6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sage
Sage health benefits includes fighting inflammation, improving diabetes, decreasing bad fats in the blood, fighting Alzheimer’s disease, fighting cancer, treating menopause symptoms, helps with lowering cholesterol level, and helps promote dental health.
Sage Herb has also been shown to improve a range of health conditions. Herbs are gaining popularity in cooking and for their health benefits. Herbs are rich sources of natural antioxidants and have been used in cooking, flower displays and traditional medicine to manage and treat many health problems.
We’ll be discussing what the science says about sage and its health benefits. But firstly, let’s look at what sage is.
What is Sage Herb?
Salvia officinalis, or sage as it is commonly called, is an evergreen plant that has been around a long time. It has a woody stem, green leaves, and purple flowers.
Sage is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region, although it can be found all around the world. Sage is a nutritious herb.
Nutrition Facts of Sage
Sage contains a variety of volatile oils, flavonoids (including apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin), and phenolic acids, including the phenolic acid rosmarinic acid.
Sage is a good source of vitamin K (43% Daily Values), vitamin B6 (3% DV), calcium (3% DV), iron (3% DV), manganese (3% DV) and fiber (3% DV).
Sage also contains vitamin A (2% DV), vitamin C (1% DV), vitamin E (1% DV), riboflavin (1% DV), niacin (1% DV), folate (1% DV), magnesium (2% DV), potassium (1% DV), zinc (1% DV), copper (1% DV).
The figures above are based on one tablespoon or 2g of sage (1).
6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sage Herb
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is a natural body response to injury. Inflammation serves to heal infections and injuries. If left untreated, inflammation can cause ill health.
Sage with its volatile compounds (1,8-cineole, borneol, camphor, and thujone) possesses anti-inflammatory properties which are useful in dental health (2,3).
2. Improves Diabetes
Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body has difficulty producing enough of the hormone insulin which is needed to break down sugar in food. High levels of glucose in the blood if left unmanaged can cause a number of other health issues.
Eighty individuals took part in a good quality human study to see if sage provides health benefits in people with diabetes. The blood sugar (recorded 2 hours after eating) and cholesterol levels significantly decreased in the participants taking sage 3 times a day for 3 months compared to control group (4).
Another good quality study of 40 people with diabetes discovered that sage lowered fasting glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol, but increased HDL cholesterol (5).
It may be safe and have blood glucose and blood fat lowering effects in people with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglycerides.
3. Decreases Bad Fats in the Blood
Hyperlipidemia, or high amounts of fats in the blood, is a common metabolic disorder affecting heart health. Sixty-seven individuals with high cholesterol and/or high triglycerides participated in a study to see the effect of sage on their heart health.
This well-designed study found that taking sage leaf extract at the dose 500 mg every 8 h for 2 months decreased cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increased HDL cholesterol compared to the placebo group (6).
It may be effective and safe in the treatment of hyperlipidemia. This was also seen in other studies (4,5).
4. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a disease that gets worse over time. It affects memory and brain function. People with Alzheimer’s Disease using Sage as a treatment showed a slight improvement in brain function at 4 months when compared to the control group with moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Sage may also reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer’s Disease (7). In another study, 20 individuals aged 65 years and older, received 4 types of treatment (167, 333, 666 and 1332 mg of sage) and a placebo with a 7-day wash-out period between visits.
On study days, treatments were given after a baseline assessment and at 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 hours post-treatment. The 333mg dose was associated with an increase in memory performance at all testing times. The other doses also had benefits, but to a lesser extent. There were also significant improvements in attention after the 333mg dose (8).
It has also shown to be beneficial in younger individuals. The 50 microl dose of sage (Salvia essential oil) significantly improved immediate word recall (9).
5. Anti-cancer Effects
An animal study showed that sage treatment had a chemopreventive effect on colorectal cancer. Sage minimized the occurrence of colon cells turning into cancer cells (10).
6. Menopause Treatment
It has been used traditionally to treat menopause and its symptoms. Menopause is the period in a woman’s life when menstruation stops. It usually occurs between the age of 45 to 50 years.
A range of undesirable symptoms such as hot flushes can be experienced. A study assessed the suitability of sage to treat hot flushes. One tablet per day was given to 71 women with the average age of 56 years old for 8 weeks. Researchers noticed that there was a positive change in intensity and frequency of the hot flushes. Sage officinalis showed promising signs in the treatment of symptoms such as hot flushes (11).
It is a herb that has been used for its health benefits for thousands of years. Sage is gaining popularity in the scientific field as scientists try to understand its health benefits and mechanisms of action.
In early studies, sage has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, improve the health of people with diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer. Sage is showing promising health outcomes. More good quality human studies will help to confirm its effectiveness in treating specific health conditions.
In the meantime, feel free to enjoy a cup of sage tea and use sage in cooking. Consult your doctor before attempting to treat specific medical conditions, including cancer.
Even though sage herb is natural, it has the potential to interact with your medical conditions and the medicines you take and impact upon your other health needs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Natalie Thompson, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.
After graduating with a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics and Bachelor of Human Nutrition, Natalie Thompson worked in clinical dietetics in the community and in residential aged care with a non-government organization servicing the older adult and disabled population and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. She also has her my own private practice.
Natalie Thompson has a Bachelor of Human Nutrition from University of Newcastle with a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics from Griffith University. You can connect with Natalie on LinkedIn