Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Overview

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) other names: Common Sage, Dalmatian Sage, Feuille de la Bergère, Garden Sage, Herbe Sacré, Meadow Sage, Salvia lavandulaefolia, Salvia officinalis, Sauge, Sauge Ananas, Sauge des Prairies, Sauge Divinatoire, Sauge Divine, Sauge Domestique, Sauge Officinale, Scarlet Sage, Spanish Sage, True Sage, Vraie Sauge.

Considered all across the world as a valuable culinary spice, and cultivated everywhere, the sage is a perennial shrub that grows best in its wild state in Europe and in the Mediterranean areas of the world. The sage consists of a strongly branched root system, which produces square and finely hairy sterns. These are woody at the base and bear oblong leaves. The floral leaves of the sage are ovate to ovate-lanceolate. The flowers of the sage are small and two-lipped and they grow in whorls. The flowers of the sage are blue, purple or white in color.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Sage (Salvia Officinalis) flower

The versatile sage can be used for bringing in quick relief from a variety of ailments, both minor and major. For example, to gain immediate relief from itching and swelling accompanying insect bites, a few fresh sage leaves can be plucked, and then crushed or even chewed. When mixed with a little saliva, the sage leaves can make an excellent poultice, albeit crude and wet. This can then be applied to the affected area, and secured in place with the help of common adhesive tape.

When one is suffering from symptoms like sore throat, tonsillitis or loss of voice or from mucus accumulation leading to congested lungs, then sage would be the best bet for providing immediate relief. Sage tea can be used in these cases.

While it may be true that more and more mothers of today believe in breast feeding their infants, so that the infant remains healthy and free from infections, it is also a fact that not many mothers are aware of how exactly they can stop nursing their babies when they are old enough and need to be weaned. Mothers keep producing extra milk, and this becomes completely unneeded when the babies are off the breast. This is when sage can help; two cups of warm sage tea a day for up to 7 days is quite capable of drying up the milk supply quite nicely.

Similarly, an old folk remedy from Nassau in the Bahamas, which uses sage will prove to be immensely useful whenever one suffers from any type of intense and unbearable itching, whether it has been caused by an insect bite, or whether it is due to an allergic reaction. Sage can also help in cases of general nervousness, eczema and psoriasis or coming in contact with poison ivy or sumac.

Sage is often used for actually taking away gray hair. This may be excellent to use because of the fact that it is completely natural, and is therefore free of any chemicals in any form. There are some people who vouch for the efficacy of sage in treating hair conditions; bald spots have filled with hair and at the very least, they have reported noticing an overall improvement in the tone and the texture and the color of one's hair.

Although sage is considered native to the Mediterranean regions, sage can be cultivated all over the world, and sage grows in the wild in a large number of places in the world. Garden sage will grows best when it is planted in well-drained, nitrogen-rich clay loam, preferably near a wall.

Sage will thrive in bright and open sunlight, but the shrub will also tolerate a certain amount of light shade. Over watering must be avoided at any cost, because this would stunt growth, and quietly kill the roots of the plant. The sage can be propagated by seeds, layering, and cuttings.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Health Benefits

Sage is an herb. The leaf of sage is used to make medicine.

Sage is used for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas (flatulence), stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. It is also used for reducing overproduction of perspiration and saliva; and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer's disease.

Sage can be used for all types of sore throats. This is because of the fact that sage has antiseptic and astringents as well as certain relaxing properties, and this is one of the main reasons why sage is used rather frequently in gargles. Sage is also used for treating and bringing relief to sore gums and canker sores. Sage is often described as a digestive tonic, and as a stimulant, and in Chinese medicine, sage enjoys a good reputation as a versatile nerve tonic, as it is used as a yin tonic for helping to calm and stimulate the nervous system. 

Women use sage for painful menstrual periods, to correct excessive milk flow during nursing, and to reduce hot flashes during menopause.

Sage is also an excellent remedy for treating irregular and light menstruation, and this is achieved by encouraging a better flow of blood. Sage is excellent for handling the various symptoms of menopause, as the herb is effective for reducing sweating, a primary indication of menopause. Sage, because it has a combination of tonic and estrogenic effects, is deemed as an excellent remedy for reducing hot flashes while at the same time helping the body to adapt to the hormonal changes involved. Sage has also been used traditionally to treat asthma, while the dried leaves of the herb can be included in herbal smoking mixtures for treating asthma.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Sage (Salvia Officinalis) leaf

Sage is considered to be one of the most valued herbs right through the ages. Sage is used by herbalists to treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from colds and fevers and other similar infections, and it is generally advised that sage must be taken at the first signs of any respiratory infections, like for example, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and catarrh. Sage also relieves tonsillitis. Since the sage possesses astringent and expectorant properties, these help expel phlegm from the chest and reduce catarrh. The airways can be disinfected by a simple process of inhaling the tea prepared with sage. Sage generally enhances the immune system and provides help in thwarting and preventing infections and auto-immune problems in an individual.

Sage is applied directly to the skin for cold sores; gum disease (gingivitis); sore mouth, throat or tongue; and swollen, painful nasal passages.

Some people inhale sage for asthma.

Sage has volatile oils which have the capacity to induce a relaxant effect on the smooth muscle of the digestive tract, and this is the reason why sage is known as a digestive remedy too. The volatile oils of sage, in conjunction with the bitters, prove to stimulate the appetite and improve weak digestion. Sage successfully encourages the flow of bile and digestive enzymes, and settles one's stomach, sage relieves flatulence, colic, colitis, indigestion, and nausea. It also proves extremely useful in treating and relieving liver complaints, and worms. Antiseptic properties of sage are helpful in infections such as gastroenteritis. 

The sage is a tonic to the nervous system and has often been used to enhance strength and vitality in an individual. As mentioned earlier, sage has a stimulating effect upon the female reproductive tract, and is often recommended by herbalists for treating female disorders such as delayed or scanty menses, menstrual cramps, infertility and lack of periods. The estrogenic properties of the herb become very useful for treating menopausal problems, especially for night sweats and hot flashes. Since it is a fact that sage stimulates the uterus, it is no surprise that it can be very useful during childbirth, and for expelling the placenta after childbirth. Sage can also stop the flow of breast milk and therefore, it is excellent for weaning.

Sage possesses potent antioxidant properties, and this proves to be helpful in bringing about a delay in the aging process and in reducing the harmful effects of free radicals.

In foods, sage is used as a commonly used spice.

In manufacturing, sage is used as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics.

Sage can be used to season foods such as gravies, poultry, pickles, stews or soups. It is a fact that garden sage will help and aid digestion; therefore it is a wise idea to use the sage when cooking fatty meats such as pork, duck or sausages. Sage can also be used for lending a zest and a tang when preparing vegetarian dishes such as lima beans, eggplant, and onions, and in omelets, tofu, cheeses or tomato recipes. One must, however, remember to use the sage rather sparingly, because the flavor and the aroma can very easily overtake and overwhelm the actual taste of the foods being cooked. Ground garden sage can be added in small quantities to savory biscuits or muffins that can be served with fish or chicken. Even the cooking oil that one uses can be flavored by a few garden sage leaves to the oil. Commercially, sage can be used to flavor and season foods like soups, and sauces, meats, sausages, pickles, fried chicken, candy, cheeses, chewing gum, baked goods, vermouth or ice cream.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Side effects

Sage is likely safe in amounts typically used in foods. Sage is possibly safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in medicinal amounts short-term (up to 4 months).

However, sage is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses or for a long time. Some species of sage, such as common sage (Salvia officinalis), contain a chemical called thujone. Thujone can be poisonous if you get enough. This chemical can cause seizures and damage to the liver and nervous systems. The amount of thujone varies with the species of plant, the time of harvest, growing conditions, and other factors.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking sage during pregnancy is likely unsafe because of the possibility of consuming thujone, a chemical found in some sage. Thujone can bring on a woman’s menstrual period, and this could cause a miscarriage. Avoid sage if you are breast-feeding, too. There is some evidence that thujone might reduce the mother’s milk supply.

Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Sage (Salvia Officinalis) plant

Diabetes: Sage might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use sage. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use Spanish sage.

High blood pressure, low blood pressure: Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might increase blood pressure in some people with high blood pressure, while common sage (Salvia officinalis) might lower blood pressure in people with blood pressure that is already low. Be sure to monitor your blood pressure.

Seizure disorders: One species of sage (Salvia officinalis) contains significant amounts of thujone, a chemical that can trigger seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, don’t take sage in amounts higher than those typically found in food.

Surgery: Common sage might affect blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using common sage as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.