Sage is not recommended for breast cancer

Sage refers to the leaves of the plant Salvia officinalis, a member of the mint family. Sage has been found to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, astringent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, hypoglycemic, antiatherogenic and antimutagenic properties. Sage contains numerous biologically active compounds, including caffeic acid, camphor, carnosol, carnosic acid, cineol, epirosmanol, galdosol, genistein, isorosmanol, limonene, luteolin, rosmanol, rosmarinic acid, thujone, and ursolic acid. Sage has been found to have anti-diabetic effects, reducing levels of serum glucose, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, and increasing plasma insulin in diabetic rats but not in normal rats. Sage has been shown to improve memory retention in both Alzheimer's patients and college-age subjects, however long-term heavy use can cause seizures or other neurological symptoms due to sage's thujone content.

Cancer-related effects of consuming sage

Carnosol and carnosic acid, both found in sage, have been shown to arrest human colon cancer cell development at different phases of the cell cycle. Carnosol also has been shown to inhibit carcinogenesis of human prostate cancer cells. Beta-ursolic acid, another sage compound, has been shown to inhibit lung colonization of mouse melanoma cells.

Sage has been and is used in several folk medicine traditions for its hormonal effects. Sage is recommended by some health practitioners to relieve milk oversupply and breast engorgement during weaning and it is believed to reduce milk supply by acting directly on hormone receptors. Similarly, sage is recommended for menopausal problems, especially hot flashes and night sweats. Sage is thought to stimulate the uterus, and is sometimes used during childbirth and to expel the placenta. Therefore, sage should be avoided by women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing. Sage's reputed ability to suppress lactation has not been thoroughly investigated (this action is not normally associated with phytoestrogens). Until this anti-lactation effect has been explained (and it could mean that sage acts against breast cancer) we recommend avoiding all but modest amounts of sage and would advise against regular consumption of sage tea.

Additional comments

Red sage (Salvia officinalis var. rubia) refers to the leaves of a variety of common sage and has essentially the same properties as sage. Red sage root (also known as salvia root or dan shen) refers to the root and rhizome of Salvia miltiorrhiza, another plant in the Labiatae family. It is used as in Chinese medicine to treat irregular menstruation, cardiovascular problems, and inflammation, and as a tranquilizer, among other uses.

Sage essential oil (sage oil) is used as a food preservative (for example in liver pÔtÚs), however it is greatly diluted during food processing. Sage essential oil is too concentrated to be safely swallowed undiluted and can be considered a poison. Sage should be avoided by those who suffer from epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Drinking sage tea could potentially increase liver damage from some prescription medications and should be avoided by those with liver disease. Sage-drug interactions may occur when taken with drugs designed to treat conditions on which sage appears to act, some psychotropic drugs and painkillers, and other drugs (e.g., oxytocin, nalbuphine, bromocriptine mesylate, ethionamide). Clearly, caution is advised when combining significant amounts of sage or regular sage tea drinking with prescription medications. Sage should be avoided during chemotherapy.

Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on sage.

Tags: D-limonene, flavone, genistein, inflammation, luteolin, milk, phytoestrogens, pregnancy, sage

Selected breast cancer studies

Antitumor activity of the dietary diterpene carnosol against a panel of human cancer cell lines Characterization of in vitro and in vivo metabolites of carnosic acid, a natural antioxidant, by high performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry Luteolin sensitises drug-resistant human breast cancer cells to tamoxifen via the inhibition of cyclin E2 expression Chemical composition and anticancer activity of essential oils of Mediterranean sage (Salvia officinalis L.) grown in different environmental conditions Evaluation of antioxidant activity, total phenols and phenolic compounds in thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), sage (Salvia officinalis L.), and marjoram (Origanum majorana L.) extracts Luteolin exerts anti-tumor activity through the suppression of epidermal growth factor receptor-mediated pathway in MDA-MB-231 ER-negative breast cancer cells Carnosic acid inhibits the growth of ER-negative human breast cancer cells and synergizes with curcumin Inhibitory effect of luteolin on estrogen biosynthesis in human ovarian granulosa cells by suppression of aromatase (CYP19) Comparative study of rosmarinic acid content in some plants of Labiatae family Ethnopharmacological profile of traditional plants used in Morocco by cancer patients as herbal therapeutics The flavonoid luteolin induces apoptotic cell death through AIF nuclear translocation mediated by activation of ERK and p38 in human breast cancer cell lines β-Caryophyllene oxide inhibits growth and induces apoptosis through the suppression of PI3K/AKT/mTOR/S6K1 pathways and ROS-mediated MAPKs activation Induction of apoptotic cell death by ursolic acid through mitochondrial death pathway and extrinsic death receptor pathway in MDA-MB-231 cells Identification and quantification of a major anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory phenolic compound found in basil, lemon thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme Carotenoid Content of Commonly Consumed Herbs and Assessment of Their Bioaccessibility Using an In Vitro Digestion Model Antimutagenic effect of sage tea in the wing spot test of Drosophila melanogaster Determination of the Antioxidant Capacity of Culinary Herbs Subjected to Various Cooking and Storage Processes Using the ABTS*+ Radical Cation Assay Drinking of Salvia officinalis tea increases CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in mice

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