Family • Lamiaceae - Salvia officinalis L. - SCARLET SAGE

Scientific names

Salvia officinalis Linn.

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Maramia (Palestine).
TURKEY: Adacayi.

Common names

Common sage
Culinary sage
Garden sage
True sage
Scarlet sage
Meadow sage

Sage is a herbaceous perennial shrub with wiry and squared stems. Leaves are opposite. grayish green, softly hairy or velvety. long stalked with round-toothed margins. Flowers are axillary, in whorls of 4 to 8, tubular, purple, blue or white.


– Recently introduced.
– Cultivated in the Bagiuo area.

– Some important volatile constituents are a-thujone, b-thujone, 1,8-cineole and b-caryophyllene.
– Contains terpene, camphor and salvene.
– Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded flavonoid, saponin, hydrolysable and condensed tannin groups. (See study below)
– Essential oil study yielded main compounds of 1,8-cineole (39.5–50.3%) and camphor (8.8–25.0%). (See study below)


– Anhidrotic.
– Considered tonic, stimulant.
– Oils are antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent and irritant.
– Studies have suggested antimicrobial, antidiabetic, and antioxidant properties

Parts utilized


– Lemony and pleasantly bitter.
– Young leaves eaten fresh in salads.
– Used for omelets, soups and poultry stuffing.
– An enhancing condiment for lamb, fish, duck, goose, artichoke. cheese, beans.

– Because of it antiseptic and astringent properties, used for sore throats, mouth irritations, cuts and bruises.
– Used for snake bites.
– Used for drying up perspiration.
– Some studies claim it lowers blood sugars in diabetics.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Salvia officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial / Akhondzadeh S, Noroozian M, Mohammadi M, Ohadinia S, Jamshidi AH, Khani M. / Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics (2003) 28, 53?59

(2) Efficacy and tolerability of a spray with Salvia officinalis in the treatment of acute pharyngitis – a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with