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SAGE (Salvia officinalis L.), Adriatic herb and spices, as part of the Mediterranean diet

Herbs native to the Mediterranean, used as teas and spices, are an important part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. One of these herbs is sage, a herb with a rich aroma and taste, which has a large supply of nutrients. On the Adriatic coast you can find a lot of beautiful sage bushes in the wild, this is a native Montenegrin herb and spice

"Of all plants, there is hardly a plant more valuable than sage, because it serves as medicine for the poor and the rich"…. This is how sage was characterized by Hieronymus Bock, a German doctor and botanist in his "Book of Plants" printed in 1539, in which he classified about 700 known plants. Its Latin name also speaks of the action attributed to it since ancient times: "what brings salvation"*. The Romans, and before them the Egyptians, knew the healing properties of sage; during harvesting, a special ritual was conducted to treat infertility. It was brought to the northern parts of Europe thanks to the monks who cultivated it in the monastery gardens of medicinal herbs during the early Middle Ages, and then it found its way to many home gardens.

Adriatic herbs and spices, sage

A French saying from the 13th century best describes the sage in its healing properties:

"Why should a man die when sage grows in his garden?"

Sage has been a natural part of the Mediterranean diet and Mediterranean lifestyle since antiquity. Samonikla, a sage that belongs to the Lamiaceae family, grows as a perennial shrub on rocky coastal substrates of the Mediterranean, in an area with a dry climate that it tolerates very well, and is successfully cultivated throughout Europe, Asia, North America and South Africa. Its root is strong and woody, as are the lower parts of the stem, while the upper parts of the stem are herbaceous, and bear many furrowed, elliptic leaves of a silvery-gray-green color, placed opposite to each other. The leaves, as well as the entire plant, are covered with thick scales. The flowering period begins in May and lasts until July, and the flowers are purple and arranged in pseudo-ears. The whole plant spreads a pleasant, characteristic and aromatic smell.

As a medicinal part of the plant, the leaf (Salviae folium) is rich in many active ingredients, the most important of which is essential oil (with a high content of camphor, cineole, salviol, salvene, thujone, pinene and borneol), then tannins, flavonoids, phenolic acids (rosmarinic, ursolna), diterpenes, triterpenes, phytoestrogens, resins, bitter compounds, proteins, starch, calcium oxalate, salts of phosphoric acid, potassium and calcium and vitamin K. Montenegrin herbs and spices have helped people be healthy and successful for hundreds and thousands of years.

The medicinal effects of sage are numerous

A traditional digestive aid, sage exhibits many beneficial health effects, from regulating sweating to regulating the menstrual cycle, including soothing sore throats, gingivitis, and disinfecting wounds.

The use of sage tea contributes to the relief of stomach pain and improvement of digestion, eases complaints due to gas and flatulence, thanks to the antispasmodic and carminative effect of the active ingredients. In folk medicine, it is considered a plant that helps purify the blood, it is considered an effective tool for relieving inflammation of the stomach and intestines, liver and gall bladder and urinary channels. It is traditionally used to stop vomiting, diarrhea and relieve stomach pain.

Its anti-inflammatory effect is also well known, especially when it comes to inflammation of the respiratory organs accompanied by a productive cough, because the use of sage tea contributes to the dilution of thick bronchial secretions and facilitates expectoration, soothes sore throat and smoker's cough. The dried leaves are also traditionally used for smoking, as an anti-asthma remedy.

Sage is the most effective medicinal plant for regulating and combating excessive sweating, so it is used during puberty and menopause as well as in tuberculosis patients to normalize excessive sweating.

The active ingredients, phytoestrogens, present in the sage leaf are responsible for the beneficial effects on the regulation of menstrual cycles, the relief of menstrual pain, the relief of discomfort during hot flashes during menopause, as well as other discomforts related to this period. The use of sage tea is especially recommended for women in the period of finishing breastfeeding and weaning the child from the breast, because the active ingredients of sage stop the secretion of milk. Applied externally, for vaginal washes, it is a proven means of eliminating leucorrhoea and vaginal infections.

