Can common sage extract reduce frequency, intensity of “hot flashes”?

So-called “hot flashes” are a common and annoying side effect of androgen deprivation therapy for many men with high-risk and advanced forms of prostate cancer. A new study has suggested that an extract of common, garden sage (Salvia officinalis) may be an effective dietary supplement that can significantly lower frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

In should be made very clear that this study by Vandercasteele et al. was only a single-center pilot study and involved just 10 patients. However, the results are interesting, and since adding sage extract to one’s diet is not particularly costly or problematic for large numbers of people, we considered these results to be potentially important.

Here are the study details:

  • The study enrolled 10 patients, all of whom were experiencing hot flashes.
  • Treatment consisted of 150 mg of sage extract taken orally three times a day.
  • The patients were asked to track their hot flashes, subjective side effects and quality of life using a treatment diary.
  • One patient was excluded from the efficacy analysis due to insufficient diary notes.
  • The patients’ average (mean) weekly hot flash score declined by nearly 50 percent (from 112 ± 71 at baseline to 59 ± 54 at the end of treatment; p = 0.002).
  • Hot flashes diminished significantly from the first week up to and including week 3.
  • The reduction in hot flash score was maintained during the entire treatment period.
  • There was no measurable effect on the patients’ quality of life.
  • There were no evident side effects of treatment.

We should note that the abstract of this paper does not give the precise concentration or formulation of sage extract used in this study. Herbal quality sage extract appears to be available at a cost of about $7.00 or $8.00 per ounce. One ounce is equivalent to about 28 g or 28,000 mg, which would last for about 2 months based on the treatment protocol suggested in this study.

One Response

  1. Mike I think that these studies on controlling hot flashes are great. Even though most “remedies” will not work, what might not work for someone might work quite well for someone else. I think the take-home message should be for those on hormone therapy to not give up searching for what works for them at controlling hot flashes.

    This is true for all complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). Finding something that makes the treatments more tolerable should be an ongoing process.

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