Sage advice: Study reveals sage extract helps with hot flashes during menopause
03/17/2020 // Evangelyn Rodriguez // Views

Salvia officinalis, also known as common sage, is a well-known culinary herb with medicinal properties. Besides its anti-microbial activities, the common sage is also known for its ability to manage menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and excessive sweating. However, not much is known about the mechanism behind its favorable effects.

In a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers from Germany and Switzerland explored the mode of action of the common sage in the brain, with particular focus on neurologic impulse transmission. Their objective was to shed light on how this multi-purpose herb can reduce common symptoms of menopause.

How sage helps menopausal women

To understand how the common sage can ease menopause symptoms, the researchers first obtained a hydroalcoholic extract from freshly harvested sage leaves and ensured that it was thujone-free. Thujone is a plant compound that's known for its toxicity. The researchers then subjected the sage extract to an acetylcholinesterase enzyme assay, as well as several receptor binding assays.

The researchers found that the extract replaced 50 percent of the specific ligand binding to y-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) and GABAB receptors at an inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 89 and 229?micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL), respectively. GABAA and GABAB receptors both respond to their ligand GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS).

The researchers also observed that the sage extract has a strong binding affinity to the adrenergic a2A receptor, u-opioid receptors, muscarinic M3 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. Additionally, they noted moderate interference with 5-HT2B, 5-HT2C receptors and the human serotonin transporter. Compared with extracts from dried sage or stipes, the extract from freshly harvested sage exhibited a higher activity and lower IC50 values.


The a2A receptor is important for regulating oxygen consumption of the heart muscle, blood flow through the arteries and CNS neurotransmitters. The u-opioid receptors, meanwhile, mediate pain-relieving effects. Muscarinic M3 receptors are expressed in brain regions involved in regulating glucose homeostasis, while serotonin receptors are linked to the control of physiological functions, such as the sleep-wake cycle, thermoregulation, food intake and sexual behavior.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that the sage extract works by modulating neuro-receptors and serotonin transporters to normalize thermoregulation and mental impairment during menopause.

Other health benefits of sage

Sage is an aromatic herb with an earthy flavor that's commonly used in the culinary world. It belongs to the mint family, together with other well-known herbs, such as basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Besides being a natural cleaning agent, sage can also serve as a natural pesticide and anti-microbial. Today, sage can be bought as a fresh or dried herb, or as an essential oil.

Sage is associated with a variety of health benefits, thanks to its abundance in important nutrients and medicinal compounds. Here are some of its most notable benefits: (h/t to

  • Sage is packed with essential nutrients, such as vitamins B6 and K, and minerals like iron, calcium and manganese.
  • Sage is loaded with antioxidants, which can help protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
  • Sage promotes oral health by neutralizing microbes responsible for dental plaque formation.
  • Sage is said to assist in lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Sage can support memory and brain health due to its antioxidant properties.
  • Sage helps lower bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Sage extracts can help suppress the growth of several cancers.
  • Sage contains compounds that can help relax the gut and treat diarrhea.
  • Sage can support bone health by providing vitamin K.
  • Sage is rich in compounds that can fight the signs of aging.

The common sage is an incredible herb with health-promoting properties. Not only can it help relieve menopausal symptoms, it can also support bone, brain and oral health. Learn more about the other uses of this versatile plant at

Sources include: 1 2

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