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.
What Is Sage Used for Today?
Sage has been approved by Germany’s Commission E for internal use in the treatment of dyspepsia (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 double-blind , 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 sore throat pain as compared to placebo.
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.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -