While visiting us in the summer months, it’s hard to ignore the rows upon rows of sage gently rustling in the breeze. Their lush foliage and esthetically-pleasing uniform shrubbery draw the eye from across the field, but why did we bother planting over 1000 of these orderly plants?
Sage is, unassumingly, one of the most useful and powerful herbs commonly available to us. Sage has been used for hundreds of years for everything from seasoning poultry, to combating the plague. It’s true that sage was sometimes referred to as S. salvatrix (sage the savior).
Sage is composed of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and antispasmodics that prevent damage from free radicals. Some cultures continue to use sage for ceremonial cleansing (sage smudging has recently become popular throughout North America), while the Romans recommended it as a diuretic, an antihemorrhagic, and a tonic.
As North Americans, we mostly used sage in our turkey stuffings, but it is used for a variety of dishes in Europe, in addition to parsley, rosemary, and thyme. As well, sage tea and cold sage soup are common european recipes that are not often seen in these parts.
There have been a number of studies on the benefits of sage. One such study found that drinking one cup of sage tea, twice daily significantly increased antioxidant defences – meaning your body would be better equipped to battle colds and flus. It also lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and raised “good” HDL cholesterol.
More test-tube studies indicated that sage could potentially improve dental health. One study suggested that sage could halt the spread of and kill Candida albicans, a fungus that causes cavities. Yet another review proposed that sage may treat throat infections, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers, although it is worth noting that more human research is needed to make appropriate recommendations.
Other researchers concluded that sage may also do wonderful things like improve memory and brain health, combat alzheimer’s, reduce blood sugar levels, ease menopause symptoms, protect against certain cancers, as well as alleviate diarrhea, improve bone health, and combat skin aging. WOW! That is a heck of lot of good stuff.
One can now see why we planted so much of this wonderful herb. Not only does it lend itself to culinary uses, but its potential therapeutic benefits are undeniable. Who wouldn’t want to have access to an antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiseptic plant? Luckily, you can reap all these benefits in multiples ways, by consuming fresh sage leaves, sage hydrosol, or sage essential oil – properly diluted in a carrier oil if using topically!
Sage tea with honey is one of our favourite home remedies to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. How do you enjoy your sage? Let us know in the comments below!