Sage has a sweet, yet soft memorable flavor and fragrance along with its promising health promoting benefits. The international herb association awarded sage with the title of ‘herb of the year’ in the year 2001. Sage is available throughout the year in whole, dried or powdered form. The leaves of sage have a lance shape and grayish blue color with a silver color covering. Not only used extensively for culinary purposes, sage also has a high esteem regarding its medicinal benefits. The scientific name for sage is Salvia officinalis which is derived from a Latin word which means ‘to be saved’. The health promoting benefits of sage are attributed to the phenolic acids including rosemarinic acid, flavonoids including luteolin, diosmetin and apigenin and a variety of volatile oils present in it. Sage extract tea was very famous and was used to treat many conditions like mouth inflammation, sore throat, coughs and gingivitis.
Anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects –
The rosemarinic acid present in sage has an anti-inflammatory effect and acts by altering the concentrations of leukotriene B4 thereby reducing the inflammatory responses. This acid is easily absorbed in the gut and starts its anti-inflammatory response immediately. Rosemarinic acid also functions as an antioxidant and works synergistically with superoxide dismutase and peroxidase which are present in leaves and stem of the sage plant. All these antioxidant compounds with phenolic acid and flavonoids which work together to decrease the oxygen related damage to the cells, by neutralizing the free radicals in the body. For this reason many times health care specialists recommend increased used of sage in different preparations for people suffering from bronchial asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and atherosclerosis. Sage is also used in various experiments by some oil companies as it is believed to have the ability to prevent the oils from getting oxidized and thereby increasing the shelf life of the oil by preventing its rancidity.
Brain function –
Sage is used by many herbalists to improve brain function and as a memory enhancer, and now this effect is confirmed by the research published in Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior in June 2003 issue. For more than hundred years sage had been used in the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases. Another result published in the British Pharmaceutical Conference showed that the Chinese sage or Salvia miltiorrhiza contains some active components that are similar to the drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss along with increase in the levels of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. Components isolated from Chinese sage were found to be AChE inhibitors.