Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Sabina officinalis

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Juniperus sabina, Linn.


Juniperus from Celtic Juneprus = bitter (fruit)
Sabina from Latin Herba Sabina = plant coming from Sabini land
Prostrata = often the plant is bend


Traditional name

Synonyms: Juniperus foetida, J. Lycia, J. prostrata, Sabina officinalis; English: Savin; French: Sabine; German: Sadebaum.

Used parts

stem and leaves


Plantae; Spermatophyta, Gymnospermae; Coniferopsida - Conifers; Coniferales; Cupressaceae


Original proving

Proved and then introduced into Homoeopathic practice by Hahnemann. Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med., Vol. VIII, 48.

Description of the substance

Description: Natural Order, Coniferae. The generic characters of savin are the same as in the common juniper. This species is naturally procumbent, though commonly met with as a low, bushy, straggling shrub, three to eight feet high, compact with numerous branches. Leaves quite small, oval, somber-green, lying close to the branches, and following one another in four imbricated rows. Branches round, tough, with a reddish-brown bark. Fruit small, oval, very smooth, almost black. The young twigs, with their leaves, are used in medicine. They contain an essential oil, which gives them a strong and rather unpleasant terebinthinate odor; and an acrid, bitter, and disagreeable taste.

Physical Characteristics
An evergreen shrub growing to 4m by 4m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf all year, in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The scented flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind. The plant not is self-fertile. We rate it 2 out of 5 for usefulness.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation details
Succeeds in most soils if they are well drained, preferring a neutral or slightly alkaline soil[1, 11]. Prefers a limestone soil[1]. Succeeds in poor soils and in light shade[197]. Established plants are drought tolerant, succeeding in hot dry positions[200]. Tolerates maritime exposure[200].

A very ornamental plant[1], there are many named varieties[188]. All parts of the plant have a powerful pungent smell[245].

Plants can be dioecious or monoecious. Male and female plants must be grown if fruit and seed are required.

The plant is sometimes attacked by a rust, this is a fungus with an aecidial stage on the leaves of pear trees[1]. Plants are resistant to honey fungus[88].
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 - 3 months duration[78, 81]. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process[11]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years[1].

Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn[1, 78].

Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78].
Plant: Crushed
All parts of the plant have a powerful pungent smell.