Summary of cleveland sage and its traditional use

Kumeyaay name: mulh'amulh

Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

The cleveland sage is a popular, perennial sage plant that is native to northern Baja and southern California. This evergreen shrub reaches 3-5 feet in height. The leaves are aromatic. The particular cultivar growing in the Kumeyaay Garden is a Winnifred Gilman. This popular cultivar produces striking, violet-blue flowers in the summertime.

The Kumeyaay use the seeds of the Cleveland sage to season wheat. Leaves are burned for ceremonial smudges. The seeds are also toasted and ground up to produce a pinole. Pinole is an edible mush made from ground seeds. Leaves are also used to treat a cough or chest cold or to resolve issues with poison oak. Leaves can also be burned inside a residence for the sake of fumigation.



The purple flowers of the Cleveland sage


Photo by David J. Stang CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons