encyclopedia

Sage

Scientific Names:
Salvia officinalis L. [Fam. Lamiaceae]

Forms:
Aqueous extract of cut and dried sage leaves; sage oil extract

Traditional Usage:
– Antibacterial

– Catarrh (gastrointestinal mucous)

– Digestive Disorders

– Dyspepsia

– Excessive Perspiration

– Flatulence

– Gastric-juice Deficiency

– Gastrointestinal Disorders

– Gum Disease and Soreness

– Gingivitis

– Hot Flashes

– Inflammation (mouth and throat)

– Night Sweats

– Sore Throat

– Topical Antinflammatory

– Wound Disinfectant

Overview:
The leaves of sage, Salvia officinalis L. [Fam. Labiatae], are velvety and contain numerous oil glands. Sage leaf tea was traditionally used to aid digestion, treat flatulent dyspepsia, soothe coughs and hoarseness, and externally to clean ulcers and sores and stop bleeding of wounds. The German Commission E also lists sage leaf tea for treating excessive perspiration. Menopausal women popularly use the tea to treat hot flashes and night sweats under the direction of Medical Herbalists in the United Kingdom. In one 4-week open study, eighty patients suffering from excessive perspiration were treated with half of the group taking 440mg aqueous dry extract of sage (equivalent to 2.6 grams of dry leaf) and the other half drinking sage leaf tea using 4.5g leaf daily. Perspiration was reduced to less than 50% in both groups, with the aqueous dry extract somewhat stronger. The oil extract of sage leaf is also strongly antibacterial and an effective antioxidant for stabilizing culinary oils and extending their shelf life. Sage water extract was found to have a remarkable capacity in retarding lipid oxidation. Examination by thin-layer chromatography of the freeze-dried sage extract, before and after hydrolysis, showed that the extract was rich in bound forms of phenolic compounds such as hydroxycinnamic, rosmarinic and caffeic acids and other flavonoids. These results indicate that sage infusion could be used like black tea as a source of antioxidants. Supercritical fluidextracts of sage done with carbon dioxide resulted in powerful antioxidant extracts effective for preventing oxidation of flaxseed and other oils. Another study to measure total phenolic content of several herbs and assess their antioxidant capacity (measured as oxygen radical absorbance capacity) found that rosmarinic acid was the predominant phenolic compound in both sage and thyme (Thymus vulgaris), but that thyme extract was more powerful as an antioxidant.

Active Ingredients:
Sage leaf contains: 3-8% salviatannins, condensed catechin-type tannins; phenolic acids including rosmarinic, hydroxycinnamic, caffeic, chlorogenic, ferulic and gallic acids; 1-3% flavonoids including apigenin and luteolin derivatives; 1.5-2.8% essential oil containing several monoterpenes including alpha- and beta-thujone; camphor, cineole, humulene, alpha-pinene, camphene, limonene, linalool and bornyl acetate; diterpenoid bitter compounds; triterpenoids including oleanolic and ursolic acids; and resin.

Suggested Amount:
Sage leaf can be taken as a tea with the recommended dosage of a moderately hot cup of tea taken three times a day half an hour before meals. An infusion is made using 1-3g (one teaspoonful) of coarsely cut or powdered sage leaf. Boiling water (ca. 150ml) is poured over this and extracted for 10-15 minutes. The tea can also be prepared by soaking the orange peel pieces in cold water for 6-8 hours, with occasional stirring. A tincture 1:10 (g/ml) can also be taken, with the dosage of 3-7.5grams, or the dry aqueous extract 5.5:1 (w/w) at 0.18-0.36g, three times daily. As a gargle or external rinse, an infusion is prepared using 2.5g cut leaf in 100ml water or 2-3 drops of essential oil in 100ml water; or 5ml of fluidextract diluted in one glass of water applied several times daily.

Drug Interactions:
None known

Contraindications:
Pure essential oil of sage and alcoholic extracts are contraindicated for internal use during pregnancy and are also not recommended during lactation.

Side Effects:
Prolonged use of sage tincture and essential oil can cause epileptiform convulsions.

References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 330-334.

Dauksas E, Venskutonis PR, Povilaityte V, Sivik B. 2001. Rapid screening of antioxidant activity of sage (Salvia officinalis L.) extracts obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide at different extraction conditions. Nahrung. 2001 Oct; 45(5): 338-41.

Marino M, Bersani C, Comi G. 2001. Impedance measurements to study the antimicrobial activity of essential oils from Lamiaceae and Compositae. Int J Food Microbiol 2001 Aug 5; 67(3): 187-95.

Triantaphyllou K, Blekas G, Boskou D. 2001. Antioxidative properties of water extracts obtained from herbs of the species Lamiaceae. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2001 Jul; 52(4): 313-7.

Zheng W, Wang SY. 2001. Antioxidant Activity and Phenolic Compounds in Selected Herbs. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Nov 19; 49(11): 5165-5170.