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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Sage Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of Sage on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Sage has many purported beneficial effects, anxiety treatment qualities among them.

Read more about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Sage.

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.

Additionally, in double-blind trials performed in Iran, 42 people with Alzheimer’s disease were given either a sage extract or placebo for 4 months. 1 The results appeared to suggest a modest improvement in mental function in the sage group as compared to the placebo group.

In another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, either placebo or sage essential oil was given to 24 healthy people using a crossover design. 2 The results showed possible improvement in some, but not all, aspects of mental function , but the design of the study was such that the results are difficult to trust. The same was true for another small study involving 20 older healthy subjects who took various doses of sage extract. Short term benefit was seen at a dose of 333 mg per day. 3 A similar sized study (with similar flaws) found weak hints that sage leaf might improve mood and reduce anxiety level. 4 Much weaker evidence, too weak to rely upon at all, hints that sage might have liver protective , 5 6 anti-cancer , 7 immunomodulatory (alters immune function), 8 antimicrobial, 9 anti-anxiety , 10 and anti-inflammatory activity. 11 One study failed to find that sage cream provided more than at most exceedingly modest benefits for treatment of herpes . 12


  1. Akhondzadeh S, Noroozian M, Mohammadi 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;28:53–9.
  2. Tildesley NT, Kennedy DO, Perry EK, et al. Positive modulation of mood and cognitive performance following administration of acute doses of Salvia lavandulaefolia essential oil to healthy young volunteers. Physiol Behav. 2005;83:699–709.
  3. Scholey AB, Tildesley NT, Ballard CG, et al. An extract of Salvia (sage) with anticholinesterase properties improves memory and attention in healthy older volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Mar 19.
  4. Kennedy DO, Pace S, Haskell C, et al. Effects of cholinesterase inhibiting sage ( Salvia officinalis ) on mood, anxiety and performance on a psychological stressor battery. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Oct 5 [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Amin A, Hamza AA. Hepatoprotective effects of Hibiscus , Rosmarinus and Salvia on azathioprine-induced toxicity in rats. Life Sci. 2005;77:266–78.
  6. Lima CF, Andrade PB, Seabra RM, et al. The drinking of a Salvia officinalis infusion improves liver antioxidant status in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;97:383–9.
  7. Vujosevic M, Blagojevic J. Antimutagenic effects of extracts from sage ( Salvia officinalis ) in mammalian system in vivo. Acta Vet Hung. 2004;52:439–43.
  8. Capek P, Hribalova V. Water-soluble polysaccharides from Salvia officinalis L. possessing immunomodulatory activity. Phytochemistry. 2004;65:1983–92.
  9. Rota C, Carramiñana JJ, Burillo J, Herrera A. In vitro antimicrobial activity of essential oils from aromatic plants against selected foodborne pathogens. J Food Prot. 67(6):1252-6.
  10. Kavvadias D, Monschein V, Sand P, et al. Constituents of sage ( Salvia officinalis ) with in vitro affinity to human brain benzodiazepine receptor. Planta Med. 2003;69:113–7.
  11. Baricevic D, Sosa S, Della Loggia R, et al. Topical anti-inflammatory activity of Salvia officinalis L. leaves: the relevance of ursolic acid. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;75:125–32.
  12. Saller R, Buechi S, Meyrat R, et al. Combined herbal preparation for topical treatment of Herpes labialis. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2002;8:373–82.


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