LABIATEAE = LAMIACEAE
There are several hundred species of sage throughout the world; in Europe it is the common sage which is the most used as a medicinal plant.
Its name is already quite a program: "salvia" comes from salvare, to save in Latin.
It is a typical plant of the Mediterranean countries (but now widespread throughout the world), a bushy shrub, perennial in general, and with fairly characteristic semi-evergreen foliage: greenish gray leaves, sometimes a little bluish, oblong, whose surface is grieved; the purplish flowers grouped in threes at the end of the branches are clearly bilabiate.
There are crop varieties with purple (var. Purpurescens) or white, green and pink (var. Tricolor) foliage.
It is a very hardy plant that goes with all types of soil.
The leaves and essential oil are used in herbal medicine.
Other species of sage have interesting pharmacological potential, for example: Salvia sclarea and Salvia lavandulifolia in Europe, Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen) in Asia, Salvia divinorum (diviners sage) in Central America and Mexico.
CHEMICHAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
LEAVES AND FLOWERING TWIGS OF OFFICINAL SAGE
The main substances of interest from a pharmacological point of view and therefore for treatment are:
- tannins and phenolic acids or with a steroid structure well represented in Labiateae species : rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid (and carnosol), oleanic and ursolic acid
- essential oil.
COMMON SAGE ESSENTIAL OIL
The essential oil, whose percentage is variable according to the conditions of culture and the seasons (1 to 3%) is characterized by the presence of "oxygenated" monoterpenes (ketone): alpha and beta THUYONE and CAMPHOR which are irritating substances for the nervous system.
As often in aromatic plants, the composition of the oil varies depending on:
- the part of the plant: (example) 55% thujone in the stem, 30% in the leaves, 18% in the flowers,
- the season: in winter the average percentage of oxygenated monoterpenes goes from 70% (December) to 40% (April), so there is more thujone in sage in winter than in spring.
In addition to the aforementioned thujones and camphor, the essential oil of common sage contains several dozen terpene compounds.
An average composition:
- thujones: 60 to 70%
- camphor: 4 to 20%
- cineole = eucalyptol: 5 to 10%
and many other terpenes in small quantities among which: humulene, pinene, limonene, camphene, linalool, caryophyllene ...
The essential oil of officinal sage is NEUROTOXIC, can cause nervous attacks reminiscent of epilepsy, as well as vomiting. Thujone and camphor are responsible for it.
Not all sage contains these toxic compounds in such high amounts:
For example, the essential oils of Spanish sage (S. lavandulifolia) and clary sage (S. sclarea) are not as neurotoxic.
The essential oil of common sage is also bactericidal and slightly antispasmodic (especially of the digestive sphere), antiperspirant and stimulating (low dose).
OFFICINAL SAGE is a plant that has been used for a very long time in Europe and the Middle East, but it is also a modern plant that has been studied in many countries.
COMMON SAGE the hydroalcoholic extract of leaves and flowers (alcoholic TINCTURE) is:
- slightly estrogenic (increased activity of the ovaries)
- antiperspirant: this anti-sweat power (decreases perspiration) is quite rare in plants.
The chloroform extract is anti-inflammatory in vivo (probably active molecule: ursolic acid)
COMMON SAGE, aqueous extract (infusion):
The aqueous extract (infusion) rich in flavonoids (derivatives of luteolol, apigenol) and phenol-acids (especially rosmarinic acid) is:
- antioxidant scavenger of free radicals,
- anti-infectious and healing,
- anti-dyspeptic (mild effect),
- and also decreases sweating (anti-perspiration),
ROSMARINIC ACID (also present in other plants: BORAGINACEAE, NEPETOIDEAE and LABIATEAE, and of course in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)) is well known for its power:
- antiviral and antibacterial
- and especially antioxidant, scavenger of radicals free and therefore anti-inflammatory.
COMMON SAGE ESSENTIAL OIL
Careful use because of its neurotoxicity (I personally do not recommend it) :
in case of slow digestion, excessive sweating (eg night sweats, menopause sweats):
2 drops 2 to 3 times a day.
Mixed with other essential oils as a skin disinfectant (diluted in alcohol at 60 °)
COMMONL SAGE EXTRACTS AND COMMON SAGE INFUSION
Disinfection of the mouth and throat, tonsillitis, canker sores:
- Alcoholic tincture of sage :
as a gargle or mouthwash diluted 1/10 in lukewarm water twice a day.
