Image: Shutterstock There is a shift in the way we think and view the world. The trend today is to go natural. Nature has everything we need. And if
There is a shift in the way we think and view the world. The trend today is to go natural. Nature has everything we need. And if we value our life, it makes sense to minimize the amount of chemicals we pump into our body.
Herbs have been valued since ancient times because of their variety of culinary uses as well as medicinal value. Most of them form an important part of our diet. Sage is one such herb, which is known since ancient Roman times. In fact, it was specifically used in the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner hosted during the fall season. Also called garden sage or common sage, it is basically a perennial evergreen plant belonging to the Lamiaceae (mint) family along with herbs like oregano, rosemary, lavender, basil and thyme. It is native to the Mediterranean and south-eastern Europe. It derives its scientific name from the Latin word “salvere” which means “to be saved.”
This herb grows to a height of a foot or more. It has greyish green lance shaped leaves with a silvery bloom and prominent vein running throughout. The flowers are generally blue, purple, pink or white in color with a pleasant aroma. They mostly blossom in August. In fact, all parts of the plant have a strong odor and a warm and somewhat bitter flavor due to the presence of volatile oils in its tissues. The amazing health properties of this legendary herb have made it a staple in traditional European and Chinese medicines. Besides, due to its uniquely pleasant aroma, it is used as a fragrance in the manufacture of soaps and cosmetics. It is available in fresh, dried, and powdered forms throughout the year.
Types of Sage:
There are countless varieties of sage, of which the most common varieties grown for medicinal or culinary purposes include the following:
- Clary Sage: It is characterized by strongly aromatic leaves and mostly used in throat gargle infusions and perfumeries.
- Three-Lobed Sage: This is a large perennial shrub with lobed leaves. Native to the Mediterranean countries, it is mostly used for making sage tea.
- Pineapple Sage: The fresh leaves of this variety are used to add flavor to drinks and desserts.
- Azure Sage: This variety is native to Mexico. It is a large plant with blue flowers and is used as herbal panacea.
Skin Benefits Of Sage:
Sage can keep your skin healthy and beautiful Its plant derived chemical compounds, essential oils, and vitamins make it beneficial in skin care in the following ways.
1. Anti-ageing Benefits:
The antioxidants in sage reverse the signs of ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. These antioxidants provide protection against free radicals that damage skin cells, causing premature ageing of the skin. This herb is loaded with calcium and vitamin A, which protect your skin against the assault of free radicals and aid in daily cell regeneration, minimizing and delaying the onset of facial wrinkles.
2. Toner for Oily Skin:
Sage oil benefits as a great toner by regulating sebum production in oily complexion. You can prepare a home-made toner by boiling a spoonful of sage in about 250 ml water. Steep for 30 minutes and strain the concoction. Dab it on your face after cooling.
3. Treatment of Skin Problems:
The antibacterial properties of this amazing herb prevent the occurrence of skin infections. It also possesses antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help cure acne as well as relieve the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
Hair Benefits Of Sage:
Sage herb and its extracts have been found to be beneficial for hair in many ways. Some of the benefits of sage for hair are as follows.
4. Treatment of Hair Loss:
Sage has been used since ancient times to combat hair loss and baldness. Sage contains beta-sitosterol, a 5-alpha reductase compound which has been found to be effective in treating male pattern baldness. It is advisable to mix 3 to 4 drops of sage essential oil with equal amounts of rosemary and peppermint essential oils and dilute in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Massage your scalp with it twice a day.
5. Sage Hair Rinse for Shiny Hair:
Sage tea can be used as a hair rinse to impart shine and luster to your locks. You can prepare it by boiling 1 tablespoon of dried sage leaves in a cup of water. This sage herb tea benefits to ward off dandruff.
6. Stimulates Hair Growth:
A combination of sage and rosemary is excellent for making your hair thicker, shinier and stronger. Sage is particularly effective in encouraging new hair growth as it improves circulation to the scalp, providing more nutrition to the hair follicles. A sage rosemary hair rinse can be prepared by boiling the two herbs in water. This herbal rinse can improve the quality of your hair and can revitalize dry and thinning hair. This can be used daily for one week or once or twice a week to maintain hair shine and thickness. Being an astringent, it reduces dandruff and prevents clogged hair follicles too.
7. Darkens Hair:
Sage can be used to darken and intensify hair color. All you need to do is use it as a final rinse after shampooing. An infusion of fresh sage leaves can darken grey hair as well as deepen the color of brown or black hair and impart shine to it.
8. Sage Lotion:
Sage can be used to prepare a setting lotion to make your hair manageable and improve its texture. Simply combine a handful of sage leaves with equal amount of rosemary. Boil them in about 6 oz. water and simmer for 3 minutes. Allow it to steep for 3 hours and massage your hair with this mixture before styling.
Health Benefits Of Sage Herb:
Sage is literally a boon when it comes to the various health benefits it offers. From the Arabs to the Chinese, everyone has recognized this herb as a key to a healthy life. In fact, due to its health benefiting properties, it was awarded the title of “Herb of the Year” by the International Herb Association in 2001. Given below are some of the powerful health benefits of this aromatic herb.
9. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
According to research conducted by the University of Vienna in Austria, sage possesses amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Sage tea is often used as a rinse or gargled for soothing inflammations. Sage extracts, tincture and essential oil are easily available in medical stores. They are used in medicines meant for the treatment of mouth and throat inflammation. This herb has been recommended for external use by the German Commission for treating inflamed mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.
10. Treatment of Excessive Sweating:
A recent German study has indicated that taking either a dry leaf extract or an infusion of sage leaf can reduce sweating by as much as 50%. It is a great deodorizer that dries perspiration and helps to eliminate body odor.
11. Treatment of Indigestion and Dyspepsia:
Sage can be used internally for the treatment of mild gastrointestinal problems and dyspepsia. It is a great stimulant tonic which can treat debility of stomach and weakness of digestive system. Sage tea or infusion is particularly effective in this regard. Its carminative effect can remove symptoms of indigestion by stimulating upper digestive secretions, bile flow, intestinal mobility and pancreatic function.
12. Treatment of Sore Throat:
Sage infusion has been found to be effective in the treatment of inflamed throat and tonsils as well as ulcerated throat. For this purpose, you can boil a pinch of dried sage leaves in about 100 ml of water and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the concoction and sweeten it with some honey. Using this as a gargle twice a day will provide relief.
13. Dental Health:
This herb can play an important role in your dental routine. It can be used as an effective mouthwash to treat gum disease, throat infections, and cankers. If you are troubled by cankers, you can simply gargle strong sage tea or freeze it into ice cubes. Pop one of these cubes in your mouth to soothe cankers.
14. Treatment of Asthma:
The anti-spasmodic effect of sage reduces tension in smooth muscles and can be used for steam inhalation to prevent asthma attacks. It is effective in removing mucous congestion in the airways as well as preventing secondary infections.
15. Prevents Diabetes:
Several studies have proved that sage leaf extract has anti-hyperglycemic properties which lower blood glucose levels by blocking the release of stored glucose from the liver. In simple words, it is effective in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in type 2 diabetics. However, further research is needed to substantiate this claim.
16. Neurological Benefits:
Regular intake of sage can improve memory and information processing among people suffering from Alzheimer’s. This may be because the essential oil from sage has been found to improve acetylcholinesterase (Ach) levels in the brain. This Ach enzyme improves concentration and helps in the treatment of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s.
17. Beneficial for Women:
This benefit can be attributed to the presence of astringent tannins in sage. Its estrogenic effect has been found to be beneficial for women wishing to dry up their breast milk supply or relieve hot flushes during menopause. However, there is lack of clinical data to substantiate this claim.
18. Treatment of Depression:
Sage infusion is often referred to as “thinker’s tea” as it contains Thujone which is GABA and Serotonin (5-HT3) receptor antagonist. Besides improving concentration and attention span, it helps to deal with grief and depression.
19. Cardiovascular Benefits:
Three lobed sage contains a flavone called salvigenin. Its vascular relaxant effect provides protection against cardiovascular diseases.
20. Other Benefits:
Sage oil contains volatile essential oils such as camphene, cineol, borneol and bornyl acetate, which are known for their tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant properties. This oil can be used externally to soothe painful ailments like muscle stiffness, rheumatism, and other neuralgic conditions. Apart from this, it is used in aromatherapy to cure nervousness, stress, fatigue, tiredness, headaches, and anxiety. Sage infusion or sage tea is considered a useful medicine for the treatment of typhoid fever, biliousness, liver problems, kidney troubles, haemorrhage of lungs or stomach and measles.
Nutritional Value Of Sage:
Sage owes its health benefits and medicinal properties to its rich nutritional value. This herb is packed with plant derived chemical compounds, vitamins, minerals and essential oils. Its nutritional profile is explained in the table given below.
|See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Sage herb (Salvia officinalis), Dried, ground,Nutritive value per 100 g.(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)|
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||12.75 g||42.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||40.3 g||106%|
|Vitamin A||5900 mg||196%|
|Vitamin C||32.4 mg||54%|
|Vitamin E||7.48 mg||50%|
|Vitamin K||1714.5 µg||1429%|
Vitamin A: Sage is a rich source of vitamin A with 100 grams of dry ground sage providing about 5900 International Units (IUs) of vitamin A which is equivalent to 196% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) if this vitamin.
Vitamin C: Fresh sage leaves are rich in antioxidant vitamin C with 100 grams serving providing 32.4 mg or 54% of RDA of this vitamin.
B-vitamins: In addition to vitamins A and C, this herb contains exceptionally high levels of B-complex group of vitamins like folic acid, pyridoxine, thymin and riboflavin in much higher quantities than the recommended daily levels.
Minerals: Both fresh and dried sage is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.
Essential Oils: Sage is known for its amazing combination of essential oils which contain ketones, α-thujoneand β-thujone. Sage leaf contains certain compounds like cineol, borneol, tannic acid, chlorogenic, fumaric, caffeic and nicotinic acid, nicotinamide, flavones, glycosides and estrogenic substances as well as bitter substances like cornsole and cornsolic acid.
Nature has the answers, we just need to look hard enough! Discover the amazing sage herb benefits and you’ll understand the goodness of natural herbs.
Do you use natural herbs to stay healthy? Can you share your experience with sage?