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Sage is a spreading shrub that can grow up to 2m in height. The small leaves have a rough surface and the plant bears beautiful clusters of flowers. According to the variety, these can range from red, orange and yellow to purple pink and cream. Sage bears small green berries which turn black when ripe. The plant is very aromatic.

Traditional Uses


Scientific Name:
(Lantana camara – Verbenaceae)
Other Names:
White Sage, Wild Sage, Kayakit, Sauge, Kantutay
Parts Used:
Leaves, Stems, Root, Oil

Sage is used traditionally in Jamaica as a remedy for colds and fever. It is also used to relieve morning sickness and painful periods. Sage is said to be effective in treating gonorrhoea, measles, chicken pox and sores

.In the Eastern Caribbean, a juice of the sage leaf is used to treat dysentery and jaundice. The leaves are usually boiled and used as a bath for measles and chicken pox to relieve itching. An infusion or juice of the leaves is used to treat dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions. Sage oil is useful as an antiseptic for wounds and sores.

Sage is widely used around the world and most parts of the plant have medicinal properties. In Africa and India the root is used to treat malaria and rheumatism and the stem is boiled and applied to skin rashes. The leaves are used for colds, coughs, asthma and fever and the oil is used as an insecticide and insect repellent.

Modern Research & Uses

Studies have shown that sage has anti-tetanus, anti-hypertensive, anti-microbial, antiseptic, and anti-tumour properties. A study in India confirmed that a sage leaf extract demonstrated significant anti-tumour effect on a range of cancer cells in lab tests.

Sage also has anti-bacterial effects and research undertaken at the UWI reported that sage extracts were effective against staphylococcus aureus, staphylococcus epidermis and streptococcus A, B & D.

Plant Chemicals

Among the plant chemicals identified in sage are: alkaloids; lantanoids, triterpenes, napthaquinones, flavonoids, glycosides. Sage oil contains: beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, germacrene, davanone and gamma-curcumene

Other Uses

Sage has good potential as a key herb for the commercial production of essential oils in Jamaica, with the added opportunity to develop body-care and healing products using the extracted oils. The plant is also said to be rich in potassium and phosphorous and could be used in agricultural production as green mulch. Sage's known insecticidal activity could also be an added bonus for farmers and others.


  • Asprey, GF & Thornton, P - Medicinal Plants of Jamaica Parts 1-4 - West Indian Journal of Medicine vol. 2-4 (1953-1955)
  • Ayensu, ES – Medicinal Plants of the West Indies – (1981) – Reference Publications Inc.
  • Honeychurch, PN Caribbean wild plants & their uses - (1986) - Macmillan Caribbean
  • Mitchell & Ahmad - A Review of Medicinal Plant Research at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica 1948-2001 - WI Med J (2006);55(4):243
  • Nayak, Shivananda et al – Evaluation of wound healing activity of Lantana Camara – A Pre-Clinical Study- Phytotherapy Research – (2008) Vol 23 Issue 2, Pages 241 - 245
  • Raghu, C et al - In vitro cytotoxic activity of Lantana Camara L. - Indian J of Pharmacol (2004); 36: 94-95
  • Rana, VS et al - Chemical composition of the Leaf Oil of Lantana Camara - Jrnl of Ess Oil Res (JEOR) (2005); Mar-Apr
  • www.stuartxchange.org/Kantutay