Its astringent, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects are also well known: applied locally, for rinsing, it effectively relieves inflammation of the skin as well as the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, so it is used in pharyngitis and tonsillitis, to strengthen the gums in gingivitis.

In the Mediterranean, sage was used in the bath, in drinks, as a seasoning in many ways, which is why the properties of sage and its use in the Mediterranean diet are so well known. For example, Montenegrin herbs and spices are an integral part of life on the coast.

In addition, the use of sage tea is traditionally recommended as a means of strengthening in asthenia and recovery from depression; then in case of dizziness and hypotension; it has a beneficial effect on rheumatic diseases, contributes to the reduction of elevated body temperature in fever; and has a beneficial effect on lowering blood sugar.

Application of sage in folk medicine

The Mediterranean diet is the art of health and beauty, which is why sage has such a wide variety of uses. Sage leaves boiled in wine are an old folk remedy used in the fight against tuberculosis, and it is also the best folk remedy for cleaning festering wounds. Fresh sage leaves are used for poultices to speed up wound healing and clean purulent ulcers, as well as to relieve pain after a sting of insects, and are also used to massage the gums in case of gum disease, while sage baths are recommended in the treatment of scabies and eczema. Balkan herbs and spices have been known to folk medicine for centuries.

Depending on the purpose, sage tea is prepared in different ways

Sage leaf tea can be prepared as an infusion, by pouring boiling water over the dried leaf, if its purpose is to disinfect the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat, or it is drunk as a remedy against increased sweating during a moving period of time. If, on the other hand, it is used as part of therapy for malignant diseases, along with vegetable juices and the use of tea mixture, when drinking in large quantities, sage tea must be prepared by boiling it in an open vessel for several minutes, so that the toxic compounds on thujone base would decompose and evaporate.

The experiences of folk medicine have been confirmed by contemporary research

The European Medical Agency lists milder digestive complaints, excessive sweating and local use to relieve inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth and throat as areas of application of sage. Sage helps digestion and reduces pathogenic microflora, these are important components of the healing effect of the Mediterranean diet. Adriatic herbs and spices, sage in particular, are widely used.

Laboratory tests have proven the antibacterial effect of sage essential oil on strains of Echerichiae coli, Salmonella sp., Staphylococcus sp. and Enterococcus sp., and an antiviral effect has also been documented. Scientific research has shown that flavonoids are responsible for the antispasmodic effect of sage extracts, while the tannins present regulate sweating, and phytoestrogens are responsible for estrogenic effects. In addition, the presence of ursolic acid contributes to the anti-inflammatory effect, and sage extracts also show anti-cancer potential.

There are limitations when using sage

The European Medicines Agency recommends that sage should not be used for more than two weeks for internal use and one week for topical application. Due to the content of thujone in the essential oil, a compound that shows toxic effects when taken in large doses, sage tea and products should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding (except at the end of the breastfeeding period, when weaning the child, in order to stop milk secretion), and its use is by no means recommended for people suffering from epilepsy. Also, its use is not recommended for people suffering from hormone-dependent cancers, due to the estrogenic effect of sage's active ingredients. The content of vitamin K could possibly affect the therapy with anticoagulants, therefore special caution and monitoring of symptoms are advised when using these drugs simultaneously.

Sage tea as part of the Mediterranean diet

Sage leaf and other Adriatic herbs and spices, can be part of the Tea mixture to improve appetite, as tea mixture with Calendulae, to strengthen immunity, to fight eczema, for rinsing and intimate care of women, for alleviating complaints with candidiasis, against cellulite, for alleviating problems with fibroids and with inflammation of the throat and tonsils, while the sage tincture is part for strengthening the gums, against sweating and for rinsing the throat.

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