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Sage

Botanical names: Salvia officinalis

Sage is a silvery-green shrub with very fragrant leaves. The most commonly cultivated species of sage originally came from the area around the Mediterranean but now also grows in North America. The leaves of this common kitchen herb are used in medicine as well as in cooking.

Uses

Used for Amount Why
Alzheimer’s Disease 60 drops daily of a 1:1 tincture Sage appears to have an effect on acetylcholine, one of the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain, and supplementing with sage has resulted in a significant improvement in cognitive function.
Gingivitis (Sage oil, Caraway, Chamomile, Clove Oil, Echinacea, Menthol, Myrrh, Peppermint) 0.5 ml in half a glass of water three times per day swished slowly in the mouth before spitting out A mouthwash containing sage oil, peppermint oil, menthol, chamomile tincture, expressed juice from echinacea, myrrh tincture, clove oil, and caraway oil has been used successfully to treat gingivitis.
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity 4 to 6 grams daily of dried leaf or equivalent, for indigestion Sage is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Menopause (With Alfalfa) 4 to 6 grams daily of dried herb or equivalent Supplementing with sage leaf and alfalfa extract completely eliminated hot flushes and night sweats in 20 of 30 women in one study.

How It Works

The volatile oil of sage contains the constituents alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, and cineole. It also contains rosmarinic acid, tannins, and flavonoids. In modern European herbal medicine, a gargle of sage tea is commonly recommended to treat sore throat, inflammations in the mouth, and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Test tube studies have found that sage oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity which may partially explain the effectiveness of sage for these indications.

Sage is also approved in Germany for mild gastrointestinal upset and excessive sweating. An unpublished, preliminary German study with people suffering from excessive perspiration found that either a dry leaf extract or an infusion of the leaf reduced sweating by as much as 50%. A report from the United Kingdom indicates that herbalists there employ sage to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.

For treatment of sore throats, inflammation in the mouth, or gingivitis, 3 grams of the chopped leaf can be added to 150 ml of boiling water and strained after 10 minutes. This is then used as a mouthwash or gargle several times daily. Alternatively, one may use 5 ml of fluid extract (1:1) diluted in one glass of water, several times daily. For internal use, the same tea preparation described above may be taken three times per day.

Side Effects

Concern has been expressed about the internal use of sage due to the presence of thujone. Even when consumed in small amounts for long periods of time, thujone may cause increased heart rate and mental confusion. Very high amounts (several times greater than one receives if taking sage as instructed above) may lead to convulsions. If one takes sage internally, it is best to limit use to the recommended amounts and to periods of no more than one to two weeks. Extracts of sage made with alcohol are likely to be higher in thujone than those made with water. Sage oil should never be consumed without being first diluted in water. Sage should not be used internally during pregnancy. These concerns do not extend to the use of sage as a gargle or mouth rinse. Sage should be avoided when fever is present.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.


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