- Sage infusion : 2 to 3 g of dry sage or a small handful of fresh sage in a bowl of boiling water, let infuse 10 minutes, as a gargle or lukewarm mouthwash twice a day.
In case of moderate OVARIAN HYPOSECRETION, to STIMULATE OVULATION, in case of amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea :Alcoholic tincture of common sage : 50 drops 1 to 3 times a day orally
ACNE of puberty:Alcoholic tincture of sage pure or diluted to 1/10 in an alcoholate or cologne in daily applications in combination with other anti-acne treatments if necessary.
HYPERSUDATION, EXCESSIVE SWEATING, HOT FLASHES- Infusion of common sage leaves :
Slow and difficult digestion, dyspeptia:
Digestive herbal tea : infusion of fresh or dry sage 1 to 3 g of powder or dry leaves (also in teabags) after meals except the evening meal if it is late because sage is slightly tonic and anti-asthnenic (anti-fatigue )
CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD LIPID DISORDERS, DIABETES
Sage tea and sage hydroalcoholic extracts improve the situation of patients with blood lipid disorders (cholesterol) with atherosclerosis or type 2 diabetes.
The treatment must be prolonged in a two or three month cure followed by a one month break, in association with an adapted diet (hypocaloric diet, cholesterol-lowering drugs or plants)
SAGE IS THE SUBJECT OF RESEARCH IN PHARMACOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS
Let us cite a few examples:
- Iranian researchers have successfully used sage extracts in patients with Alzheimer's disease (at a medium stage): 4 months of treatment, slight improvement in cognitive functions and attenuation of agitation, no action on the evolution of the disease.
Recent studies are trying to discover how extracts of various sage species act on brain function: effect on Beta amyloid plaques (memory, agitation in Alzheimer's disease), influence on neurotransmitters (cholinergic in particular), influence on behaviour (anxiolytic, antidepressant), secondary effect to antioxidant activity (reduction of the effects of stress).
Studies on volunteers of various ages show that ethanolic or aqueous extracts as well as plant powder
improve intellectual concentration and memory.
- Study of a cream to treat cold sores : mixture of hydroalcoholic extract of rhubarb (23 mg / g of cream) and aqueous extract of sage (23 mg / g of cream) compared to a classic antiviral ( aciclovir = "zovirax") in lip cream (50 mg / g of cream).
Average healing time: 7.6 days for sage alone, 6.7 days for sage-rhubarb mixture and 6.5 days for zovirax.
- Sage extracts are tested to alleviate atopic dermatitis .
- Production of rosmarinic acid (antioxidant used in the food industry) : cell cultures of S. officinalis in vitro accumulate a lot of rosmarinic acid, up to 36% of the dry weight. Rosmarinic acid may be a plant defense molecule.
PRECAUTIONS FOR THE USE OF COMMON SAGE
- Reminder: the essential oil of salvia officinalis common sage can cause epileptic seizures or convulsions, I do not recommend it .
- Sage extracts or the whole plant have a weak estrogenic action, they are contraindicated in cases of hormone-dependent cancer (breast cancer for example) and pregnancy .
- It rarely happens that sage instead of limiting sweating causes hot flashes, it is obviously interrupted in this case.
- We also limit the amount of infusion: no more than one liter of infusion per day because it contains a little thujone and we avoid the consumption of sage herbal tea after dinner because it delays the onset of sleep.
OFFICINAL SAGE: CULTIVATION and use in food
Cultivation of officinal sage
It is an easy to grow full sun perennial plant that is decorative and retains foliage all year round.
It is propagated by seed or cuttings.
They can be satisfied with a poor and dry soil as in the Mediterranean region, it is then very aromatic.
Sage bushes are repellents of many insects and can therefore be used to repel mosquitoes a bit.
Sage, condiment and aromatics
Finally, remember that sage is an aromatics widely used in particular to help digest.
SAGE AN ANCIENT MEDIEVAL PANACEA HERB
Sage, widely used by the Romans and in the Middle Ages, is now mainly considered as an aromatic herb and an aromatic digestive herbal tea. The officinal sage or common sage provides interesting substances with antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant proerties.
It is one of the rare natural remedies which decreases excessive sweating and alleviates the consequences of hot flashes.
Warning: Its essential oil is NEUROTOXIC
Copyright 2022 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel