A 2016 review from Australia’s Murdoch University, in Perth, confirms the cognitive benefits of consuming plants in the Salvia genus, particularly sage. Cognition includes processes associated with attention, memory, judgment, evaluation, reasoning, problem solving and decision making.
Researchers discussed the theory that an accumulation of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in the body is responsible for some cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s patients. Studies have shown that sage can protect mice against Aβ-induced neurotoxicity, thus helping to preserve cognition.
The researchers also highlighted acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter believed to play an important role in attention, learning, memory and motivation. ACh enzyme inhibitors help prevent alterations in ACh, preserving these functions. Vitro and animal studies show that some species of salvia are effective ACh enzyme inhibitors.
In addition, animal studies have shown that sage extracts can reduce depression and anxiety. Both of these conditions can contribute to a decrease in cognitive function.
Further research is needed to determine the extent of the effect and safe dosage.