The Salvation Plant

Flowers of Salvia Oficinalis Plant

3 Science-Based Benefits Everyone Should Know About

The Plant: There are a several forms of sage that are cultivated for their use as a culinary or medicine herb. This blog is about the most common one is the common sage: Salvia officinalis. Sage’s botanical name, Salvia, mean the “Salvation Plant”, name given for a good reason, as you will discover in the next few paragraphs.

Sage blossoms bring a smile on my face every time I see them in my little front yard. And Oh dear do they smell heavenly wonderful. If I close my eyes I can even remember their scent. Do you find this odd?

But let’s get back to why do I write this blog? Yes! Yes, you guessed: it’s sage season Melbourne! So I am here to remind YOU to enjoy the benefits of this wonder-magic plant. I just made-up this word and hope the reader is not too offended.

So my advice to you, whether you have a green thumb or not, go buy some seedlings of the common sage and plant it in your front yard or back yard. It is useful and it adds beauty to your garden as it can grow in beautiful shrub. And I can assure you: the possum friend will not eat it!

Benefits: In the following I will provide you with the most common and scientifically-backed benefits that I also have tested.

#1 Sage as Cholesterol Balancing Agent

This plant is packed with loads of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can help our health system restore without any nasty secondary effects. Most importantly, its bioactive components, antioxidants (Jakovljevic et al, 2019), in the form of polyphenols have been researched extensively by many reputable Laboratories. Turns out that drinking only a cup of sage tea twice daily for about 2-4 weeks is able to balance the cholesterol: increasing the levels of the “good” one (HDL) while lowering the levels of the “bad” guy (LDL) (Sa et al, 2009).

#2 Sage as Remedy for Hot Flushes in Menopausal Women

Hormonal balance is out of whack when experiencing hot flushes. The fridge is never cold enough and daily hot flushes are not something one wishes to experience. Good news is that drinking sage tea daily for a period of two months has positive effects, reducing the intensity and frequency of hot flushes (Bommer, et al, 2011). The tea can be made from either fresh flowers or dried plant.

#3 Sage as Mental Acuity Improver

Essential oil from Sage (Perry et al, 2003), can help alleviate symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease. It improves digestion and it also helps improve brain neuropathways. Most notably, after 6 weeks of being exposed to the oil of sage. In the referenced study the volunteers were given 2 drops of the oil. Since this involves the ingestion of an essential oil, it is best to consider using the sage plant fresh or dried in food or consumed as beverage.

The plant, Salvia officinalis and its oil has no known toxicity and has no contraindications. My preferred way to use it is to drink an infusion during the day. In order to get the wonderful benefits sage has on offer I also like grinding it and use it as a salt enhancer.

Guess what tea am I sipping while writing this blog?

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition Diva, I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Bommere et al, Adv. Ther., 2011,28(6):490-500, First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133/

Jakovljevic M. et al, Plants (Basel Switzerland), 2019:,8(3) Bioactive Profile of Various Salvia officinalis L. Preparations, . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30845696

Sa et al, Int J Mol Sci. 2009:10(9):3937-50, Sage tea drinking improves lipid profile and antioxidant defences in humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19865527

Perry et al, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003:75(3):651-659, Salvia for dementia therapy, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895683/

Time Tested Cold Relievers

Grandma’s Aromatic Cold Cure

Last night’s cold temperature reminded me of a bitter experience I had in my early youth. I was commuting to my job by bus in another town about 12 km distance away. The temperature reached minus 23 degrees Celsius. After several stops, the buss wouldn’t start. Ouch! We were caught between the two towns: with phenomenal view of majestic frozen mountains on both sides of the road. The driver suggested that we better start walking. So we did. We had walked about 4 km to get to the first house in the town where my job was. When the journey came to an end, my nostrils and left eye were almost frozen. Imagine the rest…..

Ok .. Ok I admit, I was way out of my thermal comfort back then.

Anyway, if you are living in Melbourne, you know that one cannot have this sort of experience. So why did I feel it was so cold?

Aha! You guessed: is all about personal thermal comfort. Meaning whatever I am comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes 14 degrees Celsius are just fine while other times not. That is because the thermal comfort is a subjective evaluation of what thousands of thermal skin sensors communicate to the nervous and endocrine system. Interestingly, the thermal skin sensors are distributed unequally on the body, with more sensors in the exposed regions of the body: feet, ankles, hands, wrists, neck, face and head. Therefore, having one or more of these regions exposed to the outdoor weather is linked to how cold/hot the body feels.

But would feeling cold make you getting the cold?

Feeling cold and catching a cold are not necessarily directly related. Even though colds and other respiratory illnesses are more prevalent in the colder months, it does not mean that they are caused by it. More likely, we get them because we might be tired, under emotional stress or lacking some essential minerals and vitamins. Colds are caused by a group of viruses referred to as rhinoviruses.

Best way to stay healthy this cold season is to keep the hands clean and avoid touching the nose, eyes or the face with unwashed hands. If the unavoidable happened and the cold signs (runny nose, scratchy throat, and nonstop sneezing) are developing, relax and read on. Grandma’s recipes are at hand.

Important to remember that the remedies provided here rarely cause adverse effects: some can inhibit viruses while other can alleviate cold symptoms. It is up to you to choose and educate yourself about what works best for you.

I share here three of my best ways to unbug yourself: the easy way: on your pocket as well as on your body.

#1 Decongestant Aromatic Herbal Bath

This is my absolute favourite and is an old fashioned remedy for colds. You can either brew a strong tea using the herbs below or use their essential oils (about 2 drops of each) to the bath.

In a large 5 l pot bring to boil water with:

  • 2 cups eucalyptus leaves
  • ½ cup of thyme leaves
  • 1 cup of rosemary leaves
  • 1cup of peppermint leaves

Cover and let it rest for about 5 min. Strain out the herbs and pour the solution in the bath making sure that the water is not too hot (about 40degrees Celsius ).

#2 Boost the Immune System with the Humble Chicken Soup

Slow cook a chicken soup with my secret ingredient.

Recipe

  • 1 medium chicken
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ celeriac root
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 8 – 10 black peppercorns
  • 2cm fresh ginger
  • Secret ingredient: shiitake mushrooms (lentinus edodes).

Since ancient times, (as early as AD60 by Pedacius Dioscorides, Roman surgeon under Nero) the chicken soup was considered the ultimate cold and flu fighter and a tested way to boost your own immune system. Today’s deep science understandings enable us to also know why. The trick with it is to cook the chicken as slow as possible in a slow cooker. By cooking for longer time at relatively low temperature, the soup has multiple benefits as listed in Table 1.

Table 1. The chicken soup: more than just another hot liquid.

Effect Reason
Mild-
antiinflammatory
Increases mucus flow (Saketkhoo, et al 1978)
antioxidants Carrots, onions (Suileria et al 2015)
Prevents dehydration Parsnip- important source of potassium
Metabolism enhancer Black pepper
Blocks the attachment and internalisation of human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) Ginger is an effective element against virus (HRSV) infections (Chang et al., 2003) –
less dietary glycotoxins
Cooking the foods using intense heat, causes the sugars to bind with proteins (e.a. collagen and elastin fibers) to form glycotoxins. The visual evidence of this termo-chemical reaction is the browning observed in food cooked above 110 degrees Celsius. The cookies and cake in the oven, the chicken on the grill, and the potatoes in the frying pan are all browning as a result of dietary glycotoxins.
Antiviral properties garlic’s sulfur-potentially has a role here (Cochrane Library 2014)
Tonic to the immune system Shiitake mushrooms possess substances called polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system by increasing the body’s production of antiviral substance interferon.(Gunawardena, et al, 2014)


Feel free to add any other herbs. Experimenting is key in cooking!

#3 Aromatic Herbal Remedies and Inhalations

A plethora of teas are available in health shops and pharmacy. My current choice of herbal remedies is based on taste as well as scientific evidence. The following combination provides a nice, fresh and sweet taste that is pleasant either hot or cold.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

This herb’s essential oil is used as nasal decongestant and inhalants. It affects the bronchial smooth muscle cells (Meamarbashy et al, 2014) as well as it can be used in combating nausea even in pregnancy (Gordon & Love, 2018). In fact, the essential oil can be used in a diluted form on the temples to reduce headaches (making sure that the eyes are well protected).

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger blends well with many other herbs. It is also very versatile as it can be used in fresh and dried form equally. Ginger can be boiled for tea, in soups or stir-fries with equal effect. As it is a warming plant, avoid using when high fever is present.

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice root is commonly used in alternative medicine to treat colds and sore throats. However, licorice does not only act upon the respiratory system(Gulati et al 2016). It can also be soothing to the gut and work as an effective liver cleanser and blood detoxifier when combined with other herbs. Licorice will sweeten the tea due glycyrrhizin, a compound that can be up to 50 times sweeter than sugar. This sweet compound inhibits tissue inflammation, reduces oxidative stress and has significant anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder it has been heralded as the “go to” herb when cold season hits in so many cultures around the Globe (Ancient Greeks, China, India). Use the tea for maximum a week only as to avoid overdosing on glycyrrhiza (50 times sweeter than sugar). More about licorice is summarised in the (American Botanical Council).

For more information on how to aromatically keep the cold at bay using diet, herbs and aromatic essential oils, contact us.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.]

References

Chang et al., 2003, J Ethnopharmacol., 9;145(1):146-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23123794

Cochrane Library,2014, Garlic for the common (cold.https://www.cochrane.org/CD006206/ARI_garlic-common-cold)

Gordon and Love, 2018, Chapter 54:Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy Pages 542-549, in Integrative Medicine, 4th Edition. Ed. Rakel D Elsevier Inc. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/peppermint)

Gulati et al, 2016, Nutraceuticals in Respiratory Disorders, in Nutraceuticals: Efficacy, Safety and Toxicity, Ed Gupta, Elsevier Inc.

( https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/glycyrrhiza-glabra)

Gunawardena et al, 2014 Food Chem. 1;148:92-6. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262531)

Licorice Root – American Botanical Council http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Licoriceroot.html?ts=1559265640&signature=1d1115ec53db851b893ed9193a017150

Meamarbashy, 2014, Avicenna J Phytomed., 4(1): 72–78. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103722/)

Suileria et al, 2015, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.;55(1):50-66., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915405

Saketkhoo et al, 1978; Chest. 74(4):408-10.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/359266