It’s time to revisit Garden Sage
You probably know this plant. It may be in your garden; you may have used it in turkey stuffing or homemade sausage. But sage is far more than a culinary herb. It has been considered a medicinal plant since ancient times.
Ancient Egyptians used it as a fertility drug, and today we know it contains phytoestrogens. Ancient Greek physician Dioscorides reported that sage tea stopped the bleeding of wounds and cleaned ulcers and sores. Today we know sage contains antibacterial phenolic acids. Roman author/naturalist Pliny the Elder reported that sage enhances memory functions, and today we know sage contains compounds that inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. For a plant so humble, it’s amazingly powerful.
A member of the mint family, sage is high in several vitamin and minerals, and it’s loaded with antioxidants. In fact, it contains more than 160 polyphenols, plant-based antioxidant chemical compounds. At least one study found that drinking 1 cup of sage tea twice daily significantly increased antioxidant defenses and lowered total cholesterol while raising the beneficial HDL cholesterol.
In Germany, the Commission E (rather like our FDA) has reported sage has antibacterial, fungistatic, virustatic, astringent, and perspiration-inhibiting properties. The Commission has approved the internal use of sage leaf for indigestion and excessive perspiration. Used externally, it’s approved for inflammation of mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
So how might sage help you?
Sage makes a great mouthwash because it’s both astringent and antimicrobial. It’s helpful for both sore throats and mouth sores.
Sage really does help with excessive sweating, as several of our customers can attest.
Add that to the phytoestrogens sage contains, and you’ve got a very helpful partner for the hot flashes and night sweats that often accompany menopause.
The presence of rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid in sage make it a great general antioxidant, free-radical scavenger, and anti-inflammatory. Essential oils contained in sage inhibit the activity of acetyl cholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. Allowing that neurotransmitter to stay around longer is thought to be the reason studies show sage can improve memory and cognition. All of the above make sage a powerful but gentle tonic for anyone as they age.
Wow. That’s a lot for a plant that’s so easy to grow. Even better, most benefits can be obtained by simply drinking 2 cups of tea daily. Of course, alcohol extracts or capsules also are available and effective.
Journal of Traditional & Complementary Medicine