Hailing from the mint family, sage is a powerhouse of nutrients and has many culinary uses.
It is a great source of flavonoids, such as apigenin, diosmetin and luteolin, and a good source of phenolic acids. Sage is rich in vitamin K as well as vitamins A and C. In addition, this herb contains exceptionally high levels of the B-complex group of vitamins.
Both fresh and dried sage are good sources of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.
Sage’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antifungal properties make this herb beneficial in treating many health problems.
Adding sage to a dish is a great way to enhance flavor without adding extra calories or sodium.
This herb can be used both internally and externally. You can use the sage leaves directly, or consider sage extracts in the form of sage oil, sage leaf capsules and sage tea.
To make the tea:
- Add 1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon of dried sage) to 1 cup of hot water.
- Let it steep for 5 minutes, then strain.
- Add some lemon and honey for taste.
- Drink this tea 2 or 3 times daily.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of sage.
1. Boosts Mood & Relieves Anxiety
Sage is beneficial for boosting your mood and relieving anxiety. In Chinese medicine, sage been used as a treatment for depression.
The herb contains thujone, which is a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin (5-HT3) receptor antagonist that helps ease grief and depression.
Sage also slows down the release of enzymes that break down acetylcholine (ACh), an important neurotransmitter. Maintaining optimal levels of ACh means a better mood.
A 2006 study published in Neuropsychopharmacology highlights the positive effect of cholinesterase-inhibiting properties of sage on mood, anxiety and performance following the administration of single doses to healthy young participants.
2. Soothes a Sore Throat
Sage is effective in the treatment of an inflamed throat and tonsils as well as an ulcerated throat.
Sage has antibacterial properties that can fight the infection and speed up the healing process. Also, it soothes the throat pain as well as irritation and inflammation.
- Put 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried sage leaves in a cup.
- Pour 1 cup of hot water over it.
- Cover and steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain and add ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Gargle with this solution as needed.
Also, drink 2 to 3 cups of sage tea daily until you recover completely.
3. Improves Oral Health
Sage is an excellent antioxidant, which helps fight free radicals and improve oral health. Being a natural antiseptic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory agent, sage can even take care of bleeding, tenderness, redness and swelling in the gums due to gingivitis.
A 2015 study published in the Iranian Journal of Microbiology reports that the antibacterial effect of sage extract mouthwash is effective against streptococcus mutans in dental plaque.
You can simply chew sage leaves to clean your mouth and fight bad breath. Sage tea (cooled) can be used as an effective mouthwash to treat gum disease, throat infections and canker sores.
4. Enhances Memory Power
Another wonderful health benefit of sage is that it helps improve memory power. Sage contains components that can help improve concentration and increase mental alertness and attention span.
A 2003 study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior reports that sage essential oil significantly improves immediate word recall. This result represents the first systematic evidence that sage is capable of acute modulation of cognition in healthy young adults.
Another study published the same year in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics reports that sage extract is beneficial in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2006 study published in Nutrition also reports the positive effects of sage leaves on memory retention and its interaction with the cholinergic system in rats.
5. Lowers Glucose Levels
Although you shouldn’t ignore your diabetes medicines and insulin, including sage in your diet can help manage this illness.
Sage has antihyperglycemic properties. This means it helps lower blood glucose levels by blocking the release of stored glucose from the liver.
A 2006 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition highlights the effect of sage on fasting glucose levels in non diabetic animals and its metformin-like effects on rat hepatocytes. This study suggests that sage may be useful as a food supplement in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes mellitus by lowering the plasma glucose of individuals at risk.
A 2008 study published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology also highlights the benefits of sage for the treatment and prevention of Type 2 diabetes and its complications.
A recent 2013 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine concludes that sage leaves may be safe and have antihyperglycemic and lipid-profile-improving effects in hyperlipidemic Type 2 diabetic patients.
6. Reduces Menopausal Symptoms
Sage is also beneficial for treating menopausal symptoms. It can help reduce hot flashes to a great extent.
As sage contains flavonoids, volatile oils and tannins, it also promotes overall health.
A 2011 study published in Advances in Therapy for the first time analyzed sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Researchers found that a fresh sage preparation demonstrated clinical value in the treatment of hot flashes and associated menopausal symptoms in the 69 study participants.
In fact, the total score of the mean number of intensity-rated hot flushes decreased significantly, by 50 percent and 64 percent within four and eight weeks, respectively.
To ease menopausal symptoms, drink sage tea 2 or 3 times a day for a couple of months.
7. Improves Digestion
Sage is excellent for improving digestion as it encourages the flow of bile and digestive enzymes. Plus, it helps relax the muscles of the digestive tract.
Sage is great for relieving indigestion, reducing abdominal gas and bloating, controlling flatulence, treating colitis, and improving appetite.
Drink 1 cup of sage tea daily to improve digestion and relieve digestive discomfort. Also, add this herb in your favorite dishes to enhance their taste as well as health benefits.
8. Stimulates Hair Growth
Sage is a popular herb widely used in the cosmetics industry, particularly for hair care. Being rich in nutrients like vitamins B, A and C and the minerals potassium and calcium, sage is effective at stimulating hair growth and fighting hair loss.
Plus, sage promotes estrogen balance and prevents thickening in the membrane tissue around the hair follicle, which causes hair loss.
This herb also helps manage scalp infections, which can cause hair loss.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add 4 or 5 drops each of sage, rosemary and lavender essential oils.
- Massage your scalp with this oil blend before going to bed.
- The next morning, wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat this remedy 2 or 3 times a week.
9. Darkens Gray Hair
If you have gray hair and you want to darken it, sage is an effective remedy. Sage can darken and intensify hair color to keep you looking youthful.
In fact, sage is a safe, inexpensive, environment-friendly and natural alternative to commercial dyes that you can use to get rid of gray hair.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
- Add ½ cup of dried or fresh sage to the water.
- Allow the hot water to boil for at least 2 minutes.
- Then, cover and steep the sage for at least 1 hour.
- Strain the liquid using a strainer.
- Use this sage-infused water to rinse your hair.
- Repeat the process weekly until you achieve the desired darkness. Then, repeat every 2 weeks to maintain your hair color.
10. Protects Heart Health
Sage is very good for your heart, due to its flavonoids and antioxidants. It improves the health of cells that form the innermost lining of the heart and blood vessels, which in turn reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science reports that regular intake of sage tea leads to an improvement in lipid profile. It helps lower plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels as well as increase the plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL or the ‘good’ cholesterol) level.
It is even effective at treating clogged arteries, lowering blood pressure and preventing heart attacks.
- Fresh sage is much tastier than the dried herb.
- Always choose fresh sage with bright green-gray leaves and store it wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Sage oil should not be used or applied topically on the skin without diluting it with a carrier oil.
- Avoid taking this herb in large amounts, as its thujone content can damage your liver and nervous system. Plus, this compound can cause problems for people who are prone to seizure disorders.
- Pregnant and lactating women should avoid this herb as it can dry up the milk. Plus, it may stimulate uterine contractions in pregnant women.