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17 Health Benefits of Sage Tea & 5 Tips

Sage tea has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments in traditional medicine. But did you know this underrated herb can also be a delightful and soothing beverage when prepared right? Read on to find all of the health benefits of sage tea.

In today’s article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about sage tea, including its origin, taste profile, huge variety of potential health benefits, and potential risks.

Additionally, you’ll find a variety of tips on brewing the perfect cup to make the most of its health benefits while enjoying its taste.

What Sage Tea Is: Interesting Facts

What Sage Tea Is: Interesting Facts

Sage is a widely popular plant, and it’s particularly known for its beautiful purple flowers that are typically grown in gardens for their aesthetics. But did you ever wonder where sage tea comes from, or what it tastes like exactly?

The following section will introduce you to everything you need to know about sage tea before we dive into the benefits of this heavily underrated brew.

This doesn’t only include its historical origins and how it’s distributed all over the world, but helps you experience its flavor profile and notes if you’ve never tasted it before.

Origin and Where Sage Tea Comes From

Origin and Where Sage Tea Comes From

Sage is a wild plant known for its iconic purple flowers that grow in the form of clusters in addition to its grayish-green leaves.

One thing to know here is that sage typically describes an entire genus rather than a specific sage species.

In fact, there are over 900 recorded types of sage out there, although the most popular variety used in tea is known scientifically as “Salvia officinalis”, which is simply known as “common sage”.

Other sage species are also often used, including Spanish sage.

Sage tea boasts a rich history that stretches back to Ancient Egypt, as it’s originally native to the Mediterranean region and belongs to the Labiatae (Mints) family. The sage leaves were even mentioned in an Ebers Papyrus that dates back to 1500 B.C. as a remedy for itching.

Although some commercially produced sage tea utilizes officinalis extracts, the classic method to make a cup of sage tea involves steeping the actual leaves in hot water.

Ideally, the leaves are sourced either from fresh sage snipped straight from your garden or dried leaves that you may find in most grocery stores.

What Sage Tea Is Made of

What Sage Tea Is Made of

As previously established, sage tea is an infusion typically made from steeping the fuzzy grayish-green leaves of common sage in hot water.

However, some people also like to add flowers to the sage extract to enhance its flavor, as it’s completely safe to consume.

The key active ingredient in sage tea is known as “sage oil”, which is concentrated the most within the leaves.

This oil is actually a mixture of a wide range of chemical compounds (around 28), but the most prominent ones are cineole, thujones, rosmarinic acid, borneol, ursolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and camphene.

Besides its sage oil, the plant also contains several flavonoids, tannins, and other ingredients. These compounds are responsible for the plant’s various health benefits in addition to its distinctive flavor and aroma.

What Sage Tea Tastes Like

What Sage Tea Tastes Like

Sage tea has a fairly familiar taste, as it’s typically described as slightly minty or peppery while also maintaining some earthy notes.

The combination of minty and earthy flavors results in a general “herbal” character but with a very slight hint of sweetness and lavender notes.

The tea also has a characteristic natural bitterness due to its high tannin content, which some find pleasant and others don’t.

Because of this bitterness, some people enjoy blending sage tea with other herbs like mint, lavender, or chamomile for a more complex flavor. Others also use flavorings and sweeteners like honey or lemon to mask the bitterness.

Nutritional Facts and Calories of Sage Tea

Nutritional Facts and Calories of Sage Tea

Sage tea is a surprisingly nutritious beverage, and it’s also very low in calories, so it won’t negatively impact your daily calorie intake if you count calories. In fact, a single cup typically contains around 1 to 2 calories.

The herbal infusion comes with an almost negligible amount of macronutrients, as it contains around 0.4 grams of carbohydrates and as little as 0.1 grams of protein.

However, the magic of sage tea lies in its micronutrient content, including its minerals and vitamins.

Sage is particularly rich in vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone health. Just one cup can provide up to 10% of your daily recommended intake of the vitamin.

