Sage has been used by people around the world for thousands of years, with the Romans, Greeks and Romans placing their faith in the hidden powers of this wonderful herb.
Given that the word ‘sage’ is derived from the Latin word ‘salvere’ which means ‘to save’, this makes complete sense, with many even believing it was even able to lengthen life.
Sage oil benefits are enjoyed by people of all age groups, offering relief for a variety of common ailments and conditions that trouble the body and mind.
We put some of those under the microscope to learn more about the various ways sage essential oil could be used as a natural remedy.
What is sage oil?
Sage essential oil is a natural remedy that is extracted from the sage plant via steam distillation.
The sage plant, also referred to by its botanical name Salvia officinalis, is a member of the mint family and native to the Mediterranean.
Common sage is the most widely used type of sage, and although there are more than 900 species of sage grown across the world, only a small number can be used for aromatherapy and herbal medicine.
Once extracted, common sage is pale yellow in colour with a herbaceous scent.
It is widely used in a variety of culinary items, including sauces, and liqueurs and is one of the most popular in southern Europe.
How does sage oil work?
Sage oil works in many different ways, which is mostly dependent on its application.
For example, applying sage essential oil to your skin allows its anti-inflammatory properties to cleanse and remove unwanted microorganisms, whilst its antifungal properties can help to ward off fungal infections.
In aromatherapy, sage essential oil is added to a diffuser, with the scent relaxing and calming people who need to manage moments of stress and anxiety.
And thanks to its rosmarinic and carnosic acid components, sage essential oil also contains antioxidant properties that can offer some protection against free radicals.
Benefits of sage oil
The many benefits of sage essential oil means it could:
1. Provide strong antioxidant properties
If the body is given no protection against free radicals, it can lead to the creation of debilitating illnesses.
Antioxidants play a vital role in combating free radicals and the cell damage they cause, and it is speculated that the rosmarinic and carnosic acid components of sage could provide this protection.
According to a study published in 2014, sage oils antioxidant properties can offer protection for the body against oxidative stress.
Researchers also believe sage may play a role in the prevention of some serious diseases.
2. Improve skin condition
Sage oil is widely used by some people as a complementary anti-inflammatory treatment for various skin conditions such as eczema and acne, in the belief it helps to heal and soothe the skin.
The oil’s antibacterial properties can help to cleanse the surface of the skin and also remove unwanted, harmful microorganisms.
Sage also contains antifungal properties that can be used to treat certain fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot.
3. Aid digestive health
Ongoing research into the benefits of sage oil enables us to understand more about the health properties it can provide to our bodies.
This includes the potential to aid digestive health. For example, a 2011 study found that sage can support the discharge of bile in the digestive system. This helps to prevent the development of excess acid that can harm the stomach and digestive tract, which improves the functionality of the digestive system.
An earlier study, published in 2011, found that sage essential oil was able to ease inflammation in the stomach and digestive tract, relieving gastric distress and raising comfort levels.
4. Work as a cleaning agent
The antibacterial and antifungal properties found in sage essential oil also mean it can be used as an effective house cleaner.
Researchers have also investigated this claim and found that sage oil benefits were able to offer protection from candida fungus and staph infections. This demonstrated the oil’s ability to tackle stubborn forms of fungi, whilst also helping to prevent certain types of bacterial infections.
It is believed that the camphene and camphor components contained in the oil are responsible for delivering these microbe-busting abilities, as they work as a strong natural disinfectant.
5. Darken grey hair
Although the claim is anecdotal to date, many people believe that sage oil possesses the ability to prevent premature discoloration and reduce the appearance of grey hairs.
This could be due to the oil’s astringent qualities, which may be able to produce melatonin in the scalp, darkening the roots.
If sage essential oil is mixed with rosemary hair oil and applied to the hair, it is also believed that this darkening effect could be intensified to cover up the presence of grey hairs on the scalp.
6. Support oral health
The microbes that promote dental plaque can be tackled thanks to the antibacterial properties contained in sage oil.
A study published in 2015 found that a sage-based mouthwash was able to kill a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which is known to cause dental cavities.
