Sage has long had a reputation as a cognitive enhancer, the first noted in 1597 by herbalist John Gerard. He wrote sage was ‘singularly good for the head and brain and quickeneth the nerves and memory’.
Scientists from our era have now reinforced John’s theory with several clinical trials showing its superior brain boosting properties.
Sage has a long history of being used in traditional medicine. It has over 40 unique compounds, including rosmarinic acid and ursolic acid: these have many beneficial properties including antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and DNA-protecting properties.
How does it work?
Boosts chemical messengers
First of all you need to know a bit about the enzyme acetylcholinesterase and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Acetylcholinesterase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the chemical messenger that allows brain cells to communicate with each other. The more acetylcholine there is, the quicker your brain cells can communicate and ultimately the better your brain works. Sage works by stopping the enzyme acetylcholinesterase break down acetylcholine, this leads to quicker communication between brain cells and better brain function.
Interestingly, Alzheimer’s patients show low levels of Acetylcholine which is associated with memory loss. What’s even more interesting is that Sage seems to have a similar mechanism of action to drugs on the pharmaceutical market.
Has potent antioxidant properties
Free-radical damage or oxidation leads to inflammation and can cause cells damage. This can lead to many brain diseases including depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Sage is a potent antioxidant and helps protect cells against damage.
There are many studies on sage, two of my favourites are summarized below:
- One study on a group of elderly people with mild dementia who were taking a daily dose of sage showed improve cognition.
- Another study in younger people, showed that taking one capsule of sage helped improve their alertness, mood and cognition.
We are looking forward to seeing more research being carried out on sage and on its postive effects on the brain.
If you like the sound of sage, why not try Memoraid which contains the amount of sage used in these studies.