As we look to natural solutions to support brain health, sage easily comes to mind.
Historically, ancient Greeks used this sacred herb to reduce inflammation, ward off ailments, and improve women’s health. It’s an herb with a strong scent and flavor that Greeks added to foods and consumed as an herbal tea.
Today, studies show that sage plants can support our cognitive skills and reduce our risk for neurodegenerative diseases including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Read on to learn more about this brain-boosting tonic that’s loved by herbalists across the globe.
Reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is typically characterized by a build-up of a substance called an amyloid-β peptide, which impairs memory and learning.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but we can all do our part to try to reduce our risk and alleviate the symptoms.
Studies show that sage extracts can help prevent amyloid-β-related impairment, memory deficits, and toxicity through various helpful mechanisms. 
Natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety medicine
The sage plant contains phytochemical nutrients in its tissue that boost your mental health.
In animal studies, several sage extracts helped improve signs of depression and anxiety. We see similar effects of essential oils from different sage extracts as well. 
Similarly, in human studies, healthy adults showed improvements in mood after administration of sage essential oil.  Most of these studies included smaller sample sizes.
Next time you feel a little under the weather, try adding some sage to your meals or drink as a tea!
Fight off oxidative stress
Over time, our bodies experience damage from excess free radicals. This results in oxidative stress, which contributes to many neurological diseases.
Sage plants contain a plethora of antioxidants, especially phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid, salvianolic acid, sagecouramin, sagerinic acid. In a lab study, these compounds scavenged 90% of free radicals. 
By fighting off free radicals, sage can help you reduce the risk for various diseases!
Support brain development, memory and learning
Brain cells, like other cells in your body, require regular maintenance and support. Fortunately, several different compounds in sage support your brain health!
How to incorporate sage into your diet
Sage has a strong earthy, somewhat peppery flavor. Try adding sage leaves or herbs to chicken, turkey, pork, soups, and sauces to balance out the flavor!
Or, you can add this herb into hot water to drink as an herbal tea anytime throughout the day. Flavor with lemon or honey as desired, as folklore herbal medicine suggests.
Whenever possible, choose Greek herbs (Salvia Fruticosa) over common sage, as it has a stronger taste. Local Cretans swear by this herb for their longevity!
The bottom line
Sage herbs show medicinal benefits, particularly in brain health. Further research is needed to understand the longer-term effects of this sacred plant on cognitive skills, memory, and neurodegenerative disease treatment.
However, initial studies on sage show a promising future for this Greek medicinal plant on our health. Try incorporating it into your diet today for natural brain support!
Featured image credit: Getty Images / Flavia Morlachetti
- Lopresti AL. Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects. Drugs R D. 2017;17(1):53-64. doi:10.1007/s40268-016-0157-5
- Tildesley NT, Kennedy DO, Perry EK, Ballard CG, Savelev S, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) enhances memory in healthy young volunteers. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):669-74. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00122-9. PMID: 12895685.
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About the author
Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed dietitian based in Indianapolis. She obtained her bachelor of science in nutritional science at Cornell University and her MBA at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She is the founder and CEO of a nutrition communications firm called Pink Pamplemousse LLC, where she creates engaging nutrition and wellness content for clients. She has also coached clients on various health conditions including heart disease, obesity, digestive issues and diabetes over the last seven years. Visit Chrissy’s website.
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