Common sage (Salvia officinalis) is an aromatic plant that is usually dried and used as a culinary herb. For centuries, sage also has also been used in both Eastern and Western cultures as a medicinal plant.
In recent years, scientists have studied the use of sage, sage tea, or sage extracts in preventing or treating some common medical conditions, such as high cholesterol, inflammatory conditions, and hot flashes.
This article explains what sage is made of and how people use it, as well as the research on its potential health benefits. It also explains the multiple ways that sage can be taken and how it can be taken safely.
Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF. However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and to check in about any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.
- Active ingredients:Camphor, carnosic acid, carnosol, phenolic acids
- Alternate names: Common sage, garden sage,Salvia officinalis
- Legal status:Available over the counter
- Suggested dose:280 mg to 1,500 mg daily for up to 12 weeks
- Safety considerations:Should not be used by people taking anticonvulsant drugs or diabetes medication
Sage and Sage Tea Benefits
Sage contains powerful antioxidants and other nutrients with disease-fighting properties. Potential sage, sage extract, and sage tea benefits include:
- Boosts memory
- Eases menopausal hot flashes and night sweats
- Fights inflammation
- Improves blood sugar control
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Prevents cancers
- Promotes skin healing
- Relieves a sore throat and tonsillitis
- Treats cold sores
Uses of Sage
There are numerous varieties of sage used for culinary and medical purposes. The most common isSalvia officinalis (also known as common sage). Other edible varietals include Salvia lavandulaefolia and Salvia plebeia.
Sage contains a few different ingredients that are thought to have health benefits. These include:
- Camphor: This oily substance gives sage its pungent aroma. Popularly used in topical creams and ointments, camphor actively stimulates nerve endings. It produces a warm sensation when vigorously applied or a cool sensation when applied gently.
- Carnosic acid and carnosol: These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They directly activate a molecule known as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma). PPAR-gamma helps regulate blood sugar, lipids, and inflammation, among other things.
- Phenolic acids: These are plant-based chemicals that have antioxidant properties, protecting cells from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
There is evidence, albeit sparse, to support some of the benefits of sage.
Scientists have shown that components of S. officinalisor S. lavandulaefolia can can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in test tubes. These components include carnosol, rosmarinic acid, and ursolic acid. They've been shown to have activity against the following types of cancer cells:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Chronic myeloid leukemia
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
- Small-cell lung carcinoma
While animal studies don't always translate to humans, a 2017 review of studies reported that rosmarinic acid given daily to mice prevented skin cancer and bone metastasis from breast cancer.
This doesn't necessarily mean sage can prevent cancer in humans. Determining that will require trials in people. As one group of researchers said: "... extensive pharmacological and chemical experiments, together with human metabolic studies, should be the focus of our future studies."
CAM Therapy As an Alternative Breast Cancer Treatment
One study, published in the journal Phytotherapeutic Research, concluded that sage has cholesterol-lowering effects. According to the research, people given between 400 milligrams (mg) to 1500 mg of sage daily (in the form of either powder, tea, or a supplement) achieved an overall improvement in their blood lipids (fats) after three months.
Among the findings:
- Total cholesterol levels were lowered by 16% to 20%.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (known as "bad cholesterol") was reduced by at least 12%.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (known as "good cholesterol") was increased by up to 20%.
- Triglycerides (another type of fat in the blood) were lowered by at least 18%.
However, other studies have not demonstrated similar results.
Natural Supplements for Lower Cholesterol
There is evidence, though limited, to suggest that sage can improve memory and information processing.
A 2017 review suggested that two types of phenolic acid found in sage—rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid—improved alertness and cognitive skills in mice.
Other studies included in the review found that sage and its active ingredients were associated with improvements in:
- Short-term memory
- Speed recall
Sage may be beneficial in providing relief for inflammatory conditions such as sore throat and sunburn.
A study from Switzerland showed that an oral spray made from extract of sage and echinacea was just as effective in treating an acute sorethroat as the combination of chlorhexidine and lidocaine. Chlorhexidine and lidocaine are pharmaceutical drugs commonly used in oral anesthetics. This combination may also help relieve tonsillitis pain and speed the healing of cold sores when applied as a salve or ointment.
