Summary of black sage and its traditional use

Kumeyaay name: ha'anya yul

Black Sage (Salvia mellifera)


Black sage is highly aromatic shrub that grows from 3-6 feet in height. This particular sage has a dark appearance, especially during the dry season. This plant is highly aromatic and is a common member of the coastal sage scrub of southern California.

The Kumeyaay ground black sage seeds to produce a mush. This mush was mixed with water and eaten. The seeds are also eaten raw. Leaves and stems were boiled and used to create a bathing water that would help alleviate the flu, arthritis or rheumatism.



Black sage in flower

Photo credit: Jerry Kirkhart from Los Osos, Calif. CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons