Sage, a spice you might associate with some of your favorite soup and poultry-stuffing recipes, is a Mediterranean herb that has delightfully downy ornamental leaves and flowers and makes an appearance in many home gardens. Sage is a hardy evergreen that is easy to grow and also boasts a broad range of potential health benefits.
Antioxidants in sage may help improve cardiovascular health and prevent degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting oxidation of fats, according to the biology department of the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. A laboratory animal study published in the November 2012 issue of the "International Journal of Molecular Medicine" found that sage inhibits formation of foam cells, white blood cells in the linings of arteries that accumulate fat and promote arterial plaque formation. A study published in the December 2011 issue of the journal "Phytotherapy Research" found that supplementation with 500 milligrams of sage three times per day for two months lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the bad form of cholesterol, and raised levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the good form of cholesterol, with no adverse side effects.
Mood and Memory
Sage may help keep you calm and alert and enhance learning, memory and mood while you are young and prevent cognitive decline in older age. A study published in the August 2011 issue of the "Journal of Psychopharmacology" found that sage essential oil improved cognitive function and mood in healthy adults. Participants took 50 microliters of sage essential oil per day for seven days. Results showed that the sage extract started to work within one hour to improve memory and attention. Four hours after the dose, mental fatigue and alertness were improved.
Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits of sage essential oil help keep your mouth and gums healthy and ward off throat and upper-respiratory infections, according to herbalists Barbara and Peter Theiss, coauthors of the book "The Family Herbal: A Guide to Natural Health Care for Yourself and Your Children From Europe's Leading Herbalists." A study published in the December 2011 issue of the "International Dental Journal" concluded that sage and other medicinal herbs may offer a natural alternative to current forms of oral health treatment with fewer side effects than traditional drugs.
Menstrual pain was significantly reduced with a combination of essential oils from lavender, marjoram and a type of sage known as clary sage in a study published in the May 2012 issue of the "Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research." Participants applied the oil combination daily from the end of one menstrual period to the beginning of the next. Results showed that the duration of pain was reduced by 75 percent.
- University of Wisconsin Lacrosse Biology Department: Salvia officinalis
- International Journal of Molecular Medicine: Sage Weed (Salvia Plebeia) Extract Antagonizes Foam Cell Formation and Promotes Cholesterol Efflux in Murine Macrophages
- Phytotherpy Research: Antihyperlipidemic Effects of Salvia Officinalis L. Leaf Extract in Patients With Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
- Journal of Psychopharmacology: Monoterpenoid Extract of Sage (Salvia Lavandulaefolia) with Cholinesterase Inhibiting Properties Improves Cognitive Performance and Mood in Healthy Adults
- International Dental Journal: Herbs in Dentistry
- Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research: Pain Relief Assessment by Aromatic Essential Oil Massage on Outpatients with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial
- The Family Herbal: A Guide to Natural Health Care for Yourself and Your Children From Europe's Leading Herbalists; Barbara Theiss and Peter Theiss
Tracey Roizman, DC is a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care and a practicing chiropractor. She also holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry.