Sage (Salvia officinalis), is a perennial shrub that belongs to the mint (Lamiaceae) family and it is most commonly grown for its aromatic leaves used as a tea. Sage stalks can grow upright or on the ground, forming a dense woody arrangement with broad, elliptical, silvery-green leaves alternately arranged on the stems. Sage flowers can be blue, pink or white.
This plant usually grows 40-70 cm (16 – 28 in) in height and can live for 15-20 years, though it is usually replaced after 4-5 years in gardens when it already becomes woody.
History of sage
Because sage is one of the oldest and most important medicinal plants, all ancient medical texts have it in its contents. In ancient times, sage was considered a cure for almost all diseases, used to decrease body temperature, treat headache, regulate pain in the mouth, throat and respiratory tract; for inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder. It has also been used to treat inflammation of the intestines, stomach, liver, gallbladder and urinary tract.
The ancient Romans considered it a sacred plant so they would perform a certain ritual before harvesting. They used special ceremonial knives that had no iron in them to avoid a reaction with sage. The sage collectors had to wear completely clean clothes and to have clean feet. Before the beginning of the harvest, it was necessary to make sacrifices in the form of food.
Sage has many medicinal properties. It is a stimulant, diuretic, and expectorant; it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and also serves as an appetite enhancer. Because of these characteristics, sage tea can provide many health benefits.
Sage tea has an antimicrobial property which can help eliminate the bacteria that cause dental caries, and this effect in combination with astringent action provides an excellent treatment for mouth and throat pain.
Sage tea effects
Antioxidants act as cleaners who remove free radicals of metabolism and other environmental toxins such as smoke and pesticides that retain themselves in the organism. They prevent tissue damage, slow down the signs of early aging and reduce the risk of conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Impact on the mental state
Consuming sage tea improves memory, alertness and attention, while the use of sage leaves in aromatherapy promotes an exclusive state of alertness, not memory and attention. Sage tea can improve the process of learning, remembering and processing information in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This action is prescribed to decrease in the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory-related processes whose amount is reduced in people with this disease.
Effect on cholesterol
Taking sage tea on a regular basis can reduce the concentration of triglyceride and “bad” LDL-cholesterol in the blood, and raise the amount of “good” HDL-cholesterol in people who have problems with dyslipidemia.
Effect on menopausal symptoms
During menopause, a woman’s body experiences a natural decline in estrogen, which can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms including hot flashes, excessive sweating, and irritability.
Sage tea has traditionally been used to reduce the symptoms of menopause because some sage compounds have estrogenic properties, which allows them to bind to specific receptors in the brain to improve memory and heal hot flashes and excessive sweating.