British scientists have discovered evidence that sage can significantly improve memory.
New research shows a centuries-old herbal remedy might be the key to treating Alzheimer's disease.
A team of researchers tested 44 healthy, young volunteers between ages 18 and 37. Some were given sage oil capsules, and some were given placebos. In a word recall test, those who took the sage oil performed significantly better than those who didn't.
For centuries, people have taken sage for memory loss. In the 16th and 17th centuries, well-known herbalists like John Gerard and Nicholas Culpeper wrote about sage's ability to heal memory and quicken the nerves and senses.
"This proves how valuable the work by the old herbalists is, and that they shouldn't just be ignored because they were writing centuries ago," say researchers.
These findings, coupled with earlier sage research, are encouraging scientists to look closer at sage as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Many of the current Alzheimer's drugs on the market, such as donepezil, have unpleasant side effects on patients such as diarrhea, nausea, trouble sleeping and dizziness. Researchers say no adverse side effects were reported in the sage trials.
Alzheimer's disease affects millions of people worldwide . It is the most common form of dementia among older people. The causes of Alzheimer's disease are still unknown and there is no cure.
More studies are needed to investigate why sage is so effective as a memory aid, but researchers think it could be a combination of chemicals in the oil which give it antioxidant, estrogenic and anti-inflammatory properties -- all considered useful in Alzheimer's therapy.