6 Health Benefits and Uses for Sage

While it is easy to forget about sage until Thanksgiving dinner comes around once a year, this herb is such an impressive natural remedy that you might want to give it some year-round attention.

As early as the tenth century Arab doctors prescribed sage (Salvia officinalis) as capable of producing immortality. While it may not help you to live forever, it might help you live longer and with a greater quality of life due to its many health-promoting properties, some of which include:

Memory Booster

Sage is a great all-natural memory booster. A British research team conducted a study of sage’s therapeutic properties on a group of 44 adults between the ages of 18 and 37. Some participants were given capsules of sage oil, while others were given a placebo of sunflower oil. Results showed that those who took the sage oil performed significantly better on memory tests than those who took the placebo. The people who were given sage as part of the study had improvements in both immediate and delayed word recall scores, as well as mood improvements. Additional research by the same scientific team led them to conclude that sage may also be helpful for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain Maintenance

While sage is showing promise in the treatment of brain disease, it’s also beneficial to the brain in healthy individuals. In research a number of significant effects on cognition were noted with the sage species Salvia lavandulifolia. The effects included improvements in both immediate and delayed word recall scores, mood and overall cognition. It appears to work by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme breaks down the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a role in mood regulation, brain-muscle coordination, and the formation of new memories. Since acetylcholine tends to be depleted in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, sage may be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Gene Genie

Sage has a proven history of boosting memory and alleviating menopausal and PMS symptoms, but perhaps the most exciting benefit of sage essential oil is that it may actually protect genes from damage. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, compounds in sage may protect DNA from damage and even stimulate DNA repair in already-damaged cells. While the research is new and the effect has not been tested in humans, this exciting advance could help in the prevention and treatment of genetic diseases as well as diseases with a genetic component, like cancer and heart disease.

Alzheimer’s Treatment

Sage has been found to be so powerful in its ability to treat Alzheimer’s disease that the German Ministry of Health is currently considering adding sage as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease to its Commission E Monographs—a compilation of the safety and effectiveness of herbs. While there are various species of sage, the one most commonly found to be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease is Salvia lavandulifolia.

Hormone Helper

Because of its estrogen-like properties, sage can help balance hormones in menstruating, nursing and menopausal women. It may decrease excessive menstruation and lactation and alleviate menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Inhalation of or massage with diluted sage essential oil is the most direct route of affecting hormones; however, using the herbal extract in tea or tincture form can also be helpful.

Multifaceted Healer

The German government already recognizes sage as a treatment for dyspepsia, excessive perspiration, and inflammation of the mouth and nose. (Dyspepsia is a medical term for gas, bloating, burning, and general discomfort of the upper abdomen.)

Using Sage

More than just seasoning for stuffing a turkey, fresh or dried sage is an excellent addition to soups, stews and other savory dishes. Add it toward the end of the cooking time, as excessive cooking can damage some of its therapeutic compounds. You can also use sage for tea: use one teaspoon of dried herb per cup of hot water and allow the tea to steep for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking two to three times daily. As with all herbs, fresh sage is best, but feel free to use dried if that’s all you have access to. Remember that sage is potent medicine, so if you are on any medication, consult with your doctor before taking it to avoid drug-herb interactions.

While sage is most commonly available as a dried herb, most of the health benefits demonstrated in studies have been achieved using sage oil capsules from the Salvia lavandulifolia plant. Because oil constituents vary by brand, follow label directions.

Related:
Don’t Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind
The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves
Should You Actually Starve a Fever?

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the upcoming book: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.

56 comments

heather g
heather g4 months ago

I have a huge sage plant which brings lots of joy to the bees in my garden. Apart from adding a few leaves to soups, I don't really know how to incorporate more of it in my diet.

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Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

Nice plant to grow, also. The gray leaves make a nice contrast with other plants, and the purple flowers are lovely and great for bees.

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Marija M
Marija M4 months ago

thank you very much.

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Carl R
Carl R4 months ago

Thank you!!!!

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Leanne K
Leanne K4 months ago

Re Cleo O's suggestion of sage and onion for a great stuffing - by jingos did I get told off for using the word stuffing! I was emphatically told it is 'seasoning - not stuffing!' 25 years later....

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Leanne K
Leanne K4 months ago

Who would have thought!

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Philippa P
Philippa Powers4 months ago

Thanks.

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Jean B
Jean B4 months ago

One of the few plants I can't kill. I love the combination of white beans, garlic and sage.
Like this: http://vegvault.blogspot.com/2015/02/white-beans-with-sage.html?m=1

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Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall4 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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