If you live on the U.S. mainland, especially the eastern half, you’ve probably seen this prolific plant growing along roadsides or in vacant lots. It is also planted in gardens.
It prefers full sun, and loamy soil that is rich in organic matter. The plants are beautiful when in bloom, producing pale, blue bell-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
Native Americans used the mature roots as a salve for sores, and brewed the leaves as a tea for coughs and lung ailments.
Years ago, farmers used this medicinal herb as a poultice to cure cancer in mild stages. Salvia comes from the Latin “to heal”. Old timers claimed this “cancer weed” was used to cure blood-red or black splotches on their arms and faces. The medical community though does not recognize cancerweed as a cure for early stages of skin melanoma.
This article is for informational purposes only.