Deriving its name from the Latin word “salvere”, meaning “to be saved”, Sage has an enduring history as a medicinal plant, stretching back to Ancient Egyptian times where it was used to boost fertility. Of its many uses, it was traditionally used as a remedy for inflammation of the mouth and throat, as a tooth polish and gargle and an elixir of overall good health.
Sage is a versatile herb that everyone should have in their cupboard – a delicious tea with so many health benefits!
Research has shown that even small amounts of sage, whether inhaled or consumed, can increase recall abilities and memory retention in people. The brain activity also demonstrates increased concentration and focus on a chosen topic, which means that for young people in school or for those in challenging, intellectually demanding careers, adding a bit of it to your diet may be subtle, but an effective brain booster.
Chewing on sage leaves is not always the most pleasant remedy, as the flavor can be quite intense, but this is the most effective way to get the organic compounds acting in your system. Creating a extract or steeping the leaves can also do the trick, but if you suffer from inflammatory issues, particularly in the respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts, you can eliminate that inflammation with this sage brew. The anti-inflammatory qualities of sage extend to health issues such as arthritis and gout, as well as general inflammation of the cardiovascular system, which can result in heart diseases and high blood pressure. The flavonoids and phenolic compounds found in it are responsible for these beneficial effects.
Chronic conditions and degenerative diseases can be some of the most debilitating and dangerous health concerns that you face in your life. Many of these are caused by free radicals, the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells, causing apoptosis or mutation. Antioxidant compounds found in sage, such as rosmarinic acid, luteolin, and apigenin, can work to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from creating oxidative stress in the heart, organ systems, skin, joints, muscles, and even the brain.
Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
As mentioned above, sage does have the ability to stimulate brain function to improve memory and concentration; however, it also works to eliminate cognitive disorders that may arise, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Although research into these applications is still in the relatively early stages, it is exciting to see real strides being taken with herbal alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment. The neural pathways stimulated by sage can keep the mind fresh and youthful well into your older age.
Strengthens Immune System
There are some antimicrobial properties that have been identified in sage, and while it is usually consumed in small quantities, you can create a topical application of sage (salve or extract) and use it to prevent bacterial and viral infections that attack the body through the skin. We often think of illness entering through our nose or mouth, but the skin can also be compromised and be used as a gateway for foreign agents. A topical cream or antibacterial routine that includes sage could be an extra line of defense against that sort of illness vector.
Improves Bone Health
One of the most overlooked benefits of sage is actually its superior level of vitamin K, an essential vitamin for the body that isn’t found in many foods. Vitamin K is a crucial element in developing bone density and ensuring the integrity of our bones as we age. If you suffer from early signs of osteoporosis or have lived a rather nutrient-poor, sedentary lifestyle, your bone health is likely low. Adding sage leaves to your diet can increase your vitamin K levels significantly, as a single serving has 27% of your daily recommended intake.
A topical salve can be created using sage leaves or a extract of the plant that has been shown to be effective against certain skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. These blemishes can be quickly soothed and their appearance can be reduced gradually if you regularly apply sage extracts and salves to the inflamed or affected areas.
There may be some debate about the efficacy of sage on certain health conditions explained above, but when it comes to diabetes, there is a widespread agreement. It contains certain extracts and chemicals that mimic the drugs typically prescribed for managing diabetes. It appears to regulate and inhibit the release of stored glucose in the liver, preventing major fluctuations of blood sugar, which can help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes or at least manage the condition if it has already manifested.
Aids in Digestion
The rosmarinic acid, found in sage, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent for the stomach. It prevents gastric spasms and can significantly lower the occurrence of diarrhea and gastritis for patients suffering from uncomfortable and embarrassing conditions. [Adding it to your meals can get your entire digestive process back on track and reduce inflammation throughout the gut.
Sage assists in lowering cholesterol and blood glucose — A 2013 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine showed that participants given sage leaf extract had lower fasting glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels, but higher HDL (good cholesterol) after three months of treatment.
Increased body weight and obesity are known to contribute to an array of health complications, including type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Researchers developing natural alternatives to weight-loss control methods studied the effects of the extract derived from the leaves of common sage. Animal-based tests indicate that the methanolic extract inhibited the absorption of fat in the pancreas, leading to a decrease in overall body weight.
Treats Menopausal Symptoms
Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, nighttime sweating and occasional palpitations. These symptoms arise from hormonal imbalances, namely lowered estrogen levels.
Whilst studies of Sage in this area are quite limited, it has been well documented for centuries that its use in the alleviation of night sweats and hot flushes has considerable effect. A study was conducted in 2011 by researchers Bommer et al to assess the efficacy and safety of Sage as a herbal tonic to reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flushes. 71 menopausal women with an average age of 56 were assessed across eight treatment centres in Switzerland. All had been menopausal for at least a year and were experiencing in excess of 5 hot flushes a day and were treated with a daily tablet of fresh Sage leaves for a period of eight weeks.
Half the women experienced a significant decrease in hot flush symptoms after four weeks, and 64% benefitted from the fresh sage preparation after persevering with the treatment for eight weeks. On average, the hot flushes decreased every week and incidences of very severe flushes were eliminated completely. The study showed a decrease in both the frequency and severity of hot flushes among those taking fresh sage daily. The results strongly support its use in a clinical setting to alleviate the menopausal symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats.
A study conducted by researchers in India sought to understand the relationship between sage and possible anti-diarrheal effects. The data from the in vitro and in vivo research suggested that an extract of the sage leaves inhibited gut motility and curbed spasmodic activity of the gut. This study provided support for the medicinal use of sage to treat diarrhea, gastritis and also abdominal colic.
You can also use sage to relieve ailments including sore throat, cough and the common cold. Simply steep a teaspoon of sage leaves in half a cup of water for 30 minutes and then use it as a gargle. A 2009 study even concluded that using a sage and echinacea spray is almost as effective as a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray in relieving acute sore throat.