Sunday, October 16, 2011

Health Benefits of Sage

Sage is commonly grown herb that is well known for its use in the kitchen. Sage is used to give dishes a unique flavor. Sage has a strong smell and bitter taste. It is native to the Mediterranean area. It is a tall plant with scarce foliage. Sage is a dull green, almost grey color and the leaves are hairy. There are many different varieties of sage, but red sage and white or green sage with broad leaves have been found to hold the best medicinal qualities.

Sage is used most often in beverages. Tea is the most popular use for sage and it is also sometimes used in wine. Sage can increase the potency of alcohol. In France, the wine made with sage is also used for medicinal reasons. Sage has also been used in cheese to help improve the flavor.

Sage has many medicinal uses as well. Sage is thought to help keep a person healthy and in some countries elders eat sage everyday as a way to stay healthy. The leaves can be infused or dried and used for medicinal purposes. It has been used to help treat a range of mouth problems, form bleeding gums to slowing the production of saliva. Sage has also been used to help sooth a sore throat. It can be used to help calm the nerves and relieve pain. It is also thought to e able to reduce fever and purify the blood. It is largely credited with the ability to reduce pain of any kind and help the brain function normally.

Sage is a great herb, but it should be used with care. It has been shown that sage taken in too large of quantities can produce adverse health issues. An overdose of sage can produce excessive perspiration and fainting spells.

Sage is often part of an herb garden and can be grown year to year if cared for carefully. It is important to cultivate the leaves and allow the sage to rebuild its energy for the next growing season.

Sage (Salvia officinalis [Latin]), also known as garden meadow, has a long tradition of culinary and medicinal use. Sage was once used to help preserve meat and over the past 2,000 years or so has been recommended by herbalists to treat just about every known condition, from snakebite to mental illness. In fact, in medieval times the French called the herb toute bonne, which means, "all is well". Modern research has shown that sage, while not a panacea, can help reduce excessive perspiration, digestive problems, sore throats, premenstrual cramps, and high blood sugar.

Sage was once recommended by herbalists has to treat fever, a usage that probably arose from sage's ability to reduce perspiration. Modern research has demonstrated that sage reduces perspiration by as much as 50 percent, and Commission E, the group that evaluates the safety and efficacy of herbs for the German government, approves the use of sage infusions to treat excessive perspiration. Today, there are sage-based natural deodorants sold at most health food stores.

Sage is also an active ingredient in some natural mouthwashes because its tannins are thought to help kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis. Sage has traditionally been used to treat canker sores, bleeding gums, sore throat, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. Recent laboratory studies support the use of sage to guard against infection-it has demonstrated an ability to fight against several infection-causing bacteria. Some herbalists and, in Germany physicians, recommend gargling hot sage to soothe pain from sore throat and tonsillitis.

Like two other culinary herbs, rosemary and thyme, sage helps guard against depletion of the brain's concentration of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is crucial to proper brain function. A combination of ginkgo biloba, sage, and rosemary may help prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer's.

Sage has a long history of use as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders. It has been shown to help relax muscle spasms in the digestive tract, and is approved by Commission E for treatment of indigestion. One German study has found that drinking a sage infusion reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but only when they took the infusion on an empty stomach.

Sage is available commercially in liquid leaf extract form; the usual dose is 1 teaspoon three times per day. It's easy to grow and dry your own sage. Better yet, this herb is a perennial, and will come back year after year, although it should be replaced every three to four years or it becomes woody and unproductive. To harvest your own sage leaves, cut the plant down, leaving 4 inches above the ground, then strip and dry the leaves for future medicinal or culinary use.

For a homebrewed sage tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Use this infusion as a gargle for sore throat or as a mouthwash for gingivitis. You can also drink up to 3 cups a day to improve digestion and help regulate blood sugar. (Remember that people with diabetes must be under a doctor's care and should consult their doctor before taking medicinal amounts of any herb.) Drinking sage infusions could also help reduce wetness if you perspire a lot.

Very few side effects have been reported from the consumption of sage leaves; however, those using more concentrated forms of this herb, such as tea or extracts, may experience inflammation of the lips and lining of the mouth. This inflammatory response is probably due to a toxic chemical in sage called thujone. In very large amounts, thujone has been shown to cause convulsions. Concentrated sage oil is toxic and its use should be restricted to aromatherapy.

Sage has traditionally been used to promote menstruation, and there are some studies that indicate it may indeed help stimulate uterine contractions; pregnant women should not consume highly concentrated forms of sage, although using it as a culinary spice has not been shown to have this effect.

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Salvia officinalis L. (Dalmatian sage),S. lavandulaefolia Vahl. (Spanish sage). Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae

COMMON NAME(S): Garden sage, true sage, scarlet sage, meadow sage

Sage is a silvery-green shrub with very fragrant leaves. The most commonly cultivated species of sage originally came from the area around the Mediterranean but now also grows in North America. The leaves of this common kitchen herb are used in medicine as well as in cooking.

Dried sage leaf is used as a culinary spice and as a source of sage oil, which is obtained by steam distillation. Traditionally, sage and its oil have been used for the treatment of a wide range of illnesses; the name Salvia derives from the Latin word meaning "healthy" or "to heal" Extracts and teas have been used to treat digestive disorders, as a tonic, and as an antispasmodic. The plant has been used topically as an antiseptic and astringent and to manage excessive sweating.Sage has been used internally as a tea for the treatment of dysmenorrhea, diarrhea, gastritis, and sore throat. The dried leaves have been smoked to treat asthma. Despite these varied uses, there is little evidence that the plant exerts any significant pharmacologic activity. The plant's fragrance is said to suppress fish odor, Sage oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and perfumes. It is a widely used food flavoring, and sage oleoresin is also used in the culinary industry.

Botany :- Sage is a small, evergreen perennial plant with short woody stems that branch extensively and can attain heights of 0.6 to 0.9 m. Its violet-blue flowers bloom from June to September. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region and grows throughout much of the world. Do not confuse the plant with red sage or the brush sage of the desert.

Uses of Sage

An ancient herb, Sage is popular as a potent condiment for meat, fish, Mediterranean dishes, English Sage Derby Cheese, and as a basis for sage tea, taken to counteract sweating. Infusion of Sage can used to treat depression, nervous anxiety and liver disorders; homeopathic preparations can be given for circulation and menopausal problems. The leaves are also antiseptic, used in gargles for laryngitis and tonsillitis, and as a mouth freshener and tooth cleanser. It also provides an essential oil which can be used in perfumery.

Side Effects of Sage
The only side effects reported with the ingestion of sage include cheilitis, stomatitis, dry mouth, or local irritation.

For a variety of conditions including mouth inflammation, gingivitis and sore throats, add 3 grams of sage leaf to 150 ml of boiling water, strain after 10 minutes and then let cool. The resulting tea can then be used as a mouthwash or gargle a few times a day. As an internal supplement 5 ml of fluid extract can be diluted in a glass of water and taken three times a day.

Although sage oil contains thujone, the oil does not have a reputation for toxicity, The oil is non*irritating and non sensitizing when applied topically to human skin in diluted concentrations. Cheilitis and stomatitis have been reported in some cases following sage tea ingestion. Others have reported that ingestion of large amounts of the plant extract may cause dry mouth or local irritation. 


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