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By Kim Anderberg

Medicinal Properties of Common Sage

For thousands of years, common sage (Salvia officinalis) has been widely used in culinary dishes for its potent flavor and medicinal properties. Belonging to the mint family, sage originates from the Mediterranean and has naturalized prolifically around the globe. Also known as common sage or garden sage, it is a woody shrub with grayish green leaves. Sage has many health benefits, is easy to use and has no side effects.

For digestion

Sage is great for digestive health and is therefore used in teas and dishes as a diuretic, to aid in digestion and prevent bloating and flatulence. Sage helps with inflammatory issues of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Sage can help stimulate the appetite, and helps with inflammatory issues such as arthritis and gout. Chewing on a sage leaf or making an infusion with sage can help those suffering from these types of issues. Consuming sage has no known side effects. Fresh or dried sage can be added to many savory dishes and goes well with poultry and pork.

To make a tea

Use fresh sage and other garden herbs for added flavor, such as other mint, lemon balm, rosemary or rose petals. You can add a bit of lemon or orange peel. Simply take a few sage leaves and place in a quart jar with your other herbs or tea leaves and pour boiling water over the jar. Cover. Let steep for ten minutes or longer, then sip throughout the day.

For the bones

A single serving of sage carries 27 percent of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K, an essential vitamin that is not found in most foods. Vitamin K helps with bone development and the treatment of osteoporosis. Vitamin K is essential for those suffering from Crohn's disease, malnourishment and alcoholism.

For the brain

Studies have shown that a small amount of sage boosts memory retention and recall. Helping with both concentration and focus, sage effectively stimulates the brain. Some researchers have determined that sage can stimulate memory functions in healthy young adults. Although more studies are needed, tests using common sage and placebos are showing that it may be beneficial in the treatment of cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

For the blood

Sage lowers blood glucose and cholesterol. A study published by Complementary Therapies in Medicine provides research on 40 patients with diabetes and high cholesterol. The conclusions state that sage leaves have anti-hyperglycemic and lipid-improving effects.

For the skin

Due to its antioxidant levels, sage is beneficial for the skin as a toner and to protect the skin from cell-damaging free radicals. Containing high levels of vitamin A and calcium, sage helps to reduce wrinkles and scars and improve the look and appearance of the skin.

For the hair

Sage stimulates hair growth! Sage and rosemary combined make an excellent tonic for hair growth and stimulation especially in male and female pattern baldness. It encourages new hair growth by stimulating circulation and cellular development, and provides nutrients to hair follicles.

Due to the powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds it contains, studies on the health benefits of sage have increased greatly over the years. These antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from creating stress to the heart, organs, skin, muscles, joints and the brain.

With so many wonderful benefits, every kitchen should have dried sage, every garden a sage plant, and every medicine cabinet a bottle of sage essential oil.

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