Useful properties of sage
Sage is a herbaceous plant of the mint genus. There are about 900 species worldwide; the most common are clary sage (Salvia sclarea) and medicinal sage (Salvia officinalis).
What does sage contain?
Sage has a special aroma. It resembles the smell of mint but with a more bitter taste. Flowers smell and sage leaves also have a pronounced aroma.
Sage contains essential oil, various alkaloids and saponins, flavonoids, coumarins, dihydroquercetin, rutin, rosemary, ferulic, gallic, and chicory acids, zinc, iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, lithium and selenium. Sage is rich in polyphenols and glycosides. The fruits of sage contain oil and sterols; the leaves contain proteins, terpenoids, polysaccharides, gum, and estrogen-like substances.
The liquid extract of sage leaves contains ten free and 11 bound amino acids, the predominance of tyrosine, serine, glutamic and aspartic acids.
Thanks to the rich composition of sage leaves, we can make an impressive list of the beneficial properties of this plant.
Useful properties of sage
- Aromatic properties. Sage essential oil helps reduce heart rate and has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties;
- Astringent properties. Sage tightens the tissues of the mucous membranes with which it comes into contact. This ability helps heal weeping wounds;
- The antioxidant properties of sage are associated with polyphenols, salvianolic acid, tocopherols, and tocotrienols, which are found in this plant;
- The anti-inflammatory properties of sage are due to the presence of carnosol and carnic acid, which prevent the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokine E2;
- The antibacterial properties of sage are associated with the content of flavonoids and tannins in the leaves. The leaves contain an aromatic oil that also has antibacterial properties. Sage is active against Gram-positive bacteria. There is an increase in the antibiotic interaction of sage extract, amoxicillin, and chloramphenicol;
- Antifungal properties. A decoction of sage helps in the fight against mycoses (fungal diseases) of the oropharynx;
- Antitumor properties. Sage has an antimutagenic effect – it protects against the effects of the carcinogen carbon tetrachloride. The rosmarinic acid found in sage also has strong anti-cancer properties;
- Hypoglycemic properties. Sage lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity; neuroprotective properties. Sage essential oil has an antidepressant effect, and the plant extract has a nootropic effect.
Where to find sage
In the wild, sage Officinalis grows in the south – the territory of the Crimea and the Caucasus. It is cultivated in Russia’s middle and southern regions in household plots.
All the beneficial substances of sage and essential oils are concentrated in the upper, green part of the plant. The concentration of useful elements varies depending on the season. It is important to know the time of collecting medicinal plants so that the collected raw materials contain the maximum amount of active biological substances.
- In the year of sowing sage, collecting it in the fall is recommended. By this time, all useful substances will have time to accumulate;
- Further, medicinal raw materials are harvested twice a year – when buds form (June-July, depending on the region of growth), and then in September when the fruits ripen;
- Only the lower leaves are collected along with the petioles in the first two years of the plant’s life. After two years, all ground parts are used as raw materials;
- Harvesting sage should be carried out in the afternoon, in dry and warm weather;
- The sage leaves must be dry and should not be picked when it rains or if the leaves are covered with dew. Such raw materials will not dry out and will not be stored for a long time;
- It is necessary to dry the leaves quickly; it is better in electric dryers at a temperature not higher than 35-40 ° C. If drying is delayed, the leaves may begin to rot, which will destroy the entire crop;
- After drying, the raw materials are examined, and coarse stems and rubbish are removed. The grass should be grayish-green in color; the leaves are whole, fragrant, tasting bitter;
- The shelf life of the prepared raw materials is 1.5 years. In the case of sage, it is better not to neglect the expiration date, as the beneficial properties of this medicinal plant are lost over time.
What are the health benefits of sage?
Sage has long been used as an antibacterial, disinfectant, and anti-inflammatory agent.
The plant is used for respiratory viral infections, bacterial lesions of the oropharynx, and gum disease, especially if there is bleeding and ulceration. Sage helps relieve pain from mouth ulcers. With an exacerbation of herpetic infection, rinsing and lotions from a decoction of sage are used.
- Take two tablespoons of sage leaves and pour 200 ml water over them.
- Boil the mixture in a water bath for 10-15 minutes, without bringing it to a boil.
- Strain the broth and dilute with clean water to the original volume – 200 ml.
Recipe for sage infusion: Pour four tablespoons of sage leaves into a thermos and cover with water. For two tablespoons – about 500 ml. At a minimum of one hour, infuse, then filter.
Take a decoction or infusion of 1/3 cup half an hour before meals three times a day for inflammatory diseases. With a decoction or infusion, you can gargle and rinse your nose with colds. One healing property of sage is that it has an expectorant effect and helps clear phlegm from the bronchi.
With sweating of the feet, especially with a fungal infection, baths with a decoction or infusion of sage are shown. In this case, sage is used as an antifungal agent. Another of its remarkable properties is the reduction of sweating. This property is also important for women in menopause.
Sage is effective in the treatment of infected wounds and fistulas, as well as in the exacerbation of inflammation of hemorrhoids. For these diseases, a decoction or infusion of sage is used in the form of baths, douches, lotions, and enemas (depending on the site of the lesion).
Sage to improve memory
Sage has a beneficial effect on human memory. Sage contains the substance anticholinesterase, so it can alleviate the course of Alzheimer’s disease, which reduces memory and concentration.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the human brain. In people with Alzheimer’s, acetylcholine is actively destroyed, and a new one is produced in small quantities. This process leads to a deterioration in cognitive abilities; a person forgets more and cannot concentrate. Anticholinesterase prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, thereby maintaining brain function in working order.
A study was conducted with healthy volunteers, as a result of which it turned out that taking sage has a positive effect on memory ability and helps to increase people’s concentration.
Sage for Better Health Scores in Diabetes
A decoction of sage helps to reduce sugar levels. Some studies have shown that diabetic patients who take sage significantly lower their blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A study was conducted on women in their 40s and 50s who drank a cup of sage tea daily for two weeks. After that, all participants measured their levels of cholesterol and high and low-density lipoproteins. It turned out that sage helps to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol and increase the level of “good.”
Compensation for diseases should be comprehensive! The use of sage is not the only way to reduce blood sugar levels. The basis of healthy carbohydrate metabolism is a nutritious diet, a healthy lifestyle, sleep patterns, regular exercise, and preventing deficiencies.
Sage as an antibacterial agent
Many strains of bacteria show resistance to a range of antibiotics. A study was conducted in which the effect of sage oil on wound areas affected by staphylococcus aureus was studied. As a result, the antibacterial activity of sage against S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and S. xylosus was revealed. For skin infections and wound healing, sage oil can be used as it has antibacterial properties.
The benefits of sage for women
Sage is beneficial for women who have difficulty conceiving and have irregular cycles. While taking sage, the ovaries are stimulated, and progesterone levels also increase.
Sage is useful for women’s health in menopause; when the production of sex hormones fades, it can eliminate chronic fatigue and normalize the emotional state, restore skin elasticity and relieve discomfort during hot flashes.
Before use, a consultation with an integrative gynecologist is necessary!
Sage in cosmetology
In cosmetology, sage oil and its hydrolate are used. The oil has many beneficial properties due to its components:
- Borneol whitens the skin (which allows you to fight pigmentation successfully) and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Able to restore the work of the sebaceous glands, helping in the treatment of acne;
- Camphor also whitens the skin, relieves itching and irritation;
- Salvin is a natural antibiotic; it tones blood vessels, improving the skin condition of the face and hairline. When used as a mask for the scalp, it can accelerate hair growth;
- Thujone – a natural antiseptic, in large quantities – poison;
- Vitamins A, C, and group B – nourish skin cells, supporting their antioxidant protection.
Sage oil for cosmetic procedures can be prepared independently. To do this, you need to use fresh sage or clary sage leaves and vegetable oil, such as unrefined olive oil (you will enrich your remedy with vitamin E).
Sage Oil Recipe:
- In a liter jar, place fresh sage leaves up to half the volume. If you are using dry raw materials, the jar needs to be filled by a third;
- Pour in the base oil to the top;
- Close the lid and place it in a dark, cool place for two weeks;
- Shake the mixture periodically;
- After 14 days, squeeze the extract through cheesecloth into prepared glassware.
This oil can be added to hair or face masks. Its pure form can be used to discolor scars and scars.
Recipe for a nourishing mask for normal or oily hair, which promotes their rapid growth:
- Three tablespoons of carrier oil (such as olive or grapeseed oil)
- 15 drops of sage oil;
- Two spoons of sour cream.
Mix all the mask components and apply it to the scalp before washing the hair for 30 minutes, wearing a cap. Wash off the mask with shampoo.
Mask recipe for dry hair:
- Two tablespoons of castor oil;
- Two tablespoons of burdock oil;
- Four drops of sage oil;
- Two drops of lavender oil.
Rub the mixture into the dry scalp and wrap with a towel for 40 minutes after washing off the mask with shampoo.
Sage oil benefits women’s hair and can be added to shampoo. The proportion is 2 ml (or 30 drops) per 100 ml shampoo.
Use this oil in your face masks, as it helps to cleanse the skin of aging cells, helps with eczema and acne, and has antibacterial properties.
Face mask recipe:
- One teaspoon of base oil;
- Two drops of sage oil.
Apply to face and neck for 30 minutes. Then, remove any remaining mask residue with a tissue.
Another beneficial use is to wipe the skin of the face with ice cubes from the sage infusion. This procedure will help remove swelling and give a radiant look to your skin.
Sage in cooking
Sage is used as a spice in cooking. The plant’s leaves emit a sweet scent. They are collected during flowering, dried, and stored in a tightly closed container in a dark, cool place.
The aroma of sage is quite strong, so you need to add this herb when cooking in moderation. It can drown out other, more subtle flavors.
Sage goes well with other spices: rosemary, mint, oregano, juniper, and thyme.
In Italy, sage is added to fish, beef, and veal. The aroma of sage will also be revealed in combination with cheese and vegetables. You can add this spice to meat broth soups, but only at the end of cooking so that the sage does not lose its flavor. You can also add a few fresh leaves of this herb to the salad.
Contraindications to the use of sage
Despite its remarkable properties, sage can be harmful to human health. It is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactating women. Women suffering from endometriosis, fibroids, and polyps in the uterus should not consume sage, as it stimulates the production of estrogens, which is undesirable in these diseases and can be harmful.
Sage should not be taken for hypertension and epilepsy.
Sage tea should not be drunk in large quantities – no more than 1-2 small daily cups. This is due to the presence in the composition of the sage of such a substance as thujone. In high concentrations, it is toxic to the brain.
Children under five years of age are also not recommended to give sage, especially in large quantities.
Sage is a herb with unique properties. Applying correctly will keep you healthy and help you eliminate minor ailments – you don’t even have to turn to medications.