Common sage, the stuff you use as a herb to flavour food, is also commonly made into a tea, which is popular in the Mediterranean. This tea packs a potent punch. It is loaded with minerals and vitamins and there are also antioxidants and essential oils that could provide you with an array of additional health benefits.
What is Sage Tea?
Sage tea is a hot infusion made from the leaves of the common sage plant, which is also used to flavour foods.
Sage is full of important nutrients, including vitamin A, B vitamins, Potassium, Iron, Copper, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc, among others. It also contains flavones like salvigenin, which is said to offer protection against cardiovascular diseases and may benefit in improving your overall health and wellbeing.
Unlike chamomile and sideritis tea, sage is quite strong tasting and you may need to use relatively small amounts to avoid an overpowering, metallic taste. However, those small amounts should still be enough to produce some benefits, as discussed below.
Benefits of Sage Tea
As mentioned above, the flavones in sage tea can help with cardiovascular health and the iron, copper and the minerals have a similar effect. But there is much more to this tea than that.
Sage tea is said to be able to help with concentration and focus, which is the result of the compound thujone, a known antagonist of GABA and serotonin receptors, which means it can improve focus, increasing your attention span and making it easier to focus for long periods of time. As a result, sage tea may be helpful when you’re studying, especially if you boost the effects with a stimulant like caffeine.
Other Health Benefits
As well as being listed as a potent antioxidant and a potential anti-inflammatory, sage tea is also an anti-fungal, which means it can be used to combat fungal infections; an anti-allergy, which means it may be able to help you beat your allergies, or at least cure the symptoms; and an antiseptic, which means it possess many of the potent anti-bacterial properties that you also get from foods like honey.
Just because it is classified as all of these things doesn’t mean it is as powerful as prescription medications or strong alternatives in all of these areas. For instance, it’s not as strong as honey when it comes to its antiseptic properties; it’s probably not as good as bee pollen when it comes to its anti-allergy properties; and it’s unlikely to be as good as turmeric with regards to its anti-inflammatory properties.
But the fact that it can do all of these things and is easy to add to your daily diet is very noteworthy indeed.
Benefits of the Sage Herb
All of the benefits that you get from sage tea you will also get from eating sage. This means that you will get all of the B vitamins and minerals, which in turn will improve your brain and heart health, while also keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy, as niacin and biotin, both B vitamins, are used by the body for this purpose.
The many antioxidants and essential oils will also improve your overall health, supporting optimal brain, heart and lung health and forming a essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Of course, you can get many of the oils, antioxidants and nutrients found in sage in other herbs and plant-based foods, but when they are all bundled into one super-healthy herb there’s no reason to look elsewhere.
The Best Sage Tea
There are a few small-time suppliers of sage tea. None of the big name brands that we know currently seem to sell it and there is nothing hugely commercial outside of the mediterranean. In fact, for all we know there is nothing commercial in the Med either.
But you don’t need a big brand to get a good quality sage tea. You just need to buy some loose bunches or leaves and then take it yourself. You can find these bunches in many places, speaking of which…
Where to Find It
If you have access to a Greek supermarket or online store, you should be able to find sage tea in abundance. The same goes for any quality herbal tea or traditional medicine store. It is also popular in pagan rituals (which we will discuss shortly) so you may find bundles of sage on sites that deal with shamanic and Wiccan rituals.
Sage Herb vs Sage Tea
The type of sage that you have in your spice rack is the same sage that you use to make sage tea. Or rather, it comes from the same leaf, but the dried, old sage that you have in your spice rack really doesn’t make for a pleasant herbal tea.
Instead, look for bunches of sage sold to be consumed as teas or for other medicinal reasons (see below). These bunches are fresher, which means they contain a high concentration of the nutrients that makes sage such a beneficial herb.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try making tea out of the sage you have in your spice rack. It’s safe to drink after all, because it’s safe to eat. But it’s not a cost effective way, it will be hard to gauge the strength properly and we just wouldn’t recommend it.
Sage can also be burnt as part of cleansing rituals said to have begun with Native American tribes. In actual fact, the types of sage burnt as part of these rituals is native to Europe, so it is unlikely that those Native American tribes had them, but they certainly do now and these rituals have also been practiced by many European tribes as part of pagan rituals and traditional medicine practices.
Tea Like Sage Tea
You can make a tea out of pretty much any herb. If you can eat it then it is also safe to drink as a tea. And because herbs are often loaded with nutrients, including many minerals that you might not be getting elsewhere from your diet, then this would be a great option.
Of course, dried herbs by their very nature also have a very strong taste. That’s why the varieties prepared for consumption in tea form tend to be different to the ones used as a food herb, including peppermint or spearmint, which work better as teas than the dried mint you have in your pantry.