Sage Allergy Test
Latin name: Salvia officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae (former Labiatae)
Common names: Sage, Garden Sage, Salvia
Sage is a herb which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
NB: Not to be confused with Salvia divinorum, a related, hallucinogenic plant used by several indigineous Central American groups in religious ceremonies.
Sage Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Sage is native to the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Balkans and Turkey. It has been used by humans both as a medicine and flavouring for thousands of years. Sage is a woody, perennial shrub growing to around 60cm tall, with blue, white or lilac flowers. The leaves are oval and grey-green in colour, and are extremely fragrant and aromatic, described as being similar to rosemary.
It has a variety of culinary uses, lending its distinctive flavour to a wide range of foods including salads, stews, meats (especially sausages), stuffings, vegetables, vinegar and tea.
Sage is also used extensively in cosmetics, perfumes, soaps and shampoos.
Throughout history, sage has played an important role in traditional medicine, valued for its healing properties and used as a diuretic, a local anesthetic for the skin, a styptic, and for other uses.
It has also been used at various times throughout history for hair care, relief from insect bites and wasp stings, nervous and mental conditions, used in oral preparations for inflammation of the mouth, tongue and throat, and also used to reduce fevers.
Sage Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in sage have been characterised to date.
Sage Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity between the different individual species of the family could be expected and has been suggested by clinical studies, including between sage and hyssop, basil, marjoram, mint, oregano and thyme. Tests were negative with basil and lavender.
One study concluded that “plants belonging to the Labiatae family seem to show cross-sensitivity on the basis of clinical history”.
Additionally in the latex-fruit syndrome, associations with several fruits and vegetables, including pineapple, fig, passion fruit, mango, tomato, bell pepper, carrot, oregano, dill, and sage have been reported.
Sage Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Anecdotal evidence suggests that sage may induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals; however, few studies have been reported to date. It is possible that the allergy occurs more frequently than has been reported.
Skin contact with sage may result in contact dermatitis.
In a study examining ventilatory capacity and immunological reactions in 54 female workers employed in processing dried fruits and teas, there was a higher prevalence of all chronic respiratory symptoms in exposed workers.
The exposed workers with positive skin IgE had a significantly higher prevalence of dyspnoea and rhinitis than those with no skin-specific IgE.
A significantly larger number of exposed workers compared to controls demonstrated skin-specific IgE to at least one of the occupational allergens, but only the prevalence of positive skin-specific IgE to sage (60%) was significantly higher than in control workers (20%).
Workers occupationally exposed to dust from herbs, including sage, have been shown to have a higher frequency of positive skin reactions to microbial antigens when compared to a control group.