Sage is a herb native to the Mediterranean, belonging to the Lamiaceae (the mint) family along with other herbs, such as oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme, and basil.
The herb has gray leaves up to 2.5 in long (6.4 cm) and flowers that are usually blue or purple, however, they can also be white or pink.
Sage is associated with a number of health benefits as it is very rich in antioxidants and important nutrients, such as vitamin K.
In fact, sage has been considered somewhat of a panacea (solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases) throughout history for its wide range of uses in cooking and medicine.
Sage was one of the ingredients of Four Thieves Vinegar - a mix of herbs which was made to prevent the plague.
The leaves of the herb are used in medicine to help alleviate symptoms of digestive problems and mental disorders, such as Alzheimer's and depression.
Sage is also used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics because of its unique pleasant aroma.
The scientific name of the herb Salvia officinalis originates from the Latin word "salvere" which in English means "to be saved."
Health benefits of sage
Packed with nutrients - sage is rich in essential oils and antioxidants (apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin). The herb is also a good source of vitamin K.
Treating Alzheimer's disease - taking sage may help improve memory and information processing among people who suffer from mild Alzheimer's disease.
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics concluded that S. officinalis may help reduce agitation of patients, but this needs to be confirmed.
Improving memory - A 50 microl dose of sage essential oil significantly improved immediate word recall in a study of more than twenty people published in the journal Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior.
These results "represent the first systematic evidence that Salvia is capable of acute modulation of cognition in healthy young adults", according to the study authors.
Anti-inflammatory - researchers at the University of Vienna, Austria, confirmed in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology that Salvia officinalis has anti-inflammatory properties. The team had been investigating the properties of herbs used in traditional Austrian medicine.
Helps diabetes type 2 patients - a team at the Research Institute of Medicinal Plants in Iran found that "Salvia officinalis leaf extract has anti-hyperglycemic and lipid profile improving effects in hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetic patients." In other words, sage is good at lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in patients with diabetes type 2. The study was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Other potential benefits of sage, which currently lack scientific evidence, include:
- Alleviating stomach pains
- Preventing painful periods
- Treating asthma
- Treating diarrhea
- Reducing excessive sweating
Written by Joseph Nordqvist