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Sage Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

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What is Sage?

Sage is a herb native to the Mediterranean, belonging to the Lamiaceae (mint) family along with oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme and basil. The sage plant has gray-green edible leaves and flowers that can range in color from blue and purple to white or pink. Sage has a long history of medicinal use for ailments ranging from mental disorders to gastrointestinal discomfort.

Health Benefits of Sage

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.

Bone Strength: One of the most overlooked benefits of sage is actually its superior level of vitamin K, an essential vitamin for the body that isn’t found in many common foods. Vitamin K is a crucial element in developing bone density and ensuring the integrity of our bones as we age. If you suffer from early signs of osteoporosis or have lived a rather nutrient-poor, sedentary lifestyle, your bone health is likely low. Adding sage leaves to your diet can increase your vitamin K levels significantly, as a single service has 27% of your daily recommended intake.

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.

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Cognitive Disorders: As mentioned above, sage does have the ability to stimulate brain function to improve memory and concentration; however, it also works to eliminate cognitive disorders that may arise, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Although research into these applications is still in the relatively early stages, it is exciting to see real strides being taken with herbal alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment. The neural pathways stimulated by the extracts and essential oils of sage can keep the mind fresh and youthful well into your older ages.

Reduces muscle tension: Sage has an anti-spasmodic action which reduces tension in smooth muscle, and it can be used in a steam inhalation for asthma attacks. It is an excellent remedy for helping to remove mucous congestion in the airways and for checking or preventing secondary infection.

Antioxidant Impact: Chronic conditions and degenerative diseases can be some of the most debilitating and dangerous health concerns that you face in your life. Many of these health issues are caused by free radicals, the dangerous by products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells, causing apoptosis or mutation. Antioxidant compounds found in sage, such as rosmarinic acid, luteolin, and apigenin, can all work to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from creating oxidative stress in the heart, organ systems, skin, joints, muscles, and even the brain.

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Immune System Strength: There are some antimicrobial properties that have been identified in sage, and while sage is usually consumed in relatively small quantities, you can create a topical application of sage (salve or tincture) and use it to prevent bacterial and viral infections that attack the body through the skin. We often think of illness entering through our nose or mouth, but the skin can also be compromised and be used as a gateway for foreign agents. A topical cream or antibacterial routine that includes sage could be an extra line of defense against that sort of illness vector.

Uses of Sage

The traditional use of sage in medicine is well-documented and stretches back thousands of years. It was initially used for the treatment of snakebite, protecting against evil, boosting female fertility, and other uses that are no longer en vogue or relied on.

It was used by herbalists externally to treat sprains, swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. Sage juice in warm water for hoarseness and coughs.  Internally, a tea made from sage leaves has had a long history of use to treat sore throats and coughs; often by gargling. It was also used by herbalists for rheumatism, excessive menstrual bleeding, and to dry up a mother’s milk when nursing was stopped. It was particularly noted for strengthening the nervous system, improving memory, and sharpening the senses.

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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.

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.