Sage leaves are well-known, but not-so-often-used, save for seasonal cooking. In the winter, sage pops up in many dishes, complementing meat roasts and maple syrup infused squash dishes. It has an aroma that evokes a sense of winter warmth and comfort. However, beyond its culinary perks is sage's ranking in the world of herbal remedies. Sage leaves are incredibly potent and can both boost your mood and keep your immunity on the up and up. Learn why sage leaves should be part of your daily diet.
Sage is a perennial, evergreen subshrub that is member of the Lamiaceae family and native to the Mediterranean region. Today, it is grown around the world and rises from the soil, bearing woody stems, grayish leaves and blue and purple flowers. It’s soft and light, has earthy overtones and is fit for both sweet and savory dishes. Fresh sage leaves are slight fuzzy and have long been used as decorative complements. Sage is readily available fresh or dried and has both culinary and medicinal properties. Its scientific name Salvia officinalis stands as testament to sage’s superiority among herbal remedies. In Latin, salvere means, “to be saved”.
Sage’s medicinal features lie in its volatile oils, flavonoids and phenolic acid. One phenolic acid, rosmarinic acid, has shown to reduce the inflammation response as well as act as an effective intervention for seasonal allergies. This makes sage a wonderful companion in the cold-weather months by soothing inflammatory conditions like arthritis as well as assisting those who struggle with their allergies when transitioning to a new season.
Did you know sage can make you, well, just that - sage? The herb is able to enhance memory and alleviate depression. Sage has been used for centuries to assist Alzheimer’s disease and other mental disorders. It also improves memory and cognition and increases alertness, calmness and contentedness. The aroma of sage alone has also proven to significantly enhance the quality of memory.
Meanwhile, sage’s anti-cancerous effects have been analyzed and studies have pointed to sage’s power to inhibit the colonization of cancer cells in vivo as well as reduce the oxidative DNA damage in vitro leading up to cancer. The oil extracts of sage leaves have additionally shown to prevent cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, resulting in the inhibition of the growth of human colon cancer cell lines.
Sage holds strong antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal attributes, making it somewhat of a panacea for all kinds of ailments. It has also been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol whilst increasing HDL (god) cholesterol in the body. Sage’s carnosic acid significantly inhibits triglyceride elevation after the consumption of lipids, effectively halting lipid absorption. This can result in losing unwanted weight.
Herbal remedies are an effective way to stave off illness and to lead a healthier and happier life. Sage is up there with the best of the best of all herbs, and it should be a part of your delicious and healthy winter diet. Enjoy!
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Photo Credit: Jen