Common Names: sage, common sage, garden sage, true sage
Latin Names: Salvia officinalis, Salvia lavandulaefolia
- Sage has a long history of use as a spice and for health purposes. It was used as a traditional herbal remedy in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as in Native American and Chinese medicine.
- Today, sage is promoted for sore mouth or throat, memory loss, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and other conditions.
How Much Do We Know?
- We don’t know much about the health effects of sage because little research has been done on it.
What Have We Learned?
- Sage has not been clearly shown to be helpful for any health condition.
- There have been a few studies of sage for sore throat, mood, memory, diabetes, and blood cholesterol levels. However, the findings are preliminary, and some of the research is of poor quality.
What Do We Know About Safety?
- Sage is safe in the amounts commonly found in foods, and larger amounts have been used safely for up to 4 months in research studies. However, some species of sage, including common sage (Salvia officinalis), contain a constituent called thujone that can cause seizures in experimental animals and may also do so in people. Cases of seizures associated with consumption of sage essential oil (which is high in thujone) have been reported in people. High-dose or long-term use of sage may not be safe.
- It may be unsafe to use sage during pregnancy because its constituent thujone may have harmful effects. Little is known about whether it’s safe to use sage while breastfeeding.
Keep in Mind
- Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.
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- Behradmanesh S, Derees F, Rafieian-Kopaei M. Effect of Salvia officinalis on diabetic patients. Journal of Renal Injury Prevention. 2013;2(2):51-54.
- Ghorbani A, Esmaeilizadeh M. Pharmacological properties of Salvia officinalis and its components. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2017;7(4):433-440.
- Halicioglu O, Astarcioglu G, Yaprak I, et al. Toxicity of Salvia officinalis in a newborn and a child: an alarming report. Pediatric Neurology. 2011;45(4):259-260.
- Kianbakht S, Abasi B, Perham M, et al. Antihyperlipidemic effects of Salvia officinalis L. leaf extract in patients with hyperlipidemia: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research. 2011;25(12):1849-1853.
- Kianbakht S, Dabaghian FH. Improved glycemic control and lipid profile in hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetes patients consuming Salvia officinalis L. leaf extract: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2013;21(5):441-446.
- Lachenmeier DW, Uebelacker M. Risk assessment of thujone in foods and medicines containing sage and wormwood—evidence for a need of regulatory changes? Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2010;58(3):437-443.
- Sage. Natural Medicines website. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on April 2, 2020. [Database subscription].
- Sage. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine (US); 2018. Accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501816/ on April 16, 2020.
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