Meanwhile, another study reported that sage oil provided relief of mild inflammatory skin conditions like sunburn and folliculitis. Researchers noted that sage has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms of menopause. A study published in the International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences reported that taking a 100 mg daily dose of sage for eight weeks reduced the incidence of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Moreover, it appeared to do so without influencing hormone levels.
Ways to Relieve Menopausal Hot Flashes
What Are the Side Effects of Sage?
When consumed as a spice in food, sage is considered safe for adults and children. As a supplement, sage does not usually cause side effects at recommended dosages.
Healthcare professionals generally agree that:
- Sage should be safe when taken in medicinal amounts for no more than two months.
- Sage applied to the skin is possibly safe when used for up to one week.
- Sage essential oil, inhaled as aromatherapy, should be safe.
Like some other essential oils, sage oil can be toxic and should never be taken orally. Even when applied topically, the oil must be diluted or it could cause rash or irritation.
Do not take sage supplements while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid sage if you have allergies. Sage is related to ragweed and can cause skin reactions, hay fever, or food allergies in people who are sensitized to it.
Dosage: How Much Sage Should I Take?
Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.
The recommended dosage of supplemental sage generally ranges from 280 mg to 1,500 mg by mouth daily for up to 12 weeks. If you use sage capsules or extracts, never consume more than the recommended dose on the product label.
Sage can also be used as a fresh or dried herb and is sold as a tea. The tea has a slightly minty, aromatic taste that can be bitter. Some people prefer adding sweetener to sage tea.
Sage Nutrition Facts
One teaspoon of ground sage contains:
- Protein:0.1 grams
- Carbs:0.4 grams
- Fat:0.1 grams
- Vitamin K:10% of the reference daily intake (RDI)
- Iron:1.1% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6:1.1% of the RDI
- Calcium:1% of the RDI
- Manganese:1% of the RDI
What Happens If I Take Too Much Sage?
Sage may be unsafe when taken in high doses or for a long time. Some species of sage, including common sage (Salvia officinalis), contain a chemical called thujone. Too much thujone can cause seizures and damage the liver andnervous system.
Sage can make anticonvulsant drugs less effective if used in excess. These drugs include:
- Mysoline (primidone)
- Depakote (valproic acid)
- Neurontin (gabapentin)
- Tegretol (carbamazepine)
- Dilantin (phenytoin)
If you take diabetes medications, the excessive use of sage can trigger a potentially severe drop in blood sugar, leading to hypoglycemia. Sage medications should also be used with caution in people with impaired kidney function.
Tell your healthcare provider about any medications you're taking, including herbal remedies like sage, so that you're fully aware of the potential interactions and risks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sage tablets or gel caps vegan?
Not always. Gel caps in particular are sometimes made from animal gelatins rather than vegetable cellulose. To be safe, purchase products that are labeled "vegan" or "vegetarian."
Is burning sage good for you?(Video) How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally in 4 Steps | Dr. Josh Axe
Burning sage is a cleansing ritual that comes from traditional indigenous American medicine. Its health benefits have not been well studied. It is also important to remember that inhaling smoke of any kind, including smoke from sage, may cause lung problems. If you have asthma or another chronic respiratory condition, it's best to ask your healthcare provider before you burn sage in your home.
Sources of Sage and What to Look For
Sage supplements usually come in pill, gel cap, or capsule form.
People also take sage:
- "Organically," meaning by chewing a certain amount of leaves from a sage plant
- Through a tincture, by combining a dried version of the herb with alcohol
- By boiling a tea with powdered sage leaves
- Through topical creams and ointments, though these products are usually used for skin irritation
- By inhaling the essential oil as aromatherapy
Dried and fresh sage can be found at most grocery stores. Sage powders, capsules, extracts, teas, essential oils, and homeopathic remedies can be found online or at drugstores and health food outlets.
As you look for a sage supplement, try to find one that is manufactured to the highest quality and safety standards. The best way to do this is to check the label for a seal of approval from an independent, third-party certifying body, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.
USP publishes the Dietary Supplements Compendium, an online, subscription-based database, which provides quality standards for the production of dietary supplements. Supplements that pass USP's quality requirements are awarded a distinction called the USP Verified Mark.
