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The volatile oil of sage contains the constituents alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, and cineole.24 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).25 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.26
Sage is also approved in Germany for mild gastrointestinal upset and excessive sweating.27 An unpublished, preliminary German study with people suffering from excessive perspiration found that either a dry leaf extract or an infusion of the leaf reduced sweating by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%.28 A report from the United Kingdom indicates that herbalists there employ sage to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.29
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.30 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.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.