tamoxifen and sage tablets


does anyone know of any advice that says it is whether or not it is ok to take sage tablets while on tamoxifen. I have been taking sage tablets for a couple of months to try to decrease hot flushes caused by chemo. I started tamoxifen this week and was advised by the woman in my local health food shop that I shouldn’t take sage while on tamoxifen. I haven’t had this comment from anyone else and I thought sage (unlike phyto-oestrogens such as black cohosh and soy isoflavones) was safe to take while on tamoxifen.

Anyone else had any advice?


Hi - have not started tamoxifen yet but when initially discussing with onc asked if I could use it as my sister-in-law swears by it, but was told it was not suitable. Marli

Hello Helen
If you’re on tamoxifen then your bc must be oestrogen receptive.

For people with oestrogen receptive bc, many doctors will advise against taking phyto oestrogens at all - although my Onc says that in fact the medical profession ‘does not know’ whether phyto oestrogens behave like animal oestrogens.

I understand that Sage is a mild phyto oestrogen so to be completely safe it’s probably better not to take it. Hot flushes are horrible - I have loads - and I wish there was something one could take to relieve them which is definitely safe.
Good luck
Anthi x

Do you have an approachable oncologist? I’d suggest asking her/him. My breast cancer is very oestrogen dependent and my (very experienced) oncologist actually recommended sage tablets. However, every case of breast cancer is different, so that’s why asking your oncologist might be best.

I think acupuncture made the most difference to my hot flushes and a chillow pillow which keeps me cool at night also made a big difference.

I completely agree with what Anthi has said. I even got to the point of buying some from a Napiers Herbalist shop but because of the uncertainty of whether it was helpful to a 100% ER+ driven cancer, I decided not to take them. My advice would be if in doubt, leave out.

I hope you find something that is helpful.

Best of luck.


Thanks for the advice.

My hot flushes had diminished over the past two weeks (I’ve been using sage tablets, starflower oil, chillow pillow, minerals and acupuncture and either one or all or none of them has worked and it’s just my body recovering from chemo). I started tamoxifen a week ago and the flushes are now back with a vengeance and I am demoralised all over again. Not prepared to stick this for the next five years - rather take my chances with a highly ER/PR sensitive breast cancer than live like this.

I will try to talk to the onc although I don’t see him for another two months or so. It does appear that no-one really knows anything which is so frustrating.



Yes, it is frustrating. I have always taken Evening Primrose Oil which helps and which, I understand, doesn’t contain phyto-oestrogens. I have another thread about whether ladies with secondaries or recurrences took supplements - “Did anyone with recurrence or secondaries take supplements?” - where we have been discussing how we receive no advice on dietary matters and that research thin on the ground and that the results of what has been done are contradictory.

Ann x

Hi Ann

I’ve had dietary advice, but it comes from the hospital dietician and is solely based on scientific evidence - and we know how little scientifically proven evidence there is for the causes or risks of breast cancer. And it says little more than eat five a day, minimise saturated fats, eat lots of wholefoods etc - the usual stuff. And keep soya products to a minimum, and don’t give up dairy products, but make sure they are low fat. Nothing I wasn’t doing anyway!

I spoke to the pharmacist in Boots who said the sage tablets are now a licensed product (not quite sure of the difference, but there must be some reason) for use in menopausal women for flushes. The pharmacist said sage is not a phyto-oestrogen like black cohosh etc. and that the manufacturers say there is no contra-indication between sage and tamoxifen. It’s a reputable manufacturer so I hope this is true. I’m going to continue using them till my oncologist says otherwise, anyway.