What’s So Great About Sage
Did you have a lovely turkey day? If so, it’s quite possible you enjoyed some of this herb and can feel pretty darn good about yourself for feeding it to your family (we’ll ignore the pies for now).
According to Best Health Magazine, we should have been tipped off by the name. The Latin name for sage is “salvia and it derives from salvere, meaning “to be saved”—a sign of its value throughout history. Common sage (Salvia officinalis) has a peppery taste and has been used for centuries to flavour food. Beyond the kitchen, it has been associated with potent healing powers.” The article goes on to say, “traditionally sage was used to treat fevers, as a calming tea to help people get to sleep, and for colds,” says Paul Saunders, a naturopathic doctor and professor at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Now, modern science is corroborating some of its historical uses.” And while of course we sing the praises of foods that are showing promise in more dramatic areas like the prevention of cancer and heart disease, the day to day concerns of quality sleep and battling through cold and flu season are nothing to sneeze at (so ashamed.)
Beyond its potential to help treat colds and fevers, sage has been shown to improve cognitive function in the elderly. In that same Best Health article they refer to “a 2003 study at Northumbria University in the U.K. which found that healthy adults who had taken Spanish sage oil had a higher word recall than the other participants.
These findings have been confirmed in other studies, too. Acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the brain, is found in lower levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Sage is believed to inhibit the loss of this chemical, though researchers are still unraveling the science behind it. “It’s pretty exciting because we don’t have much to offer [for Alzheimer’s],” says Saunders. A BBC report hints that science is catching up with what alternative medicine has known for sometime. They point out that “sage is often referred to in ancient texts – in 1597 the herbalist John Gerard said that it was “singularly good for the head and quickeneth the nerves and memory.”
Other benefits outlined in the article include using sage as a mouthwash (since it has antibacterial properties) and soothing indigestion as well as the sore throat that goes along with that cold, when taken as a tea. One caveat: as with most natural remedies, if you want to try using sage for something other than stuffing the bird, check with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
And I’ve saved the really important scientific information for last. Sage oil can reduce the appearance of cellulite! Now, I know this is a blog devoted to encouraging kids to choose healthy foods and cellulite cures have exactly nothing to do with that mission but nonetheless this is a little tidbit (from www.completewellbeing.com) to file away for the ladies (because men don’t get cellulite…why nature, why?). I know I certainly have no use for it right now as there is positively no cellulite on my currently flawless body (picture tragically unavailable…you can just take my word for it) but knowledge is power. Oh and, grudgingly I will add that apparently, “The herb nourishes the scalp, improves blood circulation and encourages hair growth. Sage has been used to reverse premature greying and loss of hair. Massaging your scalp with sage oil can even reverse male pattern baldness.” So there’s one for the guys but really…you’re thighs look amazing, how much more do you want??
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