Known by names such as common sage, culinary sage, broadleaf sage, golden sage, and more, Sage or otherwise scientifically known as Salvia officinalis, is a small evergreen shrub that belongs to the Lamiaceae family –alongside other herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. It has woody stems, greyish-green edible leaves, and distinct bluish-purple flowers with a strong aroma and unique overall flavour. Despite being native to the Mediterranean region, it has been naturalized in many other places and has now become a staple and valued herb in various cuisines all around the world.
Besides adding flavour to meals, Sage also has a long history of medicinal use due to its incredible therapeutic and healing properties. For centuries, both Eastern and Western traditional medicines have used this herb for treating ailments ranging from mental disorders to menopause symptoms. Apart from this, it is also used for treating conditions such as sore throat, migraine, dental problems, stomach disorders, skin conditions, high cholesterol, fever, joint pain, etc. It is extremely high in antioxidants and is packed with essential nutrients and compounds, which is why it is also available in various forms, including tea, oil, tonic or capsules to reap the medicinal benefits.
In addition to this, sage is also used as a pesticide and a natural cleaning agent and as a burning agent in many spiritual or religious practices.
Benefits of Sage:
- Improves Mental Health: Sage plant is known to be extremely beneficial in treating neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to its rich antioxidant content which helps improve cognitive skills, promote calmness and relaxation, enhance focus and concentration of an individual.
- Reduces Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels: Several studies have shown a significant improvement in Blood glucose and Cholesterol levels after regular consumption of sage extract.
- Eases Menopause Symptoms: Traditional, as well as modern medicines, have recognized the medicinal benefits sage possesses when it comes to reducing menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, excessive sweating, irritability, etc without influencing hormone levels.
- Strengthens Bones and Muscles: Sage contains a good amount of vitamin K which is essential in improving and strengthening bones. It also contains vitamin D which helps in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, thereby giving strength and supporting the skeletal frame of the body.
- Promotes Healthy Oral Health: Sage is known to possess potent antimicrobial properties which help against cavity-causing bacteria and fungus. It also helps in treating cold sores and in eliminating plaque build-up.
- Nourishes The Skin: The rich antioxidant and antimicrobial presence in sage help in reducing free-radical damage to the skin and helps prevent UV damage, spots, wrinkles, dark circles, etc. It also reduces the risk of skin cancer.
- Improves Digestion: Due to the abundant presence of anti-inflammatory agents like rosmarinic acid, Sage offers an excellent natural solution to treating inflammatory pain, especially in the stomach. It also increases nutrient absorption and helps manage digestive issues like gastritis, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, etc.
- Reduces Cancer Risks: Several animal and test-tube tests have demonstrated sage’s ability to not only suppress the growth of cancer cells but also stimulate cell death in certain types of cancer, including those of the mouth, skin, breast, colon, liver, and kidney. However, more studies are yet to be conducted to determine whether sage is effective at fighting cancer cells in humans.
Sage is generally safe for consumption and causes little to no known side effects. It is an excellent herb with numerous promising health benefits that will add aroma and flavour to almost any meal. You can have it fresh, dried or in the form of tea.