Additionally, it contains decent amounts of vitamins A and C, which are essential for various physiological functions and processes in the body.

The plant also has trace amounts of several minerals, including calcium, zinc, iron, and manganese, which are responsible for many of the beneficial effects that will be discussed shortly.

Health Benefits of Sage Tea

Health Benefits of Sage Tea

Although sage tea doesn’t possess a particularly flavorful taste or aroma, it’s still commonly consumed in different parts of the world specifically for its health-boosting and protective effects.

In this section, we’ll walk you through a brief overview of the most prominent ones.

Boosts Memory and Cognitive Functions

Boosts Memory and Cognitive Functions

Sage contains several ingredients that are linked with positive effects on brain health when taken in moderation, such as terpenes and flavonoids.

Studies also show that sage tea contains antioxidants, which protect brain cells from damage and enhance communication between them.

The effects of sage on the brain aren’t only limited to improved memory, but it’s also associated with improved ability to focus in addition to enhanced mood and brain functions

Fights Inflammation and Reduces Fevers

Fights Inflammation and Reduces Fevers

Sage possesses special anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce fever and discomfort associated with many diseases, such as coughs and common cold.

The good thing about using sage tea is that it doesn’t result in excessive sweating while relieving fever, as it contains some magnesium that reduces sweat gland activity.

Eases Menopausal Symptoms

Eases Menopausal Symptoms

Sage tea is commonly used to alleviate symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes (also known as hot flashes), mood swings, and night sweats.

Surprisingly enough, there aren’t enough studies to explain why sage works perfectly for this role, especially since it doesn’t resemble estrogen in its structure.

That being said, a lot of women swear by its effectiveness against other remedies and treatments, claiming that it massively improved their comfort and quality of sleep.

Improves Blood Sugar Control

Improves Blood Sugar Control

Research suggests sage may offer benefits for type 2 diabetes patients, as it contains hypoglycemic compounds like rosmarinic acid that might improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels.

But despite its promise, you should still consult your doctor before using sage tea to control diabetes.

Good for Heart Health

Good for Heart Health

Early studies suggest sage tea may promote heart health by improving your blood triglycerides and lipid profiles.

The herb may help lower cholesterol levels, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad cholesterol”.

Other studies show that, like other mints, sage improves blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of various heart diseases by reducing build-up in arteries

Supports Oral Health

Supports Oral Health

The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent qualities found in sage extract could provide quick and efficient relief from minor toothaches and even soothe sore or swollen gums.

Additionally, sage tea may help freshen breath by reducing the growth of bacteria that contribute to bad breath.

Soothes Sore Throat

Sage tea contains various natural chemical compounds that have been traditionally used as a remedy for soothing sore throats and infections.

These uses are now confirmed through scientific research, as sage is rich in antibacterials, anti-inflammatory, and flavonoids that can help with the symptoms of strep throat.

Helps Manage Diarrhea

Helps Manage Diarrhea

Sage tea contains natural tannins, which are chemicals that have astringent and antidiarrheal properties. These tannins help regulate bowel movements and ease discomfort.

Additionally, sage’s potential antibacterial effects may contribute to a healthy gut environment by eliminating the bacteria responsible for some forms of diarrhea.

Promotes Relaxation

Promotes Relaxation

Inhaling sage oil and sage tea steam is a common practice in aromatherapy, which is an alternative medicine technique used to treat various conditions through essential oils.

As previously mentioned, the oil contains a variety of ingredients that have calming properties and can promote a feeling of tranquility and improved well-being.

Boosts Immune System

Boosts Immune System

Sage contains various phenolic compounds with special antimicrobial properties capable of warding off a wide range of infections, including bacterial, fungal, and even some viral ones.

Some studies also mention that thujone found in sage can stimulate the immune system when taken in small doses.

Aids in Weight Management

Sage tea can also be a great choice for weight watchers because it’s a low-calorie beverage that has slight appetite-suppressing properties associated with its tannin content.

This makes it a perfect drink after meals to maintain a caloric deficit, especially when the drink only has around 2 calories.

