The name Salvia derives from the Latin salvere , meaning to cure . Traditionally, sage and its oil have been used to treat a wide range of illnesses. Ethanolic tinctures and decoctions have been used to treat inflammation of the oral cavity and GI tract; sage has been used as a tonic and antispasmodic.
The plant has been used topically as an antiseptic and astringent and to manage excessive sweating. Sage tea has been ingested for the treatment of dysmenorrhea, diarrhea, gastritis, tonsillitis, and sore throat. The dried leaves have been smoked to treat asthma.
Dried sage leaf is used as a culinary spice and as a source of sage oil, which is obtained by steam distillation. Sage oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and perfumes. Sage is used as a food flavoring, and its aroma is said to suppress the odor of fish. Sage oleoresin is also used in the culinary industry. 2 , 4 , 5
Officinalis contains 1% to 2.8% essential oil, along with flavones, phenolic acids, phenylpropanoid glycosides (eg, martynoside), triterpenoids, and diterpenes and many other substaces. 4, 6, 7 , 8 , 9
Uses and Pharmacology
Improved memory retention has been demonstrated in animal studies, 20 as well as in clinical studies. In 1 study, mood and cognitive performance were improved in young healthy volunteers. An anxiolytic effect was also observed. 21 In another study, ethanolic leaf extract increased memory and attention in older healthy volunteers (mean, 72.95 years of age). 22
Limited studies have evaluated the efficacy of sage extracts in Alzheimer disease. 17 , 23 , 24 While the results are promising, some methodological issues remain, and larger, long-term trials are needed before a definitive role for sage in the management of Alzheimer disease can be seen. 17
Proinflammatory cytokines were suppressed in in vitro experiments with human leukocytes 30 . No histological changes were apparent. 31 The chloroform extracts, in particular ursolic acid, of S. officinalis leaves showed strong anti-inflammatory properties after topical application. The anti-inflammatory effect of ursolic acid was 2-fold more potent than that of indomethacin. 26 , 32
In vitro antimicrobial activity has been demonstrated by both the aqueous extracts of sage leaves and the essential oil. A wide antibacterial spectrum has been suggested, while activity against fungi is uncertain. 11 , 33 ,34 , 35 Interest centers on activity against vancomycin-resistant enterococci, 36 herpes simplex and corona viruses, 10 , 37 and HIV. 38 , 39
Aqueous extracts of sage, sage tea, and volatile and phenolic sage compounds have been used in experiments demonstrating the antioxidant potential of sage and other related species. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay has been used in assay and in vitro experiments. In vivo markers, such as glutathione levels, have been used in rats. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation and increasing food oil stability have been demonstrated. 11 , 28 , 30 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 ,46
Salvia Officinalis is found in Neurovert, a neuro-tonic neuro-motor stimulent product for the brain.
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- Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. The psychopharmacology of European herbs with cognition-enhancing properties. Curr Pharm Des . 2006;12(35):4613-4623.
- Eidi M, Eidi A, Bahar M. Effects of Salvia officinalis L. (sage) leaves on memory retention and its interaction with the cholinergic system in rats. Nutrition . 2006;22(3):321-326.
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- Imanshahidi M, Hosseinzadeh H. The pharmacological effects of Salvia species on the central nervous system. Phytother Res . 2006;20(6):427-437.
- Poeckel D, Greiner C, Verhoff M, et al. Carnosic acid and carnosol potently inhibit human 5-lipoxygenase and suppress pro-inflammatory responses of stimulated human polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Biochem Pharmacol . 2008;76(1):91-97.
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- Lima CF, Carvalho F, Fernandes E, et al. Evaluation of toxic/protective effects of the essential oil of Salvia officinalis on freshly isolated rat hepatocytes. Toxicol In Vitro . 2004;18(4):457-465.
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