or used as a garnish." I have not tried the flowers but they sound they could be a fun addition to summer salads. As always, when trying a new ingredient, it is wise to exercise caution, adding small amounts until you are sure that there are no adverse effects. Plants that do not have a long history of use can present unexpected risks to some individuals such as allergic reactions. Even if the new ingredient seems safe you can never rule out the possibility that there are long term negative implications to health, such as cancer. If you choose to use it, use it in moderation.

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