24 Healing Options for any Illness
24 Healing Options for any Illness

Sage

A common culinary herb, sage has also been used in herbal medicine for centuries. Its Latin name, Salvia, is even derived from the word for "to heal". It is particularly renowned for its memory-boosting abilities. As early as 1597, John Gerard wrote that sage was "singularly good for the head and brain and quickeneth the nerves and memory". Modern studies have backed up this centuries-old belief by showing that taking sage oil can improve performance on memory-based tests.

While it can improve learning and memory even in those without Alzheimer's, sage is of particular interest to Alzheimer's patients. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help relieve oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the disease. Additionally, essential oil taken from Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) and individual components thereof have been shown to be acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, much like the more conventional Alzheimer's drugs available today. It has also been shown to modulate mood, which could be useful for Alzheimer's patients who are experiencing the behavioral effects of the disease.

Sage is not associated with any side-effects in small quantities, but it is important to take it in moderation, as excessive amounts can be toxic.

Scientific Studies:

A 2003 study evaluated the safety and efficacy of using extract from culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) to treat patients with mild-moderate Alzheimer's. Patients were given either 60 drops/day of sage extract or a placebo for a period of 4 months. At the conclusion of the trial, the extract produced significant cognitive improvements compared to the placebo. Those taking the extract also showed less agitation than those on the placebo. No significant side-effects were noted.

Another trial using the same variety of sage was conducted in 2006. This time, researchers looked at using sage extract and one of its components, rosmarinic acid, to treat Alzheimer's in rats. Both sage extract and rosmarinic acid were found to reduce Alzheimer's-related cell death. The acid was also found to reduce the production of reactive oxygen species, the formation of harmful tau protein tangles, and damage to DNA. While this makes a case for rosmarinic acid being an important part of sage's ability to fight Alzheimer's, the authors note that there are likely other compounds in sage that also contribute to its effects.

Clinical trials using sage to treat Alzheimer's are ongoing.

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