Salvia Officinalis

Salvia Officinalis

PEP Topic 
Hot Flashes

This plant is commonly known as kitchen or common sage, and its extract can be used in tablet form as an herbal remedy. Though the mechanism of action of the extract is still unknown, the primary biologically active agent of sage is thought to be the plant's essential oil. The extract reportedly has anti-inflammatory, antihydrotic, antibiotic, hypoglycemic, estrogenic, astringent, and antispasmodic properties.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Vandecasteele, K., Ost, P., Oosterlinck, W., Fonteyne, V., Neve, W. D., & Meerleer, G. D. (2012). Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of salvia officinalis in controlling hot flashes in prostate cancer patients treated with androgen deprivation. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 26(2), 208-213.


Study Purpose:

The study measured the efficacy and side effects of treatment with salvia officinalis for hot flashes in men with prostate cancer treated with androgen deprivation.

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

Salvia officinalis extract was provided in 150 mg tablets to be taken 3 times daily.  Thujone was confirmed to be absent from the product.  Patients were to complete a hot flash diary daily.  Patients were seen in clinic every 1-2 weeks for 10 weeks at which time they turned in diaries, received a new supply of the salvia tablets, and had a clinical examination and bloodwork.

Sample Characteristics:

Nine men, with a mean age of 68 years (range 62-73), were enrolled. All had prostate cancer, were receiving androgen deprivation therapy, and were experiencing hot flashes. Patients were excluded if they were unlikely to comply with the protocol or had an uncooperative attitude



  • SITE:  Single site 
  • SETTING TYPE: Outpatient 
  • LOCATION:  Belgium

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

PHASE OF CARE: Transition phase after active treatment

Study Design:

 This was a quasiexperimental feasibility study.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

Participants and researchers used the following instruments and measures:
  • Hot flash diary
  • Moyad hot flash scale (rates as mild, mod or severe according to experience) calculated as total score
  • Hot-flash related daily interference scale (HFRDIS)
  • Hormone levels


Salvia use reduced hot flashes from a pretreatment mean Moyad score of 112 to a posttreatment mean of 54 (p = .002).  There was a decrease in LH and FSH levels.  There were no significant effects on testosterone, blood pressure, or cholesterol levels.  Hot flash reduction appeared within the first 3 weeks.  After this time, Moyad scores were essentially stable.  Sub-group analysis of  8 patients who had at least grade 2 hot flashes at baseline showed a substantial variability of responses.  One patient developed a skin rash that may have been associated with the use of salvia


 Salvia officinalis was associated with reduction in hot flash scores and minimal side effects in this small pilot study.


Study limitations include the following:
  • Small sample (< 30)
  • Risk of bias (no control group) 
  • Risk of bias (no blinding)  
  • Risk of bias (no random assignment)
  • Measurement validity/reliability questionable*
  • Subject withdrawals ≥ 10%  
  • Use of total Moyad hot flash scores per week has not been tested for validity or reliability.    

Nursing Implications:

This study provides little information to support use of salvia officinalis for hot flashes in these patients.  The sample size is too small and study design insufficient to examine potential efficacy and the actual side effect profile of this intervention.  Larger, well-designed clinical trials are needed.