Native to the Mediterranean region, sage (Salvia officinalis) is a member of the mint family that has long been used in cooking and folk medicine. During the ancient times, this herb was associated with health and longevity. An old proverb said, “Why should a man die who has a sage in his garden?” Indeed, this herb will definitely keep you healthy and keep you away from diseases if you incorporate it into your daily diet.
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- History of Sage
- Sage Nutrition Facts
- Top 11 Health Benefits of Sage
- Potential Side Effects of Sage
- Sage Fun Facts
History of Sage
The Romans considered the sage to be a sacred herb where they had to perform a ceremony before gathering it. The person who was appointed to gather the herbs must be well washed, barefoot and wear a tunic. He must also place offerings of bread and wine and not use iron tools in gathering.
For the American Indians, the sage was a purifying herb. They had a name for different species of the plant: the ‘Sister Sage’ or the broadleaf sage, and the ‘Grandmother Sage’ or the Spirit Caller. They used the herb during smudging which was meant to cleanse and purify an individual’s aura and the environment.
Aside from being used in rituals, the sage was also favored for its medicinal properties. The Romans drank sage tea after having eaten a large, fatty meal since they believed that it can help ease the digestion. The Chinese valued sage tea so much that they would trade three chests of Chinese tea for just one chest of sage tea from the Dutch. Until today, sage is still well-loved due to its amazing health benefits.
Sage Nutrition Facts
For every 28 grams (1 ounce) of dried, ground sage, you will get the following nutrients:
- 2 Calories (4% Daily Value)
- 51.1 From Carbohydrate
- 29.9 From Fat
- 7.3 From Protein
- 0 grams Carbohydrate (6% Daily Value)
- 11.3 Dietary Fiber (45% Daily Value)
- 0.5 grams Sugars
- 6 grams Total Fat (5% Daily Value)
- 2.0 grams Saturated Fat (10% Daily Value)
- 0.5 grams Monounsaturated Fat
- 0.5 grams Polyunsaturated Fat
- 344 milligrams Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- 148 milligrams Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- 0 grams Protein (6% Daily Value)
- 1652 IU Vitamin A (33% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Vitamin C (15% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Vitamin E – Alpha Tocopherol (10% Daily Value)
- 480 micrograms Vitamin K (600% Daily Value)
- 2 milligrams Thiamin (14% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Riboflavin (14% Daily Value)
- 6 milligrams Niacin (8% Daily Value)
- 8 milligrams Vitamin B6 (38% Daily Value)
- 7 micrograms Folate (19% Daily Value)
- 2 milligrams Choline
- 463 milligrams Calcium (46% Daily Value)
- 9 milligrams Iron (44% Daily Value)
- 120 milligrams Magnesium (30% Daily Value)
- 5 milligrams Phosphorous (3% Daily Value)
- 300 milligrams Potassium (9% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Sodium (0% Daily Value)
- 3 milligrams Zinc (9% Daily Value)
- 2 milligrams Copper (11% Daily Value)
- 0 micrograms Selenium (1% Daily Value)
- 3 milligrams Phytosterols
- 2 grams Water
Top 11 Health Benefits of Sage
Nicknamed as the ‘thinker’s tea’, sage has long been recognized as a herb that improves the brain’s cognitive function such as an individual’s attention span and mental concentration. This is due to thujone, the chemical component in this herb that also helps quicken the senses.
Strengthens the bones
Sage is an excellent source of vitamin K, an important component in the formation of strong bones. Adding sage to your daily diet will provide you your daily vitamin K needs, thereby reducing the risk of having osteoporosis when you age.
Fortifies the immune system
The fresh leaves of this herb are rich in vitamin C that prevents infections and improves the body’s disease-fighting capabilities. Vitamin C also expels harmful free-radicals that trigger various diseases such as cancer.
Lowers blood sugar levels
Eating sage can be beneficial to people with hyperglycemia (too much glucose in the blood) in managing their proper blood sugar levels. It does this by inhibiting the release of the stored glucose in the liver, thus preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Sharpens the vision
A tablespoon of dried, ground sage will give you 118 IU of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Both nutrients are essential in maintaining a healthy vision. It also prevents damage from UV exposure and degenerative eye diseases.
Heals skin irritations
Sage contains tannic acid, a chemical compound that heals skin rashes and other diseases such as eczema and fungal infections. The eucalyptol in sage also soothes prickly heat, diaper rashes, and blisters.
Reduces cholesterol levels
Salvigenin, a flavone that is found in sage, clears the blood vessels and makes sure that the oxygenated blood can flow throughout the body without any obstruction. It helps in reducing the cholesterol levels and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
Detoxifies the body
To keep harmful free radicals from causing chronic diseases and compromising your health, incorporating sage in your daily diet will get rid of the toxins in the body. Some of the antioxidants found in sage that detoxify the body are luteolin, selenium, and apigenin.
Treats hair loss
Stress and unhealthy lifestyle can cause your hair to fall off more frequently. Prevent this from happening by applying a shampoo with sage extracts or using a sage hair rinse. The beta-sitosterol in this herb stimulates the growth of the hair while keeping it shiny and free from dandruff.
Promotes proper digestion
The oils that are extracted from sage stimulates the production of digestive juices, resulting in a smoother, better digestive process. It also treats indigestion and bloating.
Balances hormonal levels
Sage also contains plenty of phytoestrogens or hormones that are found in plants. Taking this herb as a supplement will help balance your hormonal levels and stimulate regular menstruation. It also relieves dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the abdomen.
Potential Side Effects of Sage
- Sage is safe when consumed in amounts that are normally used in food. It is also safe when taken orally as a medicine for a short period of time.
- It is unsafe to take sage as a medicine long-term since it contains the chemical thujone that can cause seizures, poisoning, and damage to the nervous system.
- For pregnant women, taking sage as a medicine is strongly discouraged because of thujone. Breastfeeding women are also discouraged from taking this herb since it can reduce the milk supply.
- For diabetic people, taking sage can cause hypoglycemia (deficiency of glucose in the blood). Consult your physician first before using sage.
- Certain species of sage can cause your blood pressure to increase or drop. For people with high blood pressure, the common sage can cause it to increase; for people with low blood pressure, the Spanish sage can cause it to drop down. Consult your physician first before using this herb.
- For people who are about to undergo surgery, stop using sage two weeks prior to your operation as it can interfere with your blood sugar levels.
Sage Fun Facts
- There used to be a betrothing practice when virgins went out in groups to a park on an evening, each with a sage on her hand to perform rituals with. After the ritual, their future spouses would then appear with the intent of marrying them.
- Sage is often used in smudging ceremonies. Smudging is a custom of the Native Americans where a cleansing smoke bath is created to purify the body, aura, and energy of a person.
- During the Middle Ages when food was scarce, sage was used to mask the smell of rancid meat.
- It was also during the medieval period when people believed that the sage indicated the success of a household’s business, depending on how well it grew in their garden.
- An old English custom dictated that eating sage everyday will give a person immortality.