Sage is a wonderful herb that has been used from ancient times and it has been used in both cooking and as a medicine. Sage has positive effect on our nervous system and has been used traditionally to improve memory and externally it is used to treat ulcer and wounds. Sage tea made by steeping the leaves in hot water is very popular throughout the world and has wonderful health benefits. The botanical name of sage is Salvia Officinalis, the word salvia means to be saved in Latin and even the botanical name shows how effectively it was used as a medicine from ancient times. It belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae) like most other famous herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano. The plant grows about 2 feet tall and the flowers are either lavender, pink, purple or white colored and have a pleasant smell. The leaves are greyish green colored, the whole plant has a unique and strong smell due to the presence of volatile oils. Sage is called Common Sage, Culinary Sage and Garden Sage in English, Sefakuss | Salvia in Hindi, Bui Tulasi in Bengali, Dharba in Telugu, Sathi in Punjabi, Kamarkas in Marathi, Salvi Tulasi in Malayalam and Salvi Tulsi in Tamil (I am not 100 % sure of the Indian names for sage). As a person who loves herbs, I am always on the look out for trying new herbs and a year or so back, the department store I regularly visit in my nearby city started selling fresh sage leaves regularly. Since I was already aware of the benefits of sage tea, I regularly started buying the sage leaves for making the tea. I have to tell you that fresh sage tea is wonderfully calming and if you are under a lot of stress, I would highly recommend it. Nutritional benefits: Sage is rich in vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin A, C, E, K and riboflavin. It is also rich in minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. It also contains phytonutrients like carotenes. The volatile oil distilled from sage is called sage essential oil, it also has all the benefits mentioned below. Here are some of the wonderful medicinal uses of sage: 1. Anti Inflammatory Properties: Sage has wonderful anti inflammatory properties and has been especially used for treating inflammations of the throat if used in the form of gargle. Sage tea if used as a gargle is very effective for treating throat inflammations. You can read about the anti inflammatory properties here. 2. Sage For Memory: Another wonderful use of sage is it’s ability to increase brain function and memory. Regular intake of sage tea helps improve memory greatly, you can read the research that supports this claim here. 3. Sage For Reducing Hot Flushes in Menopausal Women: Sage has been used as a remedy for hot flushes for a long time and this traditional remedy has been backed by research and you can read the research here. Though sage tincture was used in the research, sage tea also gives the same benefits. 4. Sage For Hair: Sage is amazing for hair, it stimulates new hair growth, prevents premature greying and makes the hair more manageable. I love to use sage extract in my homemade shampoo. You can find the recipe for it below. 5. Sage For Diabetes: Sage tea is a wonderful remedy for people who are at higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes mellitus. Regularly consuming sage for a period of 2 weeks lowered the risk of getting type 2 diabetes greatly as it helps lower the plasma glucose, you can read the study here. 6. Sage For Improving Our Mood: Drinking a cup of sage tea relaxes us and improves our mood greatly and I can guarantee that it does. It reduces anxiety and stress greatly, if you are under a lot of stress try a cup of sage tea for a few days. 7. Sage For Dental plaque: Since sage has anti bacterial properties, if used as a mouth wash treats and prevents dental plaque so very effectively. Next time you make sage tea, reserve some for gargling before adding any sweeteners, such a cheap and effective remedy for preventing dental plaque! You can read the study that proves this claim here. 8. Antioxidant Properties: Sage has wonderful antioxidant properties and drinking a cup of a wonderfully fragrant sage tea will prevent diseases caused due to oxidative stress like neuro degenerative disorders, cancer, etc. 9. Sage For Sweating: Since it has anti bacterial properties, sage extract when used in deodorant formulations work really well in eliminating bacteria and it also greatly reduces excessive sweating. Next time you make any homemade deodorant, try adding sage extract to it to improve the efficiency. You can read the study that supports this claim here. 10. Sage For Skin: Sage is wonderful for using in skin care too, sage tea can be used as a toner. For a simple homemade toner, mix sage tea with apple cider vinegar. Since sage has anti inflammatory properties, it will reduce puffiness and acne very effectively. Sage infused oil has amazing healing properties and can heal scars if used on a regular basis. All you have to do to make sage infused oil is to bruise the leaves and add it to a pure unrefined carrier and heat it under direct sunlight until the oil is infused with sage. Side Effects: Sage should not be consumed in large doses, sage contains a toxic substance called thujone and if taken in large quantities can cause bad side effects. Though there is no clinical study to prove it, sage is said to reduce breast milk due to thujone present in it so it is best to practice caution and not consume sage tea in large doses regularly when feeding and while pregnant. Also it might interfere with certain medications and if you are on certain medications and planning on taking sage tea daily, please mention it to your physician. Where to Buy Sage Leaves? Some departmental stores in big cities stock fresh sage leaves, please ask for it in the herb section. Dried sage is easily available everywhere, you also get sage tablets, sage tincture and sage tea bags too….
5 Top Hair, Skin & Health Benefits of Sage:
1. Sage & Oatmeal Bath:
Fresh sage leaves mixed with oatmeal and tied into a bath bag is a great bath recipe that leaves the skin soft, smooth and hydrated. For the bath, mix 1/4 cup of oatmeal with 1/4 cup of fresh sage leaves and take in a thin muslin cloth. Tie into a bundle and drop into the bath water, the water will turn cloudy and will taken on the smell of sage. Soak in it and enjoy your bath…..
2. Sage Tea:
To make sage tea, boil a cup of water and once it comes to a rolling boil, add a handful of sage leaves and boil till the color of the tea turns golden yellow color. Switch off and strain. You can sweeten with honey if you prefer. This simple decoction can reduce stress, hot flushes, improve memory, treat indigestion, prevent type 2 diabetes and inflammation!
3. Sage Shampoo:
I love to add fresh sage extract to my homemade shampoo. Sage extract prevents hair loss, stimulates new hair growth and also it greatly prevents premature greying of the hair. Though I prefer arappu for hair wash, I do like to try new recipes and especially it is a great fun to make herbal shampoos that foams and I do that by adding liquid Castile soap with a natural herb extract like sage. You can see the full recipe here.
4. Sage Mouth Rinse:
For the mouth rinse take a handful of sage leaves and boil in a cup of water till the color of the water changes and strain. Add in 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey and mix well. The color will turn from yellow to transparent, use this mixture as a gargle for treating sore throat.
5. Sage Poultice:
Since sage has anti bacterial properties, if applied as a poultice treats small wounds and bruises really well. For the remedy, take some fresh leaves in a bowl, add little bit of boiling water to it and let it rest for a few minutes. Then grind to a paste in a mortar and pestle till smooth and apply as a poultice on the affected area.