Overview

Sage is an herb. The leaf is used to make medicine. There are many species of sage. The two most common species are common sage (Salvia officinalis) and Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia).

Sage is used for Alzheimer disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and symptoms of menopause. It is also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods, sage is a commonly used spice.

In manufacturing, sage is used as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics.

How does it work ?

Sage might help with chemical imbalances in the brain that cause symptoms of Alzheimer disease. It might also improve how the body uses insulin and sugar.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Alzheimer disease. Taking extracts of two different sage species, common sage and Spanish sage, for 4 months seems to improve learning, memory and information processing in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease.
  • Diabetes. Taking common sage leaf extract three times daily for 3 months lowers fastingblood sugar and average blood sugar over time (HbA1c) in diabetes patients.
  • High cholesterol. Taking common sage three times daily for 2 or 3 months reduces "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and blood fats called triglycerides. It also increases "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, in people with high cholesterol.
  • Symptoms of menopause. Research shows that taking common sage extract for 8-12 weeks improves symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes and night sweats.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Pain after surgery. Early research shows that using an oral rinse made of common sage along with pain medications is less effective for reducing pain after surgery compared to using the drug benzydamine hydrochloride. Also, using a mouth rinse containing common sage seems to increase the risk for infection after surgery.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Taking a single dose of common sage extract might improve some measures of memory in healthy older adults.
  • Hot flashes in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer. Early research shows that taking common sage extract three times daily for 4 weeks reduces the severity and frequency of hot flashes in men receiving this treatment.
  • Lung cancer. Some research suggests that people who regularly use sage as a spice may have a 54% lower chance of developing lung cancer than those who don't use sage as a spice.
  • Memory. Taking a single dose of common sage extract or Spanish sage essential oil by mouth seems to improve some measures of memory in healthy adults. But these sage species do not seem to improve memory when used as aromatherapy.
  • Sore throat (pharyngitis). Using a spray containing common sage extract 15% reduces throat pain in people with a sore throat. But sprays containing higher (30%) and lower (5%) amounts of common sage extract do not seem to reduce throat pain.
  • A hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). Some research shows that taking sage helps to reduce some, but not all, symptoms in people with PCOS.
  • Sunburn. Applying an ointment containing common sage extract to the skin after exposure to UV light seems to reduce the development of skin redness.
  • Swelling of the tonsils (tonsillitis).
  • Cold sores (herpes labialis).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Painful periods.
  • Asthma.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gas.
  • Bloating.
  • Indigestion.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Other condition.
More evidence is needed to rate sage for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Sage is LIKELY SAFE in amounts typically used in foods. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts, for up to 4 months. But sage is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses or for a long time. Some species of sage, such as common sage (Salvia officinalis), contain a chemical called thujone. Thujone can be poisonous if you take too much. This chemical can cause seizures and damage the liver and nervous system. The amount of thujone varies with the species of sage, the time of harvest, growing conditions, and other factors.

When applied to the skin: Sage is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin for up to one week.

When inhaled: Sage essential oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when inhaled as aromatherapy.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking sage during pregnancy is LIKELY UNSAFE because of the possibility of consuming thujone, a chemical found in some sage. Thujone can bring on a woman's menstrual period, and this could cause a miscarriage. Avoid sage if you are breast-feeding, too. There is some evidence that thujone might reduce the supply of mother's milk.

Diabetes: Sage might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use sage. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use Spanish sage.

High blood pressure, low blood pressure: Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might increase blood pressure in some people with high blood pressure. On the other hand, common sage (Salvia officinalis) might lower blood pressure in people with blood pressure that is already low. Be sure to monitor your blood pressure.

Seizure disorders: One species of sage (Salvia officinalis) contains significant amounts of thujone, a chemical that can trigger seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, don't take sage in amounts higher than those typically found in food.

Surgery: Common sage might affect blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using common sage as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with SAGE

    Sage might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking sage along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

    Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  • Medications used to prevent seizures (Anticonvulsants) interacts with SAGE

    Medications used to prevent seizures affect chemicals in the brain. Sage may also affect chemicals in the brain. By affecting chemicals in the brain, sage may decrease the effectiveness of medications used to prevent seizures.

    Some medications used to prevent seizures include phenobarbital, primidone (Mysoline), valproic acid (Depakene), gabapentin (Neurontin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), and others.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with SAGE

    Sage might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking sage along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For Alzheimer disease: 1 gram of sage per day. A dose of sage extract, gradually increased over time to 2.5 mg three times daily, has also been used.
  • For diabetes: 500 mg of common sage extract has been used three times per day for 3 months.
  • For high cholesterol: 500 mg of common sage extract has been used three times per day for 2 or 3 months.
  • For symptoms of menopause: 300 mg of common sage extract has been used daily for 12 weeks. Also, 280 mg daily of a specific thujone-free common sage extract (Sage Menopause, Bioforce AG) has been used for 8 weeks.
View References

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.