Another study, this time conducted using test tubes, found that a sage-based essential oil was able to effectively kill and stop the spread of the candida fungus.
Although more research is needed to establish a stronger connection, one review noted that infected gums, throat infections, mouth ulcers and dental abscesses could be treated by sage.
7. Ease menopause symptoms
People going through the menopause can experience a range of symptoms, including irritability, excessive sweating and hot flashes.
These are caused by a natural decline in oestrogen levels and sage has long been used in traditional medicines to offer some relief.
Research has been carried out to verify these claims, with scientists believing that sage may contain oestrogen-like properties. This could enable these properties to bind to certain brain receptors, which may improve memory, whilst also easing hot flashes and excessive sweating.
One study put this to the test and found that over a period of 8 weeks, the number and intensity of hot flushes was significantly reduced when participants took a daily dose of a sage supplement.
8. Reduce sugar levels
Both human and animal studies have been conducted to learn more about sage’s ability to reduce sugar levels.
For example, one study involving rats with type 1 diabetes, used a sage extract to reduce blood glucose levels by activating a specific receptor. Excess fatty acids in the blood were removed, which helped to improve insulin sensitivity.
Elsewhere, a human study used a sage leaf extract to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.
Whilst the results were comparable to a common anti-diabetes drug, rosiglitazone, not enough human research has been conducted to recommend sage as a diabetes treatment.
9. Lower bad cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
It is believed that sage may be able to lower LDL levels, which if left to build up in the arteries, could lead to a serious heart condition.
One study involved participants drinking sage tea twice a day for 2 weeks, which saw LDL and total cholesterol levels lowered. At the same time, HDL (which is considered to be ‘good’ cholesterol) levels were raised.
Quite a few human studies have also been published, which also demonstrate sage’s ability to lower cholesterol levels.
10. Ease diarrhoea activity
According to a study conducted in India, sage could prove to be a useful natural remedy for easing diarrhoea.
Researchers carried out both in vivo and in vitro studies, with the results suggesting that sage extract not only helped to curb spasmodic activity of the gut, but it was also able to inhibit gut mobility.
Uses of sage oil have traditionally included treatment of diarrhoea, and additional research in this area could eventually lead to the development of medicinal treatment to support this condition and similar ailments.
How to use sage oil
Sage oil uses encompass everything from skincare to household cleaning. Depending on how you want to use the oil, you could try it:
As an aromatherapy remedy
The herbaceous scent of sage is ideal for diffusing at home, creating a sense of warmth and calm that can be great for the mind.
You can enjoy these types of sage oil benefits by adding a few drops of sage oil to your diffuser or oil burner, letting the aroma slowly drift through the space to work its magic.
As a hair care solution
Everyone experiences grey hairs at some point in their life, and the application of sage essential oil may be able to improve their appearance.
Alternatively, you could apply sage essential oil directly to your shampoo and wash as usual.
History of sage oil
During the Middle Ages, sage was referred to as “the saviour” as it was viewed by many as one of the most powerful herbs of the time.
But respect for the plant didn’t start there. The Romans and Greeks valued it just as highly, believing it possessed the power to cure a variety of common conditions and ailments.
Ancient Chinese medicine practitioners also used sage as a remedy against infertility and the symptoms of menopause.
The steam distillation of sage into an essential oil ensures those beliefs continue in the modern age, with many people benefiting from the physical and mental support it can provide.
Sage Oil FAQs
Is sage the same as clary sage?
Although sage and clary sage share similar names, there are some distinct and important differences to be aware of.
The scent, characteristics and chemical properties of sage and clary sage are different and do not bear any resemblance, although they do contain health benefits that could be used to treat various ailments and conditions.
Can you put sage essential oil directly on skin?
This is because, like all essential oils, it is highly concentrated, and it could cause issues in people with sensitive skin, or in some cases an allergic reaction.
Can I use sage essential oil in soap and candle recipes?
Sage essential oil is a popular ingredient in a host of soap and candle recipes.
The herbaceous scent makes it ideal for homemade, natural soaps and candles, complementing a wide range of other essential oils.
People can enjoy the benefits of sage oil by burning a candle in the comfort of their own home or by using it as a calming and relaxing soap cleanser.