Toxicity of Salvia officinalis in a newborn and a child: an alarming report

Pediatr Neurol. 2011 Oct;45(4):259-60. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2011.05.012.


Although it is widely believed that herbal products are beneficial to the health, some herbal products can result in serious adverse effects, such as epileptic seizures, especially in children who are particularly susceptible. Sage oil contains well-known convulsant substances such as thujone, camphor, and cineole in different proportions. We report 2 cases, those of a newborn and a toddler, who experienced generalized tonic-clonic seizures after accidental exposure to sage oil. No other causes of seizure were detected by our clinical inquiries in either of the patients. The seizures occurred as an isolated event in the toddler, but in a repeated manner in the newborn; both patients experienced good outcomes. In any case of a first seizure of unexplained origin, the possibility of exposure to a herbal product should be kept in mind. Parents should be informed about the pros and cons of these untested remedies, which are presented as an alternative to conventional medicine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Oils, Volatile / poisoning*
  • Salvia officinalis / poisoning*
  • Seizures / chemically induced*


  • Oils, Volatile