Report on Sage Drug Interactions, Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Sage (Salvia officinalis). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Pregnancy and lactation. Some studies indicate that sage may help stimulate uterine contractions. Pregnant women should not consume highly concentrated forms of sage, although using it as a culinary spice has not been shown to have this effect.

Avoid sage if you are breast-feeding, too. There is some evidence that thujone, a chemical found in some sage may reduce the mother?s milk supply.

Warning 2 – Anticonvulsants: Sage may decrease the effect of anticonvulsant medications. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 3 – Iron Salts: Sage may decrease the absorption of iron salts.

Warning 4 – Diabetes: Excessive amounts of sage may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabeties.

Warning 5 – Hypertension: Sage may increase blood pressure in those with hypertension.

Warning 6 – Seizure Disorders: One species of sage (Salvia officinalis) contains significant amounts of thujone, a chemical that can trigger seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, don?t take sage in amounts higher than what is typically found in food.

Used as a natural health remedy: At one time or another sage has been used for virtually every ailment known to man. Modern evidence supports the possible use of sage for the following:

  • antisweating agent
  • antibiotic
  • antifungal
  • astringent
  • antispasmodic
  • estrogenic
  • hypoglycemic
  • mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease

Sage may also be effective for reducing cold sores when combined with Chinese rhubarb.

This herb is traditionally used in turkey stuffing, but is also popular with poultry and cheese.

Side Effects of Sage

Although few side effects have been reported from the use of sage leaves, those using the more concentrated forms such as sage tea or extracts, may experience inflammation of the mucous membranes of the lips and lining of the mouth. Concentrated sage oil is toxic and should be restricted to aromatherapy.

The side effects of sage oil include:

  1. Inflammation of lips and lining of mouth
  2. Kidney damage
  3. Rapid heart rate
  4. Restlessness
  5. Seizures
  6. Tremors
  7. Vertigo
  8. Vomiting
  9. Wheezing

Sage is generally regarded as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is approved for food use as a spice or seasoning.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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