Supports Skin Health and Wound Healing

Supports Skin Health and Wound Healing

Sage contains a relatively high concentration of iron, which stimulates the production of red blood cells.

This improves the flow of nutrients into the tissues and cells, enhancing their quality and health.

Additionally, sage contributes to your daily needs of vitamin K, which is a major component necessary for the clotting process, speeding up wound healing and reducing scarring.

Helps in Cancer Prevention

Different varieties of sage contain plenty of antioxidants. These chemicals help combat free radicals produced through oxidative stress, which causes cell damage and increases the risk of cancerous tumors.

Antioxidants are considered one of the best protective measures against cancer because of their ability to neutralize free radicals in early stages.

Improves Digestion

Improves Digestion

Traditionally, sage has been used to alleviate digestive issues, and today, these findings are also supported by science.

In fact, the advisory body on herbal medicine in Germany recognizes sage’s use to treat dyspepsia and maldigestion symptoms.

This is because sage oil stimulates the walls of the digestive tract to relax, which reduces cramps, bloating, and even acid reflux.

Enhances Bone Health

Enhances Bone Health

Studies have shown that sage leaves might possess properties that inhibit bone resorption, a process where the body breaks down bone tissue for various reasons.

Inhibiting excessive bone resorption could potentially help maintain strong bones, especially as we advance in age.

Helps in Slowing Down Hair Loss

Sage contains some compounds that were found to improve blood circulation to the scalp, which can stimulate hair follicles to grow faster. Enhanced blood flow doesn’t only increase the rate of hair growth but also strengthens the hair from the roots.

Doesn’t Interrupt Your Sleep Cycle

Doesn’t Interrupt Your Sleep Cycle

Lastly, if you enjoy drinking black or green tea but its stimulating effect keeps you awake at night and disrupts your sleep cycle, sage tea might be a viable alternative for you.

This is because it doesn’t contain any traces of caffeine, making it an excellent choice if you need a drink before bedtime.

Potential Risks

Potential Risks

Besides the remarkable health benefits associated with sage tea, it also has its potential risks and side effects to keep in mind.

As a general rule, sage tea is considered safe when consumed within normal doses, which is around 2 to 3 cups a day.

At such a normal dose, the most common adverse effects of sage tea are likely if you’re sensitive to sage or mint family plants in general. However, in higher doses, sage tea may pose a risk of toxicity.

Here’s a brief overview of the different side effects you might expect in both situations.

Hypersensitivity Side Effects

Hypersensitivity Side Effects

While generally safe for most people in moderation, sage tea can still cause some unpleasant side effects in individuals with hypersensitivity.

These reactions can range from mild stomach upset to more noticeable symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

The reaction to sage tea might also vary from one individual to another.

For example, some people may experience dizziness, vertigo, or lightheadedness after drinking sage tea while others feel a bit restless or agitated.

Luckily, these side effects are typically mild and go away on their own within a few hours. However, it’s important that you stop drinking sage tea if you experience them and consult a healthcare professional about them.

Meanwhile, consider drinking alternative herbal teas that don’t trigger these side effects.

Toxicity at High Doses

Toxicity at High Doses

Consuming sage at relatively high doses, especially in tea form, exposes you to relatively dangerous side effects, which is why you should stick to normal consumption of the drink.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the potential risks associated with sage tea that are reported in studies of the drink:

  • Seizures: Many studies revealed that thujone is considered neurotoxic in high doses, which can affect the brain and even trigger seizures and hallucinations, especially in those with pre-existing conditions like epilepsy.
  • Hepatotoxicity: Overconsumption of sage tea can overwhelm the liver’s ability to process some of its compounds, especially ones that are considered toxic at high doses. This can lead to liver damage in the long run.
  • Nephrotoxicity: Similar to the liver, the kidneys can become strained by processing excessive amounts of sage due to its thujone content, which leads to kidney damage and potential kidney failure.

