Sage Seeds (15)
Wide variety of culinary uses. Dusty, green leaves are used in dressing, sauces, salted herbs, sausage, and tea. Make a good base for dried floral wreaths. Medicinal: Leaves are used as digestive and nerve tonics. Also known as garden sage. Perennial in Zones 4-8. Edible Flowers: Lovely, small lavender flowers appear in early summer with a mild and sage-like flavor. Flower spikes can be battered and fried, cooked in rice, egg, or cheese dishes, or used to garnish salads and pizza. Avg. 3,100 seeds/oz. Packet: 200 seeds. | Herb Common Sage Seeds | 200 Seeds | Johnny's Selected Seeds | Salvia Officinalis
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 (1Trusted Source).
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.
1. High in Several Nutrients
Sage packs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
One teaspoon (0.7 grams) of ground sage contains (2Trusted Source):
Protein: 0.1 grams
Carbs: 0.4 grams
Fat: 0.1 grams
Vitamin K: 10% of the reference daily intake (RDI)
Iron: 1.1% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 1.1% of the RDI
Calcium: 1% of the RDI
Manganese: 1% of the RDI
As you can see, a small amount of sage packs 10% of your daily vitamin K needs (2Trusted Source).
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 (3Trusted Source).
Since it’s consumed in tiny amounts, sage provides only minuscule amounts of carbs, calories, protein and fiber.
Sage 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.
2. Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that help fortify your body’s defenses, neutralizing potentially harmful free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases (4Trusted Source).
Sage contains over 160 distinct polyphenols, which are plant-based chemical compounds that act as antioxidants in your body (5Trusted Source).
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 (1Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
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 (6Trusted Source).
Sage is loaded with antioxidants that are linked to several health benefits, including improved brain function and lower cancer risk.
3. May Support Oral Health
Sage has antimicrobial effects, which can neutralize microbes that promote dental plaque.
In one study, a sage-based mouthwash was shown to effectively kill the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is notorious for causing dental cavities (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
In a test-tube study, a sage-based essential oil was shown to kill and halt the spread of Candida albicans, a fungus that may also cause cavities (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
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).
Sage has antimicrobial properties that may kill microbes that encourage the growth of dental plaque.
4. 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.
Common sage was traditionally used to reduce menopause symptoms (12Trusted Source).
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 (13Trusted Source).
In one study, daily use of a sage supplement significantly reduced the number and intensity of hot flashes over eight weeks (14Trusted Source).
Sage may help reduce the intensity and frequency of menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and irritability.
5. 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 (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
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 (17Trusted Source).
In humans, sage leaf extract has been shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity with a similar effect as rosiglitazone, another anti-diabetes drug (18Trusted Source).
However, there is still not enough evidence to recommend sage as a diabetes treatment. More human research is needed.
While sage may lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity, more human research is needed.
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6. May Support Memory and Brain Health
Sage can help support your brain and memory in several ways.
For one, it’s loaded with compounds that can act as antioxidants, which have been shown to buffer your brain’s defense system (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
It also appears to halt the breakdown of the chemical messenger acetylcholine (ACH), which has a role in memory. ACH levels appear to fall in Alzheimer’s disease (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
In one study, 39 participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease consumed either 60 drops (2 ml) of a sage extract supplement or a placebo daily for four months.
Those taking the sage extract performed better on tests that measured memory, problem-solving, reasoning and other cognitive abilities (21Trusted Source).
In healthy adults, sage was shown to improve memory in low doses. Higher doses also elevated mood and increased alertness, calmness and contentedness (23Trusted Source).
In both younger and older adults, sage appears to improve memory and brain function (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
Studies show that sage may improve memory, brain function and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
7. May Lower ‘Bad’ LDL Cholesterol
Every minute, more than one person in the US dies from heart disease (26Trusted Source).
High “bad” LDL cholesterol is a key heart disease risk factor, affecting one in three Americans (27Trusted Source).
Sage may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries and potentially cause damage.
In one study, consuming sage tea twice daily lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and total blood cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol after just two weeks (6Trusted Source).
Several other human studies illustrate a similar effect with sage extract (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).
Intake of sage and sage products have been shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
8. May Protect Against Certain Cancers
Cancer is a leading cause of death in which cells grow abnormally.
Interestingly, animal and test-tube studies demonstrate that sage may fight certain types of cancer, including those of the mouth, colon, liver, cervix, breast, skin and kidney (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source).
In these studies, sage extracts not only suppress the growth of cancer cells but also stimulate cell death.
While this research is encouraging, human studies are needed to determine whether sage is effective at fighting cancer in humans.
Test-tube and animal research suggest that sage may fight certain cancer cells, though human research is needed.
9–11. Other Potential Health Benefits
Sage and its compounds are linked to several other health benefits.
However, these benefits have not been extensively researched.
May alleviate diarrhea: Fresh sage is a traditional remedy for diarrhea. Test-tube and animal studies found that it contains compounds that may alleviate diarrhea by relaxing your gut (41, 42).
May support bone health: Vitamin K, which sage offers in large amounts, plays a role in bone health. A deficiency in this vitamin is linked to bone thinning and fractures (2, 43Trusted Source).
