The Herbs Section
|Vitamins Home Page||Vitamin Stuff Notes||Health and Fitness||Vitamin Stuff Articles||Special Sections|
Sage (Salvia officinalis [Latin]), also known as garden meadow, has a long tradition of culinary and medicinal use. Sage was once used to help preserve meat and over the past 2,000 years or so has been recommended by herbalists to treat just about every known condition, from snakebite to mental illness. In fact, in medieval times the French called the herb toute bonne, which means, "all is well". Modern research has shown that sage, while not a panacea, can help reduce excessive perspiration, digestive problems, sore throats, premenstrual cramps, and high blood sugar.
Sage was once recommended by herbalists has to treat fever, a usage that probably arose from sage's ability to reduce perspiration. Modern research has demonstrated that sage reduces perspiration by as much as 50 percent, and Commission E, the group that evaluates the safety and efficacy of herbs for the German government, approves the use of sage infusions to treat excessive perspiration. Today, there are sage-based natural deodorants sold at most health food stores.
Sage is also an active ingredient in some natural mouthwashes because its tannins are thought to help kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis. Sage has traditionally been used to treat canker sores, bleeding gums, sore throat, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. Recent laboratory studies support the use of sage to guard against infection-it has demonstrated an ability to fight against several infection-causing bacteria. Some herbalists and, in Germany physicians, recommend gargling hot sage to soothe pain from sore throat and tonsillitis.
Like two other culinary herbs, rosemary and thyme, sage helps guard against depletion of the brain's concentration of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is crucial to proper brain function. A combination of ginkgo biloba, sage, and rosemary may help prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer's.
Sage has a long history of use as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders. It has been shown to help relax muscle spasms in the digestive tract, and is approved by Commission E for treatment of indigestion. One German study has found that drinking a sage infusion reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but only when they took the infusion on an empty stomach.
Sage is available commercially in liquid leaf extract form; the usual dose is 1 teaspoon three times per day. It's easy to grow and dry your own sage. Better yet, this herb is a perennial, and will come back year after year, although it should be replaced every three to four years or it becomes woody and unproductive. To harvest your own sage leaves, cut the plant down, leaving 4 inches above the ground, then strip and dry the leaves for future medicinal or culinary use.
For a homebrewed sage tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Use this infusion as a gargle for sore throat or as a mouthwash for gingivitis. You can also drink up to 3 cups a day to improve digestion and help regulate blood sugar. (Remember that people with diabetes must be under a doctor's care and should consult their doctor before taking medicinal amounts of any herb.) Drinking sage infusions could also help reduce wetness if you perspire a lot.
Very few side effects have been reported from the consumption of sage leaves; however, those using more concentrated forms of this herb, such as tea or extracts, may experience inflammation of the lips and lining of the mouth. This inflammatory response is probably due to a toxic chemical in sage called thujone. In very large amounts, thujone has been shown to cause convulsions. Concentrated sage oil is toxic and its use should be restricted to aromatherapy.
Sage has traditionally been used to promote menstruation, and there are some studies that indicate it may indeed help stimulate uterine contractions; pregnant women should not consume highly concentrated forms of sage, although using it as a culinary spice has not been shown to have this effect.
Disclaimer: Vitamin Stuff is a website about Vitamins and Supplements, among a great many other topics. However, the information provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Individuals wishing to embark on a longevity, antiaging, life extension program, especially those who have been diagnosed with health problems and who use prescribed medication, should consult with their family doctor beforehand.
Warning: The information provided on this website is wholly owned by this site and may not be duplicated in any way, shape, or form without consent.