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What is Sage Leaf?

Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Updated Jan 26, 2024
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Sage leaf comes from the Salvia officinalis, a small shrub that is native to Mediterranean regions. The leaves are green with a strong aroma similar to citrus and can be used as a form of treatment in alternative medicine. The oil may be removed from the sage leaves by crushing them, then combined with alcohol or added to capsules. The leaves can also be dried and added to boiling water to make a medicinal tea beverage.

One of the most common conditions for which herbalists recommend the use of sage leaf is relief from a constant cough or sore throat. The oil or dried leaves are generally added to hot water, then gargled. Some herbalists believe the herb has anti-inflammatory properties that also provides a soothing feeling to the throat.

The use of sage leaf has also been promoted as a treatment for sweating. Although it has not been effectively proven, some herbalists believe the oil from the leaves can regulate the body’s temperature. People who suffer from uncontrollable sweating may be recommended to try sage leaf capsules to control their symptoms. The herb may also be touted as a treatment option for menopausal women, particularly as a means to control hot flashes.

Digestive problems are thought to possibly be calmed with the use of sage leaf. Supporters of the herb feel that oral administration may provide soothing properties to treat indigestion and stomach cramps. It is also believed by some that the oil from the leaves has antibacterial properties and can treat stomach ulcers caused by bacterial infections.

Sage leaf oil or dried leaves can have dangerous side effects for people with certain health conditions. It is thought to increase the chance of seizures if taken in large amounts. People with epilepsy or other seizure-related conditions are generally advised to avoid the herb. It may also cause problems with people who have diabetes because the oil may be combined with alcohol or sugar and could unexpectedly raise a diabetic person’s blood sugar levels.

The use of herbal supplements like sage is generally recommended for adults only. The effects on children are not usually tested, so herbalists may opt to act cautiously and avoid prescribing the supplements to children. Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding are typically not advised to use sage supplements or drink sage tea, simply because the effects of the herb on infants and children are unknown.

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Discussion Comments

By anon340060 — On Jun 29, 2013

Does sage make estrogen? I've had breast cancer.

By irontoenail — On Jun 18, 2011

Sage is a really good plant to keep in your kitchen garden. I use it to flavor everything from eggs to roasts. I find it works really well if you bruise it and chop it up first, then allow it to cook with the other ingredients (rather than just adding it at the end).

Sage takes forever to start really growing, so if you plant some be prepared to continue to use dried from the supermarket for a while.

It needs a lot of sun too. I put some in a shady place once and it never thrived.

Once you manage to get a couple of plants going, they are wonderful.

By pleonasm — On Jun 16, 2011

@anon124130 - I've researched a bit about using different herbs for medicinal reasons, and I think that sage does have some compounds in it that are similar to estrogen.

Sage tea is definitely recommended for women who are going through menopause for several reasons. The estrogen compounds are one of the reasons (also a good reason to eat soy products, because they contain natural estrogen as well).

The other reason is sage tea is really effective at stopping people from sweating. So much so, that you aren't supposed to take it when you have a flu, because it could mask how bad the fever has become and stop you from going to the doctor when you need to.

By anon124130 — On Nov 04, 2010

Does sage leaf contain estrogen?

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