tridentata, commonly called big sagebrush, Great Basin sagebrush or (locally)
simply sagebrush, is an aromatic shrub from the family Asteraceae, which grows
in arid and semi-arid conditions, throughout a range of cold desert, steppe,
and mountain habitats in the Intermountain West of North America. The
vernacular name "sagebrush" is also used for several related members
of the genus Artemisia, such as California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica).
and other Artemisia shrubs are the dominant plant species across large portions
of the Great Basin. The range extends northward through British Columbia's
southern interior, south into Baja California, and east into the western Great
Plains of New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.Several major
threats exist to sage brush ecosystems, including human settlements, conversion
to agricultural land, livestock grazing, invasive plant species, wildfires, and
provides food and habitat for a variety of species, such as sage grouse,
pronghorn antelope, grey vireo, pygmy rabbit, and mule deer. Artemisia
tridentata is the state
flower of Nevada.
has a strong pungent fragrance (especially when wet) due to the presence of
camphor, terpenoids and other volatile oils. The taste is bitter and, together
with the odor, serves to discourage browsing by many herbivores. It is an
evergreen shrub, keeping some of its leaves year-round (although it loses many
of them in the late summer). The leaves—attached to the branches at the axillary
nodes—are wedge-shaped, 1–3 cm long and 0.3–1 cm broad, with the wider outer
tips divided into three lobes (hence the scientific name tridentata). The
leaves are covered with fine silvery hairs.
Big sagebrush is used as a herbal medicine by Native
Americans throughout the Intermountain West of North America, most notably as a
smudging herb. It is also used for preventing infection in wounds, stopping
internal bleeding, and treating headaches and colds.
Chemically, the active medicinal constituents include
camphor, terpenoids, and tannins.
The Navajo use the vapors of sagebrush as a treatment
for headache. The Okanagan and Colville people used sagebrush to smoke hides.
Among the Zuni people, an infusion of the leaves is
used externally for body aches. The infusion is also taken as a cold medicine.
It is also placed in shoes to treat athlete's foot, fissures between toes, and
as a foot deodorant.
Sagebrush essential oil contains approximately 40%
l-camphor; 20% pinene; 7% cineole; 5% methacrolein; and 12% a-terpinene, d-camphor,
By Peemus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8246236