What is Sage Leaf Tea?
Sage Leaf Tea is made from the leaves of the sage plant, Salvia officinalis. Sage is best known as a popular culinary herb, used predominantly in European cooking, but it also has a long tradition of medical use. Recent research has identified sage leaf tea as having a number of potential health benefits.
Where does Sage Leaf Tea come from?
The sage plant is native to the Mediterranean region, but its wide use in cooking, value as an attractive ornamental shrub, and use as a natural remedy in a number of medical traditions, has seen sage become established in many places throughout the world. Sage tea is commonly made from the fresh, or dried leaves of the sage plant.
Sage Leaf Tea Benefits
The name "Sage" is derived from a Latin word meaning "to save". This attests to its wide usage as a medicinal herb. Sage has been used in a number of European and Asian medical traditions to treat a huge range of conditions, particularly those of the nervous, reproductive, respiratory and digestive systems, as well as for a multitude of fevers and infections. Sage is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are valued for their overall health benefits. It also contains a number of different essential oils which have antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Recent research has concentrated on the influence of sage on the metabolism, particularly its antidiabetic properties, such as blood sugar control, and effect on the lipid profile.
A number of studies carried out in mice and rats have shown that consumption of sage has the ability to improve glucose control. It is believed that sage gives the body a greater sensitivity to blood sugar hormones insulin and glucagon, and an increased ability to absorb glucose from the bloodstream (1). These changes are thought to be much more pronounced in diabetic animals (2).
Research in animals has also shown that sage tea is able to increase the body's antioxidant activity, but failed to show any effect on weight control or food consumption (3).
There has only been a small amount of research into sage that has been performed in humans, but preliminary results have been promising. A small pilot study conducted in healthy middle aged women showed that drinking sage tea every day resulted in a reduction in overall cholesterol levels and levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, accompanied by an increase in "good" HDL cholesterol. Unfortunately this study was unable to show any effects on blood glucose levels (4).
Scientists have identified the compounds in sage that are thought to be responsible for these effects on glucose, lipids and oxidation, and have proposed a method of action that predicts a greater effect on blood sugar control. These findings justify further research into sage and its compounds of interest (5).
Sage Leaf Tea Benefits for Bodybuilding
Sage leaf tea shows a lot of promise in improving general health, through increased control of blood sugar and blood lipids. Fluctuating blood sugar levels are responsible for peaks and troughs in energy and can also play havoc with the appetite, which can make it difficult to approach dietary and exercise goals with focus and discipline.
High antioxidant levels can prevent the oxidative damage that is a side product of heavy training. Greater antioxidant levels in the body, such as those observed after drinking sage tea, may prevent this damage occurring, which can speed up recovery.
Sage Leaf Tea Negatives and Side Effects
Sage tea is a cheap, natural remedy which is showing a lot of promise. Unfortunately, there has been very little scientific research into the effects of sage tea, particularly in humans, so it is not possible to say definitively that it is effective.
In spite of this, sage is known through years of culinary use, to be very safe, so there is little to lose by consuming sage tea if you feel it may provide benefit.
Sage Leaf Tea Dosage and Ingredient Timing
There is very little data on what constitutes a therapeutic dose of sage tea, but human trials have used a protocol in which 300mL of boiling water was poured onto 4g of dried sage, and allowed to steep for five minutes. This tea was taken twice a day (4).
Sage Leaf Tea Supplements
Sage is not yet a common ingredient in supplements, but fresh or dried sage can readily be obtained from supermarkets and grocers.
Stacking Sage Leaf Tea
Sage leaf tea is popularly used in combination with white bean extract and BCAA powder as part of a "metabolism boosting" regime. Mixing sage and green teas is also popular. Like sage, green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, and possesses additional thermogenic properties that may enhance weight loss.
(1) Lima CF1, Azevedo MF, Araujo R, Fernandes-Ferreira M, Pereira-Wilson C. Metformin-like effect of Salvia officinalis (common sage): is it useful in diabetes prevention? Br J Nutr. 2006 Aug;96(2):326-33.
(2) Eidi M, Eidi A, Zamanizadeh H. Effect of Salvia officinalis L. leaves on serum glucose and insulin in healthy and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Sep 14;100(3):310-3.
(3) Lima CF, Andrade PB, Seabra RM, Fernandes-Ferreira M, Pereira-Wilson C. The drinking of a Salvia officinalis infusion improves liver antioxidant status in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Feb 28;97(2):383-9.
(4) Sage tea drinkingInt J Mol Sci. improves lipid profile and antioxidant defences in humans. Sá CM, Ramos AA, Azevedo MF, Lima CF, Fernandes-Ferreira M, Pereira-Wilson C. 2009 Sep 9;10(9):3937-50.
(5) Rau O, Wurglics M, Paulke A, Zitzkowski J, Meindl N, Bock A, Dingermann T, Abdel-Tawab M, Schubert-Zsilavecz M. Carnosic acid and carnosol, phenolic diterpene compounds of the labiate herbs rosemary and sage, are activators of the human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. Planta Med. 2006 Aug;72(10):881-7.