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Sage

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This fact sheet provides basic information about sage—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.

 

Common Names:  sage, common sage, garden sage, true sage

Latin Name: 
Salvia officinalis, Salvia lavandulaefolia

Background

  • Sage has a long history of use as a spice and for health purposes. It was used in ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek medicine. In Native American rituals, dried sage is burned to promote healing, wisdom, protection, and longevity.
  • Today, sage is used as a dietary supplement for digestive problems, sore mouth or throat, memory loss, and depression.
  • Sage leaves or their extracts are available as liquids, throat sprays, tablets, lozenges, and capsules.

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, 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 generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is approved for food use as a spice or seasoning. However, some species of sage contain thujone, which can affect the nervous system. Extended use or taking large amounts of sage leaf or oil may result in restlessness, vomiting, vertigo, rapid heart rate, tremors, seizures, and kidney damage. Twelve drops or more of the essential oil is considered a toxic dose.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Toll-free in the U.S.: 
1-888-644-6226
TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers): 
1-866-464-3615
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PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ODS seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, supporting research, sharing research results, and educating the public. Its resources include publications (such as Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know), fact sheets on a variety of specific supplement ingredients and products (such as vitamin D and multivitamin/mineral supplements), and the PubMed Dietary Supplement Subset.

E-mail: 

Key References

  • Sage. Natural Medicines Web site. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/ on April 22, 2015. [Database subscription].
  • Sage leaf. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:330-334.

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.

NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.
NCCIH Publication No.: 
D457
Updated: 
September 2016

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.


NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advise of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

nccih.nih.gov

This page last modified November 15, 2016