Pineapple sage is known by other various names, including its botanical name Salvia elegans. It is called tangerine sage in some places. It has been cultivated since 1870 and was given the name Salvia rutilansas in 1873, a name which has now been largely forgotten. The herb is native to Central America where it grows wild in the pine-oak forests of Mexico and Guatemala. In Mexico, some refer to it as mirto or yerba del burro. The plant is not related to pineapples despite its common name and distinctive aroma; however, it is related to common sage and is in the mint family.
Pineapple sage is still a popular herb as far as Mexican folk medicine is concerned. Practitioners of traditional Mexican medicine use it as a sedative and to lower blood pressure.
The genus name of pineapple sage is Salvia, which comes from the Latin salvare. Salvare means to save, probably because of the powerful health benefits attributed to the sage family.
Pineapple sage flavor profile
Pineapple sage gets its name from the strong pineapple aroma exuded by the leaves. Some have likened the fragrance to that of canned crushed pineapple, mingled with the scent of common sage (Salvia officinalis). The flowers have a somewhat different flavor profile that includes the citrus and slightly musty mint notes often associated with common sage.
Health benefits of pineapple sage
Pineapple sage gets its powerful health benefits from the fact that it contains:
- Vitamins: Pineapple sage is an excellent source of vitamin K but also provides vitamins A and B6 in smaller amounts.
- Minerals: Both potassium and manganese are present in pineapple sage.
- Fiber: If you consume the whole leaves, pineapple sage can be a good source of dietary fiber.
You can use pineapple sage as treatment or preventative for conditions like:
- Anxiety: Pineapple sage has long been used in Mexican traditional medicine for relieving stress and anxiety.
- Poor digestion: Pineapple sage leaves can improve digestion of animal products including meat and dairy. Tea made from pineapple sage leaves is also widely considered to be effective for use as an antacid.
- Dementia: Pineapple sage and other relatives of common sage contain compounds that can help to protect against dementia and different types of neurodegenerative disease.
Pineapple sage is a valuable herb because of its versatility. Both the leaves and flowers of the pineapple sage plant are edible and may be used for seasoning poultry and other meats. While it will not make a perfect substitute for common sage, you can still use it in some of the same applications to get a fruity twist on the sage flavor. Alternatively, you can use the leaves raw in salads and desserts. The pineapple fragrance goes particularly well with fruit salads.
Most people prefer to use pineapple sage as a tea herb. Both dried and fresh pineapple sage can be used for this purpose. Pineapple sage tea is commonly sweetened with honey to enhance its flavor. The leaves are also popular for garnishing cold drinks such as iced teas and for muddling in cocktails like mojitos. Another way to use pineapple sage is for making simple syrups that you can add to your drinks. The flowers are sometimes combined with cream cheese in an attractive and flavorful spread.