Listen to Part 1 in about 5 minutes below.
Listen to Part 2 in about 4 minutes below.
Welcome to Part II of our sage oil safety series. In my Healing, Health, and Wellness blog, we discovered how “The Nightmare Down Chemistry Lane Continues… Using Isolated Compounds to Scare the Droppers Out of Essential Oils Lovers’ Hands!”
We learned that inducing the “toxicity” of sage oil by comparing it to thujone or camphor is not well founded.
Furthermore, even if the studies on toxicity of these compounds were extrapolated to the essential oil (my pet peeve), you’d have to ingest 12-50 drops.
Please don’t do that! (Review the resources for safety here.)
Now let’s look at actual reports on sage, the herb, the oil, our friend.
Sage Oil and It’s Entourage Companions of Constituents
Natural Medicines, a comprehensive review database for practitioners, reports the following composition of the essential oil of sage, the herb:
Constituents: The essential oil of sage is characterized as containing 1-2.5% monoterpenes and 3-7% tannins (72697). Thujone is a trace constituent of the essential oil of Salvia lavandulaefolia (10334). Alpha-thujone makes up 30-65% of the monoterpenes of Salvia officinalis (72697,72582). The main constituents in the essential oil of Salvia lavandulaefolia are camphor (27%), 1,8-cineole (13%), alpha- and beta-pinene (10-15%), and bornyl acetate (10%) with other minor constituents (1% or less), including geraniol, limonene, camphene, linalool, terpineol, gamma-terpinene, alpha-humulene, and beta-caryophyllene (39566,72582). The essential oil of sage has also been shown to contain perillyl alcohol. Analysis of etheric sage oil resulted in the identification of the constituents alpha-pinene, cineole, alpha- and beta-thujone, borneol, and camphor (72719). Essential oil and herb analysis has also been done by other researchers (72720,72713,72721,72722,72723,72724,72725,72726,72727,72728,72729,72578,72691,72602,72581,72730,72731,72732,72733,72707,72734,72735,72736). No additional constituents were available from these studies.
Please note that in the above statement, it is reported that there is 1-2.5% monoterpenes in sage oil. Alpha-thujone is only 30-65% of the monoterpenes of Salvia officinalis at that 1-2.5%. Camphor is less than 30% of the essential oil.
Therefore, those studies with only isolated thujone that I reviewed, are not valid in comparison to the essential oil of sage.
Camphor may be more closely link to the limit of ingestion in the reviews, about 27% of S. lavandulaefolia.
Therefore, don’t ingest 40-100 drops of it! (Read my calculations and why this is the case in Part I.)
Human Clinical Trial Outcomes with the Essential Oil… That Didn’t Overdose its Subjects
A 2014 report in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine states the safety of sage:
As far as we know, there are no reports of the negative side effects associated with S. lavandulaefolia or S. officinalis despite their usage for many centuries. The normal usage of sage is very safe; however, there might be an adverse effect on using S. officinalis in excessive amount, which can be caused by the high content of thujone. A study has shown that S. lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage), compared to S. officinalis (common sage), has similar compositions without the thujone content, which makes it more suitable for those concerned about the excessive usage of sage as a treatment.
In the studies on memory reviewed that used ingestion, sage essential oil tended to be very safe with little concern for any negative effect. (source) In a pilot study of healthy volunteers that reviewed the pharmacological activity and tolerability of sage oil, the authors reported that it produced a reduction in neuropsychiatric symptoms and an improvement in attention. Only two people experienced an increase in blood pressure, who were pre-hypertensive to begin with. The dose coincided with .05ml three times a day. (source) (.05ml is about 1 drop depending on thickness of an essential oil.)
Review my safety resources guide here, and do not ingest more than 1-2 drops of the essential oils at a time.
To be cautious, I do not suggest that those prone to seizures or with high blood pressure use an alternate to sage oil. This is because everyone has different variances in biotransformation enzymes. Some may be more sensitive to is effect; however, I have never seen this in my clinical experience.
Stay tuned for the hormonal review of sage oil! It may appear published on another site…no worries, I’ll keep you posted.
Many blessings from my heart to yours!
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
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