Sage is more than a holiday cooking herb and candle favorite. It is a natural cleaning agent, pesticide and ritual object too.
Sage is a staple herb in various cuisines around the world.
Its other names include common sage, garden sage and Salvia officinalis. It belongs to the mint family, alongside other herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme (1).
Sage has a strong aroma and earthy flavor, which is why it’s typically used in small amounts. Even so, it’s packed with a variety of important nutrients and compounds.
Sage is also used as a natural cleaning agent, pesticide and ritual object in spiritual sage burning or smudging.
This green herb is available fresh, dried or in oil form — and has numerous health benefits.
Here are 12 surprising health benefits of sage.
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- High in Several Nutrients
Sage packs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
One teaspoon (0.7 grams) of ground sage contains (2):
- Calories: 2
- Protein:1 grams
- Carbs:4 grams
- Fat:1 grams
- Vitamin K:10% of the reference daily intake (RDI)
- Iron:1% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6:1% of the RDI
- Calcium:1% of the RDI
- Manganese:1% of the RDI
Sage also contains small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper and vitamins A, C and E.
What’s more, this aromatic spice houses caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, rosmarinic acid, ellagic acid and rutin — all of which play a role in its beneficial health effects (3).
Since it’s consumed in tiny amounts, sage provides only minuscule amounts of carbs, calories, protein and fiber.
SUMMARYSage is rich in nutrients — especially vitamin K — despite being low in calories. One teaspoon (0.7 grams) boasts 10% of your daily vitamin K needs.
- Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that help fortify your body’s defenses, neutralizing potentially harmful free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases (4).
Chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, ellagic acid and rutin — all found in sage — are linked to impressive health benefits, such as a lower risk of cancer and improved brain function and memory (1, 3).
One study found that drinking 1 cup (240 ml) of sage tea twice daily significantly increased antioxidant defenses. It also lowered both total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as raised “good” HDL cholesterol (6).
SUMMARYSage is loaded with antioxidants that are linked to several health benefits, including improved brain function and lower cancer risk.
- May Support Oral Health
Sage has antimicrobial effects, which can neutralize microbes that promote dental plaque.
One review noted that sage may treat throat infections, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers. However, more human research is needed to make comprehensive recommendations (11).
SUMMARYSage has antimicrobial properties that may kill microbes that encourage the growth of dental plaque.
- May Ease Menopause Symptoms
During menopause, your body experiences a natural decline in the hormone estrogen. This can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.
Symptoms include hot flashes, excessive sweating, vaginal dryness and irritability.
It’s believed that compounds in sage have estrogen-like properties, allowing them to bind to certain receptors in your brain to help improve memory and treat hot flashes and excessive sweating (13).
In one study, daily use of a sage supplement significantly reduced the number and intensity of hot flashes over eight weeks (14).
SUMMARYSage may help reduce the intensity and frequency of menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and irritability.
- May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
The leaves of common sage have been used traditionally as a remedy against diabetes.
Human and animal research indicates that it may help lower blood sugar levels.
In one study, sage extract reduced blood glucose levels in rats with type 1 diabetes by activating a specific receptor. When this receptor is activated, it can help clear excess free fatty acids in the blood, which in turn improves insulin sensitivity (15, 16).
Another study in mice with type 2 diabetes found that sage tea acts like metformin — a drug prescribed to manage blood sugar in people with the same disease (17).
However, there is still not enough evidence to recommend sage as a diabetes treatment. More human research is needed.
|Read on: 12 Health Benefits and Uses of Sage|