Besides its toxicity, thujone in sage can interact with various chemicals found in medications and drugs. For that reason, if you’re prescribed certain drugs, you should typically avoid using sage without consulting your doctor first.

Is Sage Tea in Pregnancy Good For You?

Is Sage Tea in Pregnancy Good For You?

Although sage is generally considered safe for healthy individuals, pregnant women are typically advised against consuming it in concentrated forms, including herbal teas.

This contraindication stems from the potential side effects of the tea.

For instance, sage tea in high doses may cause uterine contractions for the same reason it’s used during menopause.

These contractions can be extremely dangerous for an expecting mother because they can lead to a miscarriage, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Additionally, as previously explained, thujone is considered slightly toxic in high doses, which can be quite dangerous for a growing fetus, and there aren’t enough studies to establish the safety of sage during pregnancy.

How to Make Sage Tea: A Simple Guide

How to Make Sage Tea: A Simple Guide

If you’re interested in brewing sage tea, you’ll be delighted to know that it’s a fairly simple task that doesn’t require any special tools or preparations.

In fact, there are various ways to prepare the tea but the following one is the traditional way, which gives you full control of the sage tea’s potency.

The first step is of course to gather the ingredients, so here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 4 cups of water (you may use tap water but filtered water is the best for safety and flavor)
  • A handful of fresh sage leaves (around ½ ounce) or 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried sage
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of sugar or honey (optional but highly recommended, as sage is quite bitter)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (also optional but pairs well with sage tea flavor and enhances its benefits)

Sage tea requires simmering, so you’ll need a pot or a kettle for this recipe in addition to serving cups.

Here’s a quick look at the instructions to prepare the tea:

  1. Add the water to the pot, and bring it to a boil.
  2. Place the sage leaves in addition to other ingredients you have in the water, and bring down the heat to medium-high.
  3. Give the ingredients a quick stir to dissolve the sugar or honey.
  4. Allow the ingredients to simmer for around 5 to 15 minutes. The time here is determined by how potent you prefer the tea. The longer you leave it on, the stronger and darker the tea, so be careful as it can get quite bitter.
  5. Stir the pot occasionally. You may close the lid or leave it open, but watch the water level)
  6. Remove from heat and strain out the leaves and any insoluble ingredients
  7. Serve the sage tea in tea cups or glass mugs, whether hot or cold.

Tips for Drinking and Serving Sage Tea

Tips for Drinking and Serving Sage Tea

Now that you know more about sage tea, its benefits, side effects, and how to prepare it, here are some additional tips and tricks to help you make the most out of it while also trying something new.

Add Honey and Lemon to Mask Aftertaste

Add Honey and Lemon to Mask Aftertaste

Although sage tea is known for its various health benefits, it’s not particularly popular for its flavor.

However, combining sage with different ingredients massively improves its flavor and makes it even more enjoyable.

For example, if you want to tame the bitter aftertaste of sage tea, try adding a squeeze of lemon and a touch of honey.

The tanginess of the lemon masks the flavor while the honey gives it a mildly sweet kick to improve the overall flavor and add health benefits too.

Experiment with Different Sage Varieties

Experiment with Different Sage Varieties

As previously mentioned, there are many popular sage species out there, and some of them vary in taste and have unique flavor profiles that you might enjoy, so consider giving some of them a try if common sage doesn’t work out for you.

Go for a Second Steep

Unlike many types of tea that get fully exhausted after a single brew, sage is quite potent and can be steeped a few times before tossing them. In fact, some people prefer the second steep of sage tea over the first one because it’s less bitter.

Try Ice Sage Tea

Try Ice Sage Tea

You should also consider trying ice sage tea if hot brews aren’t good for you. To make this, you simply brew sage tea as usual, let it cool, and then pour it over some refreshing ice.

Make a Sage Green Tea Latte

If you like unique creations, consider making a latte using sage tea as a base. Simply steep sage tea with a bit of milk then add a few drops of vanilla extract and a drizzle of honey or fruit syrup. You can even add some cinnamon to make the flavor more enticing.

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