Sage (Salvia officinalis) belongs to the Labiatae family of plants, along with rosemary and marjoram. Like it’s cousin herbs it is commonly used as a cooking spice, adding a sweet, warm, earthy flavor to roasted pork and vegetable stews. Rich in volatile oils as well as other beneficial phytochemicals, including apigenin, linalool, saponins, and catechins, sage leaves not only possess flavor, but also medicinal properties. What are the health benefits of sage? Are there any negative side effects of this plant?
Clean Your Mouth
Sage is one of the best herbs for treating inflammation and irritation of the mouth, gums, throat, and tonsils. The volatile oils sooth mucous membranes and are naturally anti-microbial. Sage also reduces saliva production.
Gargle with sage for a sore throat and to treat laryngitis. Use as a natural mouthwash to freshen breath and kill bacteria on the teeth and gums. To use, simply make a strong infusion with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the dried leaves and one cup of boiling water. Steep, covered, for ten to fifteen minutes. Allow to cool, swish and gargle. For a more potent effect, blend with tormentil or balm of gilead.
A Natural Remedy for Excessive Sweating
Not only does sage reduce salivation, but it reduces perspiration as well. This is one of the herbs that can safely be used to deal with excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. Add dried sage to your food and try drinking sage tea. To make a cup, infuse one teaspoon of the dried leaves in one cup of boiled water for ten minutes. Drink one cup daily for at least two weeks.
This herb is also beneficial for the hair when used as a rinse. Make a cup of sage tea and use as a herbal rinse after shampooing. This will increase shine and growth.
Sage and Women’s Health
Due to it’s chemical constituents, sage has an estrogenic effect on the body. It is good for dealing with menopause. It can also be used to stop the flow of breast milk. Sage should not be used by pregnant women however, or by mothers who want to nurse. It can potentially stimulate the contraction of the uterus and it will dry up breast milk.
Sage and Brain Health
Adding sage to dishes may actually increase cognitive ability. Studies conducted on people who took an extract of the essential oil found that sage improved memory recall. A good reason to sprinkle a little of this dried herb on your dinner tonight!
Sage does supply a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of some of the B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, boron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Sage is not necessarily the best nutritional supplement however as it can inhibit the absorption of some minerals.
There are many unique health benefits of sage; there are not many herbs out there that can help with such as range of problems, from laryngitis to excessive sweating. Enjoy the practical uses of this herb and the wonderful flavor.
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Hoffmann, David. “The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies.” (Element Books, 1996).
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