May combat skin aging: Several test-tube studies suggest that sage compounds may help fight signs of aging, such as wrinkles (44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
Sage has been linked to other potential health benefits, such as relieving diarrhea, supporting bone health and combatting skin aging.
12. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Sage comes in several forms and can be used in a variety of ways.
Fresh sage leaves have a strong aromatic flavor and are best used sparingly in dishes.
Here are some ways you can add fresh sage to your diet:
Sprinkle as a garnish on soups.
Mix into a stuffing in roast dishes.
Combine chopped leaves with butter to make sage butter.
Add chopped leaves to tomato sauce.
Serve it with eggs in an omelet.
Dried sage is often preferred by cooks and comes ground, rubbed or in whole leaves.
Here are some ways you can use dried sage:
As a rub for meats.
As a seasoning for roasted vegetables.
Combined with mashed potatoes or squash for a more earthy flavor.
You can also purchase sage products, such as sage tea and sage extract supplements.
Sage is incredibly versatile and easy to add to soups, stews and baked dishes. It’s available fresh, dried or ground.
Does It Have Side Effects?
Sage is considered safe with no reported side effects (46Trusted Source).
However, some people are concerned about thujone, a compound found in common sage. Animal research has found that high doses of thujone may be toxic to the brain (47Trusted Source).
That said, there is no good evidence that thujone is toxic to humans (48Trusted Source).
What’s more, it’s nearly impossible to consume toxic amounts of thujone through foods. However, drinking too much sage tea or ingesting sage essential oils — which should be avoided in any case — may have toxic effects.
To be on the safe side, limit sage tea consumption to 3–6 cups a day (47Trusted Source).
Otherwise, if you are concerned about thujone in common sage, then you can simply consume Spanish sage instead, as it does not contain thujone (46Trusted Source).
Sage is safe to eat and has no reported side effects, though consuming sage essential oils or too much sage tea may be linked to adverse effects.
The Bottom Line
Sage is an herb with several promising health benefits.
It’s high in antioxidants and may help support oral health, aid brain function and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
This green spice is also easy to add to almost any savory dish. It can be enjoyed fresh, dried or as a tea.
Sage is an herb from the mint family that has a sweet, yet savory flavor. Botanically known as Salvia officinalis, it is native to the Mediterranean region. Sage's botanical name comes from the Latin word "salvere," meaning "to be saved." Once prized for its medicinal value, the most popular use of sage these days is in the stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey. But sage is much too good to bring out only once a year for the holiday dinner.
Sage has a very long and rich history due to both its medicinal and culinary uses. At one time, the French produced bountiful crops of sage which they used as a tea. The Chinese became enamored with French sage tea, trading four pounds of Chinese tea for every one pound of sage tea. In 812 AD, sage was one of the plants deemed so important that Charlemagne ordered it planted on German Imperial farms, no doubt due to the lucrative trade business as well as for its medicinal popularity.
In ancient Rome, sage was considered to have substantial healing properties, particularly helpful in the digestion of the ubiquitous fatty meats of the time, and was deemed a part of the official Roman pharmacopeia. The herb was used to heal ulcers, to help stop the bleeding of wounds, and to soothe a sore throat. The Chinese used sage to treat colds, joint pain, typhoid fever, and kidney and liver issues.
Sage Uses Today
In addition to its medicinal properties, sage has been proven to be a natural antiseptic and preservative for meat. When sage is made into a drink from the leaves, called the "thinker's tea," it has shown promise in treating Alzheimer's patients, as well as treating symptoms of depression. Three-lobed sage contains the flavone salvigenin, which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Sage has also been shown to improve or eliminate hot flashes in menopausal women. Sage can also be used as a part of your dental health routine; not only is it proven to help soothe a sore throat and canker sores, but it can treat gum disease as well.
In addition, sage can be used externally for your hair, skin, and nails. Used as a rinse, it is said to improve the texture and tone of hair, as well as leave a nice shine. Sage steeped in water can also be used as a facial toner that controls oily skin. Tea tree oil, basil oil, sage oil, and arrowroot have been found to help vent and treat fungal infection in toenails.
Sage in Cooking
Because of sage's nutritional benefits, it is an excellent herb to incorporate into everyday cooking. A tablespoon of sage has 43 percent of the daily recommended serving of vitamin K and is also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. It contains much higher doses than the recommended daily requirements of B vitamins such as folic acid, thiamin, pyridoxine, and riboflavin, as well as healthy amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, and copper.
But it is also its unique flavor that makes sage an ideal herb to add to dishes. When combined with browned butter, the sage turns a simple sauce into something truly special, wonderful spooned over chicken and vegetables, and delicious with pasta like a butternut squash ravioli. A traditional French dish of scallops in a cream sauce uses sage to bring a warm, complex flavor to the sweetness of the shellfish. You can also incorporate sage into a lemon marinade for chicken, or in a compound butter for grilled steak. The herb also marries nicely with the flavor of orange in an easy-to-make yeast bread.
Recipe for pictured Sage Pizza
Three-Cheese Pizza with Onion, Sage, and Arugula
214 hr, 45 min·Yield: Makes 1 (14-inch) pizza
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil