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Introduction

Sage is a fragrant herb often used in cooking. The leaves have been used to improve digestion and mental function. Sage has also been used to lower cholesterol and ease throat pain. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Sage can also be made into a tea or used as an essential oil.

Dosages

There are no advised doses for sage.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Acute pharyngitis —may ease throat pain A1
  • Hyperlipidemia —may lower total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol D1
  • Sore throat —may ease pain when used as a spray with echinacea G1
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis —may treat symptoms H1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Alzheimer Disease B1, B2
  • Diabetes C1
  • Memory and attention in older adults E1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to use sage products and to take sage orally in small doses for a short time. Large doses may not be safe. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use sage. F1 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with epilepsy should talk to their doctors before taking sage. It may interact with their medicines.
 

References

A. Acute Pharyngitis

A1. Hubbert M, Sievers H, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of a spray with Salvia officinalis in the treatment of acute pharyngitis - a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with adaptive design and interim analysis. Eur J Med Res. 2006 Jan 31;11(1):20-26.

B. Alzheimer Disease

B1. Akhondzadeh S, Noroozian M, et al. Salvia officinalis 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. 2003 Feb;28(1):53-59.

B2. Miroddi M, Navarra M, et al. Systematic review of clinical trials assessing pharmacological properties of Salvia species on memory, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2014 Jun;20(6):485-495.

C. Diabetes

C1. Kianbakht S, Dabaghian FH. Improved glycemic control and lipid profile in hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetic patients consuming Salvia officinalis L. leaf extract: a randomized placebo. Controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2013 Oct;21(5):441-446.

D. Hyperlipidemia

D1. Kianbakht S, Abasi B, et al. Antihyperlipidemic effects of Salvia officinalis L. leaf extract in patients with hyperlipidemia: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2011 Dec;25(12):1849-1853.

E. Memory and Attention in Older Adults

E1. Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, et al. An extract of Salvia (sage) with anticholinesterase properties improves memory and attention in healthy older volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 May;198(1):127-139.

F. Safety

F1. Ahmed M, Hwang JH, et al. Safety classification of herbal medicines used among pregnant women in Asian countries: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Nov 14;17(1):489.

G. Sore Throat

G1. Schapowal A, Berger D, et al. Echinacea/sage or chlorhexidine/lidocaine for treating acute sore throats: a randomized double-blind trial. Eur J Med Res. 2009;14(9):406-412.

H. Vulvovaginal Candidiasis

H1. Ahangari F, Farshbaf-Khalili A, et al. Comparing the effectiveness of Salvia officinalis, clotrimazole and their combination on vulvovaginal candidiasis: A randomized, controlled clinical trial. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2019 Apr;45(4):897-907.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/30/2020