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Sage is a popular culinary herb, as well as a medicinal herb. Sage has strong antioxidant properties, which explains its use in preserving meats. Sage acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent, helping to fight infection and inflammation of all kinds, including the common cold, gingivitis, influenza, sore throat, stomatitis, and tonsillitis. Sage is often used in gargles and mouthwashes, especially for canker sores and sore gums.

Sage has been found to stimulate circulation and help relieve vascular headaches, as well as multiply the production of digestive fluids, improve liver function, and relax smooth muscle spasms. These actions make sage quite useful for alleviating gas and stomach pain, and for treating digestive problems like dyspepsia and stomach weakness.

Additionally, sage elicits a calming effect on the nerves, helps relieve anxiety and nervous headaches, and acts as a mild antidepressant. Sage also provides estrogenic properties, promoting blood flow for irregular and light menstruation, suppressing lactation, and reducing perspiration, making it a valuable remedy for night sweats. These hormonal actions, though not completely understood by researchers, make sage an excellent natural treatment for menopausal hot flashes and hormonal changes.

Scientists have identified a volatile oil in sage, 50% of which is made up of thujone, a strongly antiseptic substance which helps calm muscle spasms, enabling sage to relieve gas and indigestion. Thujone also demonstrates estrogenic activity which is partially responsible for sage’s hormonal properties, especially its ability to suppress lactation. Sage oil has been shown to exhibit antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral activity against various pathogens, including Candida albicans, herpes simplex virus II (genital herpes), influenza virus A2, polio virus II, and vaccinia virus (cowpox).

Doctors in Northern England have found sage oil also suppresses the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme which is believed to contribute to memory loss. The increasing loss of memory associated with Alzheimer’s is noted by a reduction in acetylcholine, a “chemical messenger” which is deteriorated by AChE.

Sage contains rosmarinic acid, the constituent responsible for reducing perspiration. Sage’s actions are typically realized within approximately 2 hours after being taken. This acid, also known as a phenol, is also a strongly anti-inflammatory substance.

Sage is rich in vitamins A and B1, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Sage is not recommended for epileptics due to its thujone content, which can trigger seizures. Avoid therapeutic doses in pregnancy; however, small amounts of sage used in cooking are considered safe.

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