New clinical trials reinforce the cognitive benefits of the garden herb sage

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New research has found the secret to better brain function could be found in your backyard garden.

Sage, an aromatic plant used since ancient times to treat numerous health issues, has modern health benefits, a study has discovered.

Clinical trials from the UK suggest the common garden plant and herb can help improve memory, especially in the young and elderly.

Studies show that sage has properties that can significantly improve cognitive performance.

Separate clinical trials explored the effect of a type of sage extract grown and harvested by Sibelius, a natural product company spun-out from Oxford University.

The first trial, which involved adults older than 65, showed that sage had near-immediate, significant improvements in secondary memory (where information is stored) and in accuracy of attention.

The second trial looked at the effect of sage on the cognitive performance of 18 to 25-year-olds, finding significant effects on participants' short term, episodic memory, as noted by their improved ability to accurately recall information.

Both studies were randomised, placebo-controlled trials.

Experts say the results are promising for those looking to delay the onset of age-related conditions, and for those eager to promote a healthier ageing process.

Sage extracts have been shown to inhibit an enzyme that breaks down the part of the brain, that plays an important role in the formation of memories. They also possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which researchers say may contribute to its cognitive benefits.

Sage may help to counteract the pro-inflammatory conditions associated with both cognitive diseases and poor cognitive performance.

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