Complementary/Alternative Medicine: This monograph describes a natural or herbal product that is not subject to FDA guidelines for medicines. Patients and clinicians are advised to read package labels carefully to ensure safe and efficacious use.


Trade Name(s)

  • Salvia officinalis
  • common sage
  • garden sage

Ther. Class.

anti-Alzheimers's agents


Common Uses

  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Herpes labialis.


Sage leaf and volatile oil contain active constituents that have antioxidant, CNS depressant, estrogenic, anti-inflammatory and anticholinesterase activity. It may also have hypoglycemic activity. Sage also contains camphor which can cause neurotoxicity and hepatotoxicity in high doses.

Therapeutic Effect(s):

Improved cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease.


Absorption: Unknown

Distribution: Unknown

Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown

Half-life: Unknown




Contraindicated in:

  • Hypersensitivity;
  • Pregnancy and lactation.

Use Cautiously in:

  • Seizure disorders;
  • Hypertension;
  • Diabetes

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

CV: hypertension

CNS: dizziness, agitation, seizures (high doses)

GI: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, hepatotoxicity (high doses)

Resp: wheezing

* CAPITALS indicate life-threatening.
Underline indicate most frequent.


Natural Drug Interaction

  • Additive effects with  hypoglycemic agents and  CNS depressants.
  • May interfere with the effectiveness of  anticonvulsants..


  • Additive effects with herbs that have hypoglycemic potential such as  fenugreek garlic ginsengand  psyllium. .
  • Additive effects with herbs that have sedative properties such as  5–HTP kava St. John's wort valerian and others.


PO (Adults): Alzheimer's disease– 1 gram/day of extract.

Topical (Adults): Herpes labialis– apply cream with 23 mg/gram of sage extract every 2–4 hours while awake starting within 1 day of the first symptoms and continuing for 10 to 14 days.


Cream : 23 mg/gram sage extract in combination with rhubarb extract


  • Monitor BP periodically during therapy.
  • Alzheimer's disease: Assess memory and cognitive function periodically during therapy.
  • Herpes labialis: Assess lesions prior to and periodically during therapy.

Lab Test Considerations:

Monitor: blood glucose periodically during therapy.

Potential Diagnoses


  • PO Administer as directed.
  • Topical Apply to lesions every 2–4 hrs while awake.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient how to take or administer sage.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and to consult with health care professional before taking other medications.
  • Advice female patient to avoid taking more than is in normal food intake. Notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breastfeeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Improved cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Healing of lesions in herpes labialis.
sage is a sample topic from the Davis's Drug Guide.

To view other topics, please or .

Anesthesia Central is an all-in-one web and mobile solution for treating patients before, during, and after surgery. This collection of drugs, procedures, and test information is derived from Davis’s Drug, MGH Clinical Anesthesia Procedures, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and PRIME Journals. .