The herb sage has a long history of use in food and medicine. In Mediterranean cultures it was used internally to treat excessive menstrual bleeding, increase fertility, aid memory, reduce symptoms of arthritis, and reduce breast engorgement during weaning. It was used topically for treatment of wounds, sprains, and muscle injuries, and as a gargle for sore throat, hoarseness, and cough.
for internal use in the treatment of
(non-specific digestive distress) and excessive sweating, and for topical use in the treatment of inflammation of the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. However, only
, placebo-controlled studies can prove that a treatment really works, and no studies of this type have been performed using sage for any of these purposes other than sore throat. (For information on why such studies are essential, see
Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)
A double-blind study of 286 people found that a throat spray made using sage at a 15% concentration significantly reduced
pain as compared to placebo.
Additionally, in double-blind trials performed in Iran, 42 people with
were given either a sage extract or placebo for 4 months.
The results appeared to suggest a modest improvement in mental function in the sage group as compared to the placebo group.
In another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, either placebo or sage essential oil was given to 24 healthy people using a crossover design.
The results showed possible improvement in some, but not all, aspects of
, but the design of the study was such that the results are difficult to trust. The same was true for another small study involving 20 older healthy subjects who took various doses of sage extract. Short term benefit was seen at a dose of 333 mg per day.
A similar sized study (with similar flaws) found weak hints that sage leaf might improve mood and reduce
One study failed to find that sage cream provided more than at most exceedingly modest benefits for treatment of
For use as tea or gargle, 1–3 grams of dried sage is steeped in a cup of water, and taken three times daily. The equivalent dose of tincture or extract may also be used
As a widely used food spice, sage is thought to have a relatively high level of safety. However, comprehensive safety studies have not been performed. Sage essential oil contains the neurotoxic substance thujone. Maximum safe doses in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
Akhondzadeh S, Noroozian M, Mohammadi M, et al.
extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial.
J Clin Pharm Ther
Tildesley NT, Kennedy DO, Perry EK, et al. Positive modulation of mood and cognitive performance following administration of acute doses of
essential oil to healthy young volunteers.
Amin A, Hamza AA. Hepatoprotective effects of
on azathioprine-induced toxicity in rats.
Lima CF, Andrade PB, Seabra RM, et al. The drinking of a
infusion improves liver antioxidant status in mice and rats.
Lima CF, Carvalho F, Fernandes E, et al. Evaluation of toxic/protective effects of the essential oil of
on freshly isolated rat hepatocytes.
Toxicol In Vitro
Vujosevic M, Blagojevic J. Antimutagenic effects of extracts from sage (
) in mammalian system in vivo.
Acta Vet Hung
Capek P, Hribalova V. Water-soluble polysaccharides from
L. possessing immunomodulatory activity.
Rota C, Carraminana JJ, Burillo J, et al. In vitro antimicrobial activity of essential oils from aromatic plants against selected foodborne pathogens.
J Food Prot
Kavvadias D, Monschein V, Sand P, et al. Constituents of sage (
) with in vitro affinity to human brain benzodiazepine receptor.
Baricevic D, Sosa S, Della Loggia R, et al. Topical anti-inflammatory activity of
L. leaves: the relevance of ursolic acid.
Saller R, Buechi S, Meyrat R, et al. Combined herbal preparation for topical treatment of
Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd
Kennedy DO, Pace S, Haskell C, et al. Effects of cholinesterase inhibiting sage (
) on mood, anxiety and performance on a psychological stressor battery.
. 2005 Oct 5 [Epub ahead of print]
Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, Ballard CG, et al. An extract of
(sage) with anticholinesterase properties improves memory and attention in healthy older volunteers.
2008 Mar 19.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a