Tasty herbs really make a meal, especially when they are freshly picked from the garden. Today new research reveals that plant-derived compounds found in Sage and Rosemary may be more than just delicious flavours. These molecules have been found to be effective in fighting inflammation, pain and much more.
For Pain And Inflammation
The flavour of sage is in fact the key to its medicinal quality. Carnosic acid (CA) and carnosol (CS) are potent anti-inflammatory molecules that hold the delicious aroma and taste. They are known to interfere with multiple pain and inflammation pathways in the human body. They can also be used to reduce a fever. These compounds increase the activity of superoxide dismutase, which removes harsh free radical associated with chronic inflammation. This action is amplified from a little heat therefore cooking sage in your food brings the medicine out. Sage’s anti-inflammatory actions have also been shown to improve memory and concentration, and lessening anxiety.
Cancer and Alzheimer’s
Carnosol and carnosic acid are both being studied for its protective effect against inflammation-based neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s as well as their antioxidant effects on tumors. Dr Koeberle told Wiley News, “The discovery of new dual 5-LO/mPGES-1 inhibitors, like CS and CA, represents a valid strategy for the treatment of inflammatory and cancer diseases and further justifies the use of sage and rosemary in traditional medicine. It is important that these natural products are tested in different experimental inflammation and cancer animal models as well as in imaging studies to obtain a complete comprehension of the molecular basis behind their observed biological activity.”
Carnosol also plays a role in balancing the steroid hormones androgens and oestrogen. As well as lowering DHT (dihyroxytestosterone), which improves hair growth and prostate health, as well as increasing nerve growth factor healing nerve tissue.
The more common component of sage, camphor, has been used to kill bacteria and fungi for centuries. Sage has even been found to contain anti-viral molecules.
Rosemary has also been found to contain carnosol and carnosic acid, and it has another interesting compound: rosmarinic acid. Like many anti-inflammatory agents, these work by inhibiting synthesis of prostaglandins, the proteins that trigger widespread inflammation.
According to the 2011 paper published in the journal Cancer Letters, “Carnosol has been evaluated for anti-cancer property in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancer with promising results.” According to researchers, “It has a selective toxicity towards cancer cells versus non-tumorigenic cells and is well tolerated when administered to animals.”
Uncooked rosemary has strong flavonoids, including apigenin, a compound that can inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. It also contains diosmin, which is used to prevent hemorrhoids. Antioxidants are measured by their ORAC value and rosemary has a whopping 3,300, the same as goji berries!
For Brain Function
In recent research, it’s been shown to boost nerve growth factor and support the healing of neurological tissue and brain function. Research on rosemary has shown positive results both on memory function and on Alzheimer’s.
Liver And Gallbladder Support
Rosemary has been used for thousands of years to help with gastrointestinal complaints. What we now know is it is also a great detoxification agent. Studies done in India show rosemary can greatly enhances your body’s bile flow and reduces plasma liver enzymes. These two functions aid digestion and detoxification, prevent bacterial and parasitic infections and help prevent diabetes.
De-Stress With Rosemary
Just smelling rosemary can reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels according to a study was conducted out of Meikai University, School of Dentistry in Japan. Just 5 minutes of smelling lavender and rosemary aromatherapy, affected the salivary cortisol levels of 22 healthy volunteers. Researchers also observed that rosemary enhances free radical scavenging activity, which protects the body from oxidative stress (aging and disease) and greatly reduced cortisol levels.
Now we have good reason to cook with herbs and have delicious aromatherapy baths everyday.