Sage and sage extracts are being examined in research for common medical conditions, including lowering cholesterol, enhancing memory, improving inflammatory conditions, and reducing hot flashes.
Doses of up to 1,500 mg per day are generally considered safe and well-tolerated by healthy people.
A Word From Verywell
It can be easy to get enthused about an herb like sage, particularly when you hear about all the discomforts and maladies that some people swear it can either ease or cure.
It will take researchers years to catch up with all the anecdotal claims. Until then, it's wise to follow the advice of the National Institutes of Health, which notes that "herbal remedies are a type of dietary supplement. They are not medicines."
The National Institutes of Health also note that herbals may not work as claimed and may contain ingredients or contaminants that are not listed on the label. Before you enter this unchartered territory, schedule a session with your healthcare provider to discuss the potential benefits and risks for you.
Taking common sage three times daily for 2 or 3 months reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol, in people with high cholesterol.How much sage should you take daily? ›
The recommended dosage of supplemental sage generally ranges from 280 mg to 1,500 mg by mouth daily for up to 12 weeks. If you use sage capsules or extracts, never consume more than the recommended dose on the product label. Sage can also be used as a fresh or dried herb and is sold as a tea.Does sage affect blood pressure? ›
Common sage (Salvia officinalis) seems to lower blood pressure. Taking common sage along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. On the other hand, Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might increase blood pressure.Can you drink sage tea everyday? ›
Sage tea is considered safe to drink, but it should not be taken at high doses or in excessive amounts per day. This is because high doses of sage (or more than 3-7g of thujone per day) may lead to: Heart issues.What cleans cholesterol out of your body? ›
Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber is found in such foods as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Add whey protein. Whey protein, which is found in dairy products, may account for many of the health benefits attributed to dairy.What herb reduces cholesterol quickly? ›
Other herbal products: The results of several studies suggest fenugreek seeds and leaves, artichoke leaf extract, yarrow, and holy basil all may help lower cholesterol.How long does it take for sage to start working? ›
How long does sage take to work for hot flushes? Everyone is different so the benefits of sage helping with menopause symptoms such as hot flushes varies. Several studies have reported an improvement in the intensity of hot flushes within 4 weeks4,9 although the positive effect seemed to be better after 8 weeks4.Should I take sage in the morning or evening? ›
1. Take supplements in the evening that are going to help your night-time symptoms. So, if you're taking magnesium to help with sleep, if you're taking sage to help with the night sweats or the evening flushes, then these are best taken with your evening meal.Can I take sage every day? ›
Things to Watch Out For
That said, there is no evidence to show that thujone is toxic in humans. Drinking too much sage tea or consuming sage essential oils can have toxic effects. You should never consume essential oil of any kind, and limit yourself to 3-6 cups of sage tea per day to be safe.
Sage may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries and potentially cause damage. In one study, consuming sage tea twice daily lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and total blood cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol after just two weeks ( 6 ).
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.What are 5 herbs for high blood pressure? ›
That said, there are several promising herbs and spices you can incorporate into your diet that may help lower your blood pressure. They include basil, parsley, celery seeds, Chinese cat's claw, Bacopa monnieri, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, to name a few.What does sage do for hair? ›
To stimulate your hair to growth faster: Sage is used effectively to improve circulation to the scalp, providing more nutrition to the hair follicles and encouraging new hair growth. A weekly application of sage tea is suggested to revitalize dry and thinning hair and add thickness.Is sage tea good for kidneys? ›
Sage functions as a natural diuretic, stimulating the kidneys and liver, which means that more toxins are flushed through the body by way of urination. In the same way, sage also helps promote kidney and liver health.Does sage make you sleepy? ›
It may improve the quality of your sleep
Some research suggests that sage contains compounds that could help ease insomnia. Classic garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is sometimes burned like white sage. It's also been used to improve sleep and soothe anxiety.
Cyclodextrin Dissolves Cholesterol Crystals So They Can Be Excreted by Body; Reduces Arterial Wall Inflammation.What foods immediately lower cholesterol? ›
- Oats. ...
