Salvia lyrata – also known as lyreleaf sage, wild sage, cancerweed


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.

lyreleaf sage 2

Lyreleaf sage leaves

Growing lyreleaf sage
Start seeds inside 6 weeks before planting outside. Fill small pots with high quality seed starting mix or lightweight potting soil. Moisten the soil in the cups thoroughly, then press the seeds on top of the soil. Do not cover the seeds as they require light to germinate. Place the cups in a warm and sunny area. Keep the soil moist but not overly wet. The seeds will sprout in about two weeks. Plant outdoors once all danger of frost is past.
Traditional uses
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.


2 Comments on Salvia lyrata – also known as lyreleaf sage, wild sage, cancerweed

  1. Jack R. Sherman // February 22, 2015 at 3:02 am // Reply

    Thanks Azul,

    Your herbal information is particularly helpful in treating skin conditons of the elderly.

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