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Sage for Alzheimer's Sufferers


For centuries, traditional healers have used sage to clear the mind, improve memory function, and treat hot flashes, excessive sweating, and oral infections.

Reports of the memory-boosting powers of sage go back to the 1500's when English herbalist John Gerard stated that sage “is singularly good for the head and the brain and quickeneth the nerves and memory”. 200 years later, another herbalist, John Hill, spoke of the powerful effect that sage had on “that rapid progress of decay that treads upon our heals so fast in the latter years of life”, or what we today would probably call Alzheimer’s disease. Hill noted that sage had the ability to greatly slow the progress of Alzheimer's.

The therapeutic properties of sage have not only been documented by medieval herbalists but by modern scientists as well. In recent years, a group of Australian and British scientists have been studying a variety of plants for their effects on memory and have rediscovered what Gerard and Hill knew hundreds of years ago: that sage has a positive effect on memory. It turns out that sage inhibits cholinesterase, a family of enzymes involved in neurotransmitter processes and known to aggravate Alzheimer's. Inhibiting cholinesterase is actually the same method by which three of the four FDA-approved medications for Alzheimer's work.

The researchers tested the effects of sage on young healthy individuals, older individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer's, and older individuals with no history of Alzheimer's. All three groups showed improved memory function and the Alzheimer's group showed a decrease in symptoms and an improvement in their ability to pay attention. There were no reported side effects and the researchers concluded that sage appears to boost memory function in all individuals.


"Monoterpenoid extract of sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) with cholinesterase inhibiting properties improves cognitive performance and mood in healthy adults."
Kennedy DO, Dodd FL, Robertson BC, Okello EJ, Reay JL, Scholey AB, Haskell CF.
J Psychopharmacology 2010 Oct 11.

"An extract of Salvia (sage) with anticholinesterase properties improves memory and attention in healthy older volunteers."
Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, Ballard CG, Wesnes KA, Tasker A, Perry EK, Kennedy DO.
Psychopharmacology 2008 May 198.

"Effects of Cholinesterase Inhibiting Sage (Salvia officinalis) on Mood, Anxiety and Performance on a Psychological Stressor Battery"
David O Kennedy, Sonia Pace, Crystal Haskell, Edward J Okello, Anthea Milne and Andrew B Scholey
Neuropsychopharmacology 2006 31.

"Alzheimer's Disease Medications Fact Sheet"

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