- Barley and other whole grains. ...
- Beans. ...
- Eggplant and okra. ...
- Nuts. ...
- Vegetable oils. ...
- Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits. ...
- Foods fortified with sterols and stanols.
Vitamins C, D, and B3 (niacin) may help lower cholesterol as well. And probiotics, berberine, and red yeast rice are other potentially effective supplements.Does lemon water lower cholesterol? ›
Thanks to their naturally high vitamin C levels, lemons are also beneficial in helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Mixing the juice of two to three lemons in water each day can be enough to lower your low-density lipoprotein (also known as 'bad' cholesterol) and lower the risk of heart disease.Does cinnamon reduce cholesterol? ›
Cinnamon, in turn, has been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels. Since high cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, the cholesterol-reducing effects of both honey and cinnamon together may reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Apple cider vinegar also contains many polyphenols, or plant-based compounds. These antioxidant compounds have been shown to decrease blood pressure in laboratory animals, improve the ability to metabolize sugar, and have beneficial effects on cholesterol.Why does sage make you feel better? ›
When sage is burned, it releases negative ions, which is linked to putting people into a positive mood. The Latin word for sage salvia stems form the word heal. Other qualities believed to be associated with sage when burned are giving wisdom, clarity, and increasing spiritual awareness.”How do you use sage for the first time? ›
First you start with a simple intention of focusing on clearing the negative energy out of your space and mind. Once you have your intention in mind, light the Sage or Palo Santo and hold at a 45 degree angle pointing the tip down towards the flame. Allow it to burn for 30 seconds and then blow it out.Does sage increase estrogen? ›
Consumption of sage (Salvia officinalis) promotes ovarian function by stimulating estradiol hormone release and controlling folliculogenesis, steroidogenesis, and autophagy.Can sage give you energy? ›
Over the years, sage has been used more commonly and is said to get rid of negative energy, restore harmony, and connect us to a spiritual plane. In other words, doing so could make you feel more balance.Is sage good for losing weight? ›
Sage Tea Benefits Weight Loss
It may not seem like much at first but the compounds found in sage have been found to aid weight management. Studies have shown that Sage Tea can act as an appetite suppressant which helps to reduce caloric intake.
The potent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties of sage help to evade infections and acts as a protective shield by strengthening the body's immune system. It prevents sore throat, cough and cold symptoms and treats different types of fungal, bacterial and viral infections.Does sage help arthritis? ›
Three arthritis patients used the black sage sun tea for 1 week and reported temporarily decreased pain but no cure of their arthritis.Does sage reduce inflammation? ›
Sage may relieve oral pain and inflammation, as well as bad breath. It has several dental applications due to its antibacterial and wound-healing benefits.Do sage tablets really work? ›
Some very preliminary evidence suggests that sage might help improve symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats or hot flashes. Sage is available as a tea, essential oil, and oral supplement. Only the supplement form of sage has been shown to be helpful for menopausal symptoms.
While sage moves mucus out of the body or gets digestive enzymes flowing, it also moves blood. In Traditional Chinese Medicine sage can help stagnant blood conditions such as varicose veins and blood clots. As your blood flows, cognitive function improves.What does sage do to your lungs? ›
"Sage is an expectorant which helps expel mucous from the respiratory track, according to Ayurvedic practitioner Vikrama, writing at drvikrama's friendly holistic herbalist. Sage tea is effective even in the severe case of hemoptysis, or hemorrhaging from the lungs brought on by respiratory infection, Dr.What herb relaxes the heart? ›
As an herb, motherwort can be useful in helping alleviate a racing heart caused by stress, tension, and general emotional upset. A soothing herb for the nerves as well, motherwort can settle a racing mind and call back restorative, untroubled sleep.What diseases are cured by sage? ›
Sage tea is traditionally used to treat bronchitis, asthma, cough, excessive sweating, angina, depression, many diseases . Essential oils of Sage have been used to remedy some diseases such as nervous system, heart and digestive disorder and metabolic diseases.Does sage cause inflammation? ›
Some of the compounds in sage helped to reduce this type of inflammation. More recent studies have supported the use of sage in dentistry for its anti-inflammatory properties. Many other herbs and spices similar to sage also appear to have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects.Is sage good for anxiety? ›
Both doses of sage led to improved ratings of mood in the absence of the stressor (that is, in pre-DISS mood scores) postdose, with the lower dose reducing anxiety and the higher dose increasing 'alertness', 'calmness' and 'contentedness' on the Bond-Lader mood scales.What herb lowers blood pressure the fastest? ›
Basil is extremely effective in treating medical conditions such as blood pressure, cold, flu, arthritis, and others. Eugenol present in the basil leaves helps to control high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. Drinking basil tea or chewing raw basil is recommended for the benefits.What can I drink in the morning for high blood pressure? ›
- Skim milk. Skim milk contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium — minerals that are known to help decrease blood pressure. ...
- Tomato juice. ...
- Beet juice. ...
- Hibiscus tea. ...
- Pomegranate juice. ...
- Grapefruit juice.
Salt or sodium
Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because of how it affects fluid balance in the blood. Table salt is around 40 percent sodium. Some amount of salt is important for health, but it's easy to eat too much.
Clary sage is extremely effective for supporting and harmonizing estrogen balance. This can be beneficial if you are struggling with PMS, irregular cycles, or menopause-related symptoms.
The smoke that's emitted from the dried herb bundle is believed to cleanse negative energy and purify or bless people and places. Similar to washing your hands before a meal, burning sage helps to cleanse a person's energy in a bath of aromatic smoke. This energetic practice is called cleansing or smoke bathing.Who should not drink sage? ›
Pregnancy: Taking sage during pregnancy is likely unsafe because of the thujone found in some sage species. Thujone can bring on a menstrual period, which could cause a miscarriage. Breast-feeding: Taking sage while breast-feeding is possibly unsafe. The thujone in sage might reduce the supply of breast milk.How do you take sage for memory? ›
- Tincture: take 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves in a sip of water every day or twice a day.
- Herbal Tea: drink several cups of sage tea every day for several weeks.
- Gargle or take small sips of sage tea: as needed throughout day.
In Christian belief, burning sage to purge a person of ill was regarded as a sin. Believers can use sage to make their homes have a pleasant smell - but the belief that smudging sage might have spiritual cleansing properties, was regarded as a form of sorcery.Is sage an antidepressant? ›
The rapid antidepressant effect of the Sage drug, called zuranolone, is a novel feature that differentiates it from currently available drugs that are slower acting and might be taken for months, if not longer, Sage said.What are the disadvantages of sage herb? ›
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.Who should not drink sage tea? ›
People with hormone-sensitive conditions shouldn't take sage. In large amounts, sage may interact with various medications, including sedatives, anticonvulsants, and diabetes medication. Avoid sage tea if you have allergies to sage or other plants in the Lamiaceaeplant family (such as peppermint and oregano).What effects does sage have on the heart? ›
Sage may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries and potentially cause damage. In one study, consuming sage tea twice daily lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and total blood cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol after just two weeks ( 6 ).What are the positive effects of sage? ›
- A recent review of studies showed that species of sage could positively impact cognitive skills and protect against neurological disorders.
- Other studies have shown that sage can also improve memory in young, healthy adults.
- The researchers concluded :
You may be wondering what's the best time of day to sage your house. You can sage your home at night or during the day. What's most important is that you sage your home when you feel it needs to be done, or if you feel negative, sluggish, anxious, or stressed.
There are other sage varieties with healing properties as well. The most well-known of them is definitely chia (Salvia hispanica): its seeds can be mixed into various foods and consumed to reduce body weight or decrease the risk of coronary heart diseases. Chia is an annual plant.What does sage do to hormones? ›
Consumption of sage (Salvia officinalis) promotes ovarian function by stimulating estradiol hormone release and controlling folliculogenesis, steroidogenesis, and autophagy.What is the best herb for poor circulation? ›
Circulatory herbs like Rosemary, Ginkgo leaf, Gotu kola and Butcher's broom can help strengthen blood vessel walls and capillaries, reduce inflammation and swelling, and improve blood flow. These herbs are best taken in a therapeutic dose as a liquid tincture, tablet or capsule.