Ever heard of Salvia? It’s not just a common sage you might use for dinner flavouring. This mint family member with hundreds of different species has some health benefits, too. It’s not as potent as turmeric perhaps, but it’s definitely not a bad addition to your daily menu, as you’ll soon find out. Today’s article looks at how Salvia, aka, Sage, may enhance your brain fitness.
TL;DR Article Summary
Sage doesn’t seem to be highly effective at improving memory, but it does have some other mental benefits—the main one being anti-depressant. There’s not a lot of human research on sage’s effects on the brain but what little we do have shows it enhances mood and may help alleviate stress symptoms in females.
Salvia – A Natural Brain Booster?
There have been suggestions that Sage could be a natural nootropic, a substance that enhances our cognitive abilities. Specifically, essential oil of Salvia species like S. lavandulaefolia, often known as Spanish sage, or extracts of S. officinalis, the common garden sage, works to support different functions of the brain which are tied into memory function, attention, and most notably, mood. 
Hold on, though – before you start adding a dash of sage to everything, most of the findings we have on sage comes from rodent studies. There’s a lot more human research needed to say how good for our brain it really is.
Is Sage Healthy and Safe?
You’ve heard already that too much of a good thing can be bad. While sage is well-tolerated even as a supplement in higher doses, it’s always smart to play it safe and stick to the dosage recommendations on your label. If you’re just consuming a reasonable amount of sage through your diet, it’s unlikely you will experience noticeable side effects.
Sage has a compound in it called thujone, which, in high quantities, can be damaging to your health. This is why it’s important to not overdo sage if you’re getting it from supplements.
While the humble sage might look like a simple kitchen herb, it does seem to have some potential in supporting our cognitive wellness. That said, sage isn’t one of the most studied herbs for memory out there. For that goal, you will want to look into other herbs such as Bacopa Monnieri. What sage is more likely to help you with is mood, as shown in female studies in particular, but it can be beneficial for men’s health and as an anti-inflammatory too.
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- Lopresti AL. Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects. Drugs R D. 2017 Mar;17(1):53-64. doi: 10.1007/s40268-016-0157-5. PMID: 27888449; PMCID: PMC5318325.