Sage scientific name is Salvia Officinalis, some other common names are salvia, sefakuss, and garden sage. It has a centuries-old reputation for exerting a beneficial influence on the brain, nerves, eyes, and glands. Gerard testified to the effectiveness of the herb for “quickening the senses and memory strengthening the sinew and restoring health to those suffering from palsies and trembling of limbs.” The word ‘sage’ meaning ‘wise’ is popularly used as folklore medicine and represents the herb of eternity, home remedy, health, and sagacity. It is a multi-purpose herb used for culinary and Ayurvedic purposes. In Europe cultivation of sage has been reported since ancient times for cooking and healing purpose. Hippocrates used to prescribe sage poultices to heal infected wounds, sores, and torpid ulcers. It also used to be very popular among the Chinese, who preferred it over ordinary tea in winter.
In traditional Indian Siddha medicine, sage known as Karpooravalli has been used for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, migraine, and rhinitis. The immense usage of sage including culinary, medicinal, aromatic, and pharmaceutical makes it most popular among essential oil-bearing plants.
Morphology and Chemical Constituent
Morphology – Sage is an evergreen woody-stemmed shrub with greyish-green stalked slender leaves with a rough texture and purplish-blue flowers. The dried herb is grey, with a tinge of green, it has a strong spicy aroma and a slightly bitter and astringent taste. The flowers are highly aromatic camphor-scented showy with abundant nectar and are found to be attractive to butterflies, honeybees, and sometimes to hummingbirds.
Chemical Constituent – Sage contains volatile oil, resin, tannin, and a bitter principle, the oil is composed of camphor, salvene, cineol, and pinene. The fresh leaves provide appreciable amounts of vitamins A and C. The essential oil contains camphor 23.38%, α-thujone 22.82%, sclareol 10.46%, β-thujone 9.96%, 1,8-cineole 7.83%, γ-selinene 7.73%, α-humulene 5.59%, caryophyllene 3.16%, borneol 3.06%, limonene 1.74% and humulene epoxide 1.02%.
Sage originated in the Mediterranean countries but is now cultivated in Europe and North America, in India the herb is cultivated for its essential oil. Sage could be grown in dry, hilly regions, on heavy clay soils, up to 750 m altitudes, and found in a range of habitats including dry shrubby vegetation, dry meadows, and rocky steppes. It is cultivated throughout Europe and the USA, including Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Argentina, Germany, France, Malta, Turkey, England, and Canada
Health Benefits and Uses of Sage
Sage has played an important part in the history of botanic medicine, the Chinese adage ‘sage for old age’ sums up its healthful qualities. It has a reputation for slowing the aging process, restoring energy, and aiding digestion. In pharmaceutical writings, sage is listed among the natural antiseptics. Traditionally garden sage is used for the treatment of localized pain, rheumatism, convulsion, arthritis, vertigo, diarrhea, sclerosis, respiratory, metabolic, and mental disorders. The sage leaves help to treat menstrual cramps and urinary tract infections. The sage contains antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and hypolipidemic properties.
Sage is also beneficial to treat inflammations in the mouth and throat, skin diseases, nervous disorders, depression, and cerebral ischemia. Sage leaves and infused leaf decoctions are used for controlling toothache, mouth ulcers, gum bleeding, and foul breath, and fresh leaves are chewed as a mouth freshener.
Sage is also used in western cooking like poultry stuffing, and the flavoring of meat, sausages, and fish, the essential oil of sage is used in perfumes, deodorants, and insecticidal treatments.
Here are some health benefits of Sage
Sage is considered very useful in cases of failing memory, it acts on the cortex of the brain thereby eliminating mental exhaustion and improving concentration.
In earlier times leafy sprigs along with some other herbs were spread on the floors of the old manors for their antiseptic qualities and to guard against plague and other infections.
Premature Grey Hairs
Sage blended with hair tonic is useful in preventing grey hairs.
Sage is known for its healing action on the throat and mouth, gargles and mouthwashes use it as the principal ingredient. Leaves rubbed on the teeth regularly help to keep them sparkling white and strengthen the gums.
To prepare a gargle for sore throat, take half a liter of boiling water is poured on a handful of sage leaves, and when moderately cool, a little vinegar and honey are added, this mixture is used as a gargle. While gargling, a tsp of this mixture can also be taken internally.
Tea prepared from sage leaves is beneficial as a stress buster, tea is prepared by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1 tsp of dried sage leave and covering it with a lid. The water should be infused for a few minutes before it is strained, add honey for sweetness. In the case of fresh leaves, a tablespoon of chopped sage leaves can be used to prepare the tea.
Sage is one of the most popular herbs used in culinary preparations in the west, it helps counteract the harmful richness of food like pork, goose, duck, and oily fish. It also combines well with dairy foods, and bean and pea soups. Dried and powdered sage leaves are mixed with cooked vegetables and sprinkled on cheese dishes. Fresh sage leaves are used in salads and sandwiches.
Side Effects of Sage
All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based and don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.
Sage can be useful in appropriate quantity, but it can be very harmful if it is taken in large amounts or in the wrong way, overdosed or the wrong dose can cause restlessness, seizures, nausea, vomiting, agitation, wheezing, and skin rash.
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Frequently Asked Question
Q - What is the herb sage used for?
Sage leaves and infused leaf decoctions are used for controlling toothache, mouth ulcers, gum bleeding, and foul breath, and fresh leaves are chewed as a mouth freshener. It can also used in western cooking like poultry stuffing, and the flavoring of meat, sausages, and fish, the essential oil of sage is used in perfumes, deodorants, and insecticidal treatments.
Q - What is sage herb called in India?
In traditional Indian Siddha medicine, sage known as Karpooravalli, other common names are salvia, sefakuss, and garden sage
Q - Can you eat sage leaves?
Yes, sage are edible, it is used in western cooking like poultry stuffing, and the flavoring of meat, sausages, and fish.