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Sage herb nutrition facts

Sharply flavored, sage herb or garden sage is one of the popular pot herbs known since ancient Roman times. This legendary herb with numerous virtues, long held to be guardian over all other herbs, has been in use in various traditional European and Chinese medicines for its health promoting and disease preventing properties.

Sage is evergreen perennial shrub commonly seen all over Mediterranean and south-eastern Europe (Balkan) regions. Botanically, the plant belongs to the family of Lamiaceae of the genus: Salvia. Scientific name: Salvina officinalis.

The plant grows well in well drained alkaline soil under sunny conditions. It grows up to 75 cm height and features woody branching stems. Its aromatic leaves are grey-green, soft and pebble-like textured with fine hair like filaments growing on either side. It bears violet-blue color bunches of flowers in summer.

Several cultivars of sage are grown either for medicinal or for culinary purposes.

  • Three-lobed sage (S. fruiticosa or S. triloba): Large perennial with lobed leaves, grown in Mediterranean countries for making popular sage tea.

  • Pineapple sage (S. rutilans): Fresh leaves add flavor to desserts and drinks.

  • Clary sage (S. sclarea): Strongly aromatic leaves generally used in throat gargle infusions and in perfumeries.

  • Azure sage (S. azurea): The plant is large with blue flowers, used in Mexico as an herbal panacea.

Health benefits of sage herb

  • Sage herb parts have many notable plant derived chemical compounds, essential oils, minerals, vitamins that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

  • The primary biologically active component of common sage appears to be its essential oil which contains mainly ketone ?- and ?-thujone. In addition, sage leaf contains numerous other substances including cineol, borneol, tannic acid; bitter substances with cornsole and cornsolic acid; fumaric, chlorogenic, caffeic and nicotinic acids; nicotinamide; flavones; flavone glycosides; and estrogenic substances. These compounds are known to have counter-irritent, rubefacient, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties.

  • Thujone is GABA and Serotonin (5-HT3) receptor antagonist. It enhances concentration, attention span and quickens the senses; hence sage infusion has long been recognised as "thinker's tea". Its effects help deal with grief and depression.

  • Thee lobe sage (S. triloba) has flavone called salvigenin. Research studies found that vascular relaxant effect of salvigenin may provide benefits in the cardiovascular diseases.

  • This herb is exceptionally very rich source of many B-complex groups of vitamins, such as folic acid, thiamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin with many vitamins several times more than recommended levels.

  • The herb contains very good amounts of vitamin A and beta carotene levels. 100 g dry ground herb provides 5900 IU; about 196% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A known to helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • Fresh sage leaves are good source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin-C. Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of structural proteins like collagen. Adequate levels in the body help maintain integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

  • Sage herb parts, whether fresh or dried, are rich source of minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.

ee the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Sage herb (Salvia officinalis), Dried, ground,
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 315 Kcal 15.75%
Carbohydrates 60.73 g 47%
Protein 10.63 g 19%
Total Fat 12.75 g 42.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 40.3 g 106%

Folates 274 mcg 63%
Niacin 5.720 mg 35.75%
Pyridoxine 2.690 mg 206%
Riboflavin 0.336 mg 26%
Thiamin 0.754 mg 68.5%
Vitamin A 5900 mg 196%
Vitamin C 32.4 mg 54%
Vitamin E 7.48 mg 50%
Vitamin K 1714.5 mcg 1429%

Sodium 11 mg <1%
Potassium 1070 mg 23%

Calcium 1652 mg 165%
Copper 0.757 mg 84%
Iron 28.12 mg 351%
Magnesium 428 mg 107%
Manganese 3.133 mg 136%
Zinc 4.70 mg 43%

Carotene-a 0 mcg --
Carotene-ß 3485 mcg --
Crypto-xanthin-ß 109 mcg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 1895 mcg --

Selection and storage

Fresh leaves obtained from the garden as and when required. However, in the herb store; look for fresh culinary sage leaves that are featuring either plain narrow leaved or non-flowering broad leaved types as they are favored particularly in cooking. Fresh leaves are most sought after in cooking for their aromatic, subtle flavor than dried sage.

Dried or ground sage herb can also available in the markets. Look for authentic sources from organically grown herb. Fresh leaves used in marinades should be flavorful and devoid of blemishes, mold and wilt.

Store fresh herb in plastic bags in cool compartment of home refrigerator. Dried sage should be kept in an air tight container and placed in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for several months.

Culinary uses

Sage leaves, in general, are harvested before flowering for culinary purposes. Discard tough stems and fibers before use in recipes. Wash in cold water to remove soil and sand. Gently pat dry using soft cloth.

Sage herb is common ingredient in Greek, Italian and Balkan cuisine.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Fresh leaves can be used in stuffing in season sausages, poultry and fish.

  • The herb is also used in many vegetable dishes, especially with beans.

  • It is also used as garnish in herb salads.

  • Roast pork and mushrooms with sage, marjoram and celery leaves.

Medicinal uses of sage

  • The essential oil obtained from sage has been found to have acetylcholinesterase (Ach) enzyme inhibition activities. This help rise Ach levels in the brain. Ach improves concentration and may play a role in the treatment methods for memory loss associated with the disease like Alzheimer's.

  • Sage oil, distilled from the flowering tops, contains volatile essential oil such as camphene, cineol, borneol, bornyl acetate and other esters. These compounds are known to have tonic, astringent, diaphoretic and stimulant properties.

  • Sage herb oil is also being used externally as a rubefacient to soothen painful ailments like muscle stiffness, rheumatism and neuralgic conditions.

  • Used as blended massage oil or in the aromatic therapy sage oil helps with nervousness, anxiety, headaches, stress and fatigue.

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