9 Impressive Benefits of Sage

Amber colored bottle and fresh sage bunch by The Healthy RD

The herb known as sage is time-honored as a potent, healing plant. Sage’s potential health benefits are vast for health because it is rich in many healing compounds.

People have used sage medicinally for thousands of years to enhance memory and to improve many aspects of health.

Sage was even used in Ancient Rome as part of their official medicinal pharmacopeia.

As you will soon find out, sage is aptly named sage, which literally means “someone who has attained wisdom.”

Additionally, sage use as essential oil likely dates back as far as the Middle Ages; the method of steam distillation for essential oils was then developed [R]. 

Sage Varieties

Sage is beautiful to grow, to use in cooking, and to use topically and internally as medicine for our health.

Belonging to the same family known as salvia, sage has a characteristic musky, earthy smell. Over 900 types of sage are available, all with slightly different characteristics.

Most research focuses on Salvia officinalis (common sage), Salvia sclarea (clary sage), and Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) varieties.

Sage May Help Brain Function

Sage may benefit the brain for the following reasons:

  • Improves acetylcholine levels
  • Has antioxidant effects
  • Reduces toxicity of amyloid beta proteins
  • Improves memory
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps protect nerve factors like BDNF

In Alzheimer’s disease, there are low levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.   Essential oil of sage has been shown to reduce the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine.

Sage also reduces the toxicity of amyloid beta proteins to neurons.

In a clinical trial of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, sage improved memory and reduced agitation compared to placebo after 4 months.

Sage also improves memory in healthy adults as well.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sage essential oil resulted in improvements in both the speed of memory and secondary memory. Mood and calmness also improved in the sage group, but not placebo.

Sage is neuroprotective and protects from the damages of amyloid beta toxicity in animal models, in part by protecting BDNF levels.

Sage May Help Cholesterol

Sage may improve cholesterol, both by lowering LDL and raising HDL as demonstrated in rat study.  Sage oil reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.  This oxidation is known to increase the damage of cholesterol to the arteries.

Sage May Help Diabetes

Sage was able to reduce glucose levels safely in a rat model by bringing down inflammation.

More research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.

Sage May Help Fight Cancer

Sage may also reduce the chances of getting some types of cancer.

Sage may reduce the growth of new blood vessels to tumors (reduce angiogenesis).

Sage may reduce cancer risk by increasing cancer cell death of colon cancer, melanoma, and kidney adenocarcinoma cells in lab studies.

In a cell study, sage also reduced the growth of breast cancer cells, colon cancer cells, and cervical cancer cells.

However, more research is needed to determine if sage helps in managing cancer in humans.

Clary Sage Reduces Menstrual Symptoms

Clary sage oil benefits hormonal symptoms for women. A variety of sage called clary sage, or salvia sclarea is beneficial for female pain.

Clary sage, blended with lavender and marjoram, reduced pain symptoms and duration of pain compared to placebo when applied topically as essential oil (DB-RCT) [R].

Clary sage contains substances that are analgesic (reduce pain), including linalyl acetate, linalool, eucalyptol, and β-caryophyllene.

Related post: The 8 Important Reasons Eating Broccoli Every Day Enhances Gut Health

Sage Dampens Anxiety Symptoms by Reducing Cortisol Levels

Sage essential oil benefits a stress hormone in the body known as cortisol.

Inhaling sage essential oil reduced cortisol levels in menopausal women. It also had anti-depressant effects in this group of women compared to control.

Diffusing sage oil for anxiety is a safe option to try if you are suffering from mood changes.

Sage Reduces Hot Flashes

Traditional uses of sage are many and include the ability to alleviate menopausal symptoms in women. Now some research is available to confirm these benefits. One study indeed found that sage did reduce menopause symptoms.

Using sage in a capsule for women of menopausal age reduced hot flashes after 8 weeks.

Further, hot flashes continued to be reduced with each week of use and provided maximal reduction at 8 weeks of use.

No significant side effects of using safe for menopausal symptoms were reported in this study.

Sage May Improve Sexual Function in Men

In one preliminary study, sage essential oil improved testicular function in male rats and improved testosterone and hormone levels. However, much more research is needed to determine if sage helps improve hormone levels in men.

Other Potential Sage Benefits

Sage has many traditional uses and may reduce the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Cold Sores
  • Sore Throats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Painful periods
  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Excessive sweating

Some people also use sage to reduce hair loss.  It has many topical treatments for hair and skin to improve appearance.

More research is needed to confirm whether or not sage works for these conditions.

How Does Sage Work?

Sage benefits the body because it has antioxidant properties, meaning it can potentially help shut down excessive inflammation in the body.

Sage also has compounds that may inhibit cancer growth, such as caryophyllene, manool, and α-humulene.

Sage activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) which is a regulator of genes involved in energy as well as lipid and glucose metabolism.

This activation improves the HDL/LDL ratio and lowers triglycerides in serum, reduces insulin resistance, and may reduce the size of adipose (fat) tissue.

Sage also has antibacterial activities.

Using Sage

Sage is very safe; however, there might be an adverse effect on using S. officinalis variety in excessive amounts, which can be caused by the high content of thujone.

Other varieties do not contain high amounts of this compound. This is why I prefer to use clary sage essential oil.

As with anything, check in with your practitioner about embarking on using sage essential oil benefits medicinally.

Sage Essential Oil Benefits: My Story

My experience with Clary Sage is quite remarkable.  When applied twice daily to the ankles, clary sage has made my mood clearly better, especially around the time of my menstrual cycle.

I find that consistent use is really important; twice daily.  Sage oil benefits every aspect of my day, from how I feel at work, to my focus, and how I deal with hormonal fluctuations.  Setting up a routine for its use can actually be a relaxing part of the day as well.

Clary sage is a favorite of mine to use as an essential oil, especially when blended with lavender and chamomile.  Use only high-quality essential oils.

any so-called “pure” brands use toxic solvents for extraction.  Use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Only.

But be cautious: essential oils are very concentrated. If you develop a rash, you should discontinue its use.

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