Sage: the medicinal properties and benefits of this miracle plant (+tea recipe)

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Sage

Sage is derived from the Latin word ‘salvere’, which means ‘to save’ or ‘to heal’. I would be happy to explain to you why. Is this herb already in your kitchen cupboard? Or maybe even in your garden or on your balcony? This Mediterranean miracle plant has many health benefits and has been used for centuries for all kinds of (women) ailments. In this article you can read more about the benefits of sage and how to make sage tea yourself.

Sage; more than a beautiful garden plant

The plant sage , also called salvia, mainly serves as an eye-catcher in the garden. In garden centers and even supermarkets, the plants are up for grabs in the spring. This plant flowers beautifully with long purple/pink flowers. But the most interesting, I think, are the small grey/green leaves in which many healthy substances are stored.

Go for ‘Salvia officinales’

Unfortunately, with a sage plant from the neighborhood supermarket on the corner you do not automatically get the best and tastiest for the kitchen. There are in fact 800 species. Go for the ‘Salvia officinalis’. This is also called the ‘real’ sage and is delicious as a kitchen herb.

Put it in the ground in a sheltered spot in the sun and you can enjoy fresh sage leaves all year round. The nice thing is that you can also continue to harvest in the winter, because the plant is hardy.

Not a garden owner? Sage also does well in a pot on the balcony! No green fingers? You can also buy sage as a herb in dried form. Both types are suitable in the kitchen. Some supermarkets sell fresh sage leaves in a small package.

Fresh sage has a stronger taste and aroma than dried sage

Sage

Sage for your health

Do you already have it at home? Check! There are many reasons to often use this herb in the kitchen. A few advantages for you at a glance:

Sage: A gift for your respiratory system

Sage is best known for its medicinal properties on the respiratory tract. The leaves have an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect on a dry, sore or inflamed throat. They are also beneficial for other respiratory diseases, such as asthma and cough symptoms. To relieve these kinds of complaints, you can make tea from sage leaves, fresh or dried. You can read how at the bottom of this article.

The leaves have an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect on a dry, sore or inflamed throat.

Strong antioxidant

In addition to some vitamins and minerals (including vitamins A, C, calcium and iron), sage contains rosmarinic acid. This is a polyphenol: a strong antioxidant. Other powerful antioxidants in sage include carnosol and carnosic acid.

Antioxidants are important supports for the liver and they help prevent cell and DNA damage in your body. They can thus slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of (wealth) diseases.

Damage to cells and DNA is caused by free radicals in, but also outside our body. Think of incorrectly prepared food, smoking, stress, air pollution, etc.

Good for the memory

Let’s talk about rosmarinic acid. This healthy substance also has a beneficial effect on the maintenance of a good memory, even in Alzheimer’s disease (1). This involves a reduced level of acetylcholine, a substance that transmits stimuli in the brain. Rosmarinic acid prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine.

Rosmarinic acid is not only found in sage, but also in oregano, rosemary, lemon balm and… the herb marjoram! So many of the Provencal herbs.

Soothing painful periods

Already in the time of the Greeks and Romans it was known as an effective remedy for painful menstruation and fertility problems. But sage can also be very effective for complaints around menopause and the transition (2).

This has to do with the essential oil in the leaf. It contains phytoestrogens. This substance has the same structure as the female hormone oestrogen. Phytoestrogens (not to be confused with xenoestrogens) adjust to your estrogen level with a regulating effect.

When there is an excess of estrogen (dominance), they cause a drop. But this also happens the other way around: a shortage of estrogen can be supplemented with natural phytoestrogens. These substances ensure a balance in your hormones.

The essential oils in sage are a very effective remedy for complaints around menopause and transition.

Effective in menopausal complaints

Another powerful effect of sage is that it regulates your internal thermostat. This will reduce any hot flashes and night sweats that can accompany the menopause. This is due to the flavonoids in sage, substances that also fall under the polyphenols. Many natural, homeopathic remedies for hot flashes therefore contain sage.

soothing

Do you find it difficult to wind down the day in the evening or do you find it difficult to fall asleep at night? Sage is soothing and calming (3). It used to be boiled in milk, traditionally after the potato harvest, and drunk before going to sleep. So a cup of sage tea before going to bed is not such a bad idea. Or how about heating creamy cashew milk with a few leaves of (dried) sage?

Sage

Sage is a proud ruler

But now, what else to do with sage? Traditionally, the herb is combined with meat, but it is also very tasty with vegetables or fish. The taste may take some getting used to when you taste the leaves for the first time. They have a powerful taste and cannot be compared with any other herb. So be sparing with it. A tablespoon of finely chopped sage in a dish is often sufficient.

It gives off a warm, spicy taste that combines well with sauces, stews and stews. Roasted sage is also very flavorful. For example in a vegetable dish. At the bottom of this article you will find a tasty, easy recipe as an example.

Leave out other herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and oregano, as much as possible: sage is a proud ruler and tastes dominant in combination with other herbs.

But even without extra seasonings, don’t use too much. Get the taste? Then finely chop some sage and put it in a fish package. Or warm up a few sage leaves in a butter sauce and pour it over steamed vegetables. Fun fact: when you combine sage with something oily, the aroma develops more strongly.

Use sage sparingly. It has a warm, spicy taste but also very powerful.

Sage: make beneficial tea with it

In addition to being used in dishes, sage is delicious and very healthy to drink as a tea . At Ekoplaza, or other organic stores, ready-to-use bags and loose dried sage are sold. This is the same kind you use in cooking.

Sage tea is very suitable for sore throats. Infuse a full teaspoon, or a tea bag, of sage in a cup of hot water and drink it in small sips. You can add lemon balm or mint for variation. Gargling with sage tea is also very effective. Use a full tablespoon of sage (fresh or dried) and let it steep for 15 minutes to form a strong tea. Let the drink cool, gargle three times a day for a few days in a row.

Sage tea is therefore healthy, but do not overdo it. Two to three cups a day is sufficient. In large quantities, sage can have an undesirable effect.

Sage recipe; roasted sweet potato with sage (side dish)

You will need this for 2 people:
2 sweet potatoes
10 leaves of fresh, or 1-2 tbsp dried sage
Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
Fresh pepper and (Celtic) sea salt

How to make it
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut the sweet potatoes into half moons or cubes. Finely chop the sage. Set aside 4 sage leaves for garnish. Toss the potato pieces in a bowl with a dash of oil, garlic, sage, sea salt and a twist of fresh black pepper. Spread on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve with the remaining sage and an extra splash of olive oil.

Delicious as a side dish with green vegetables, a salad, a fish package from the oven or a piece of meat.

Tip: make extra and let it cool. Spoon this into a green salad the next day or eat as a snack. Cooled sweet potato is a source of resistant starch and very healthy food for your gut.

Sources:

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2710.2003.00463.x
  2. Forouhari S et al.: The effect of salvia officinalis tablet on hot flashes, night sweating, and estradiol hormone in postmenopausal women; International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences 5(8):257-263, 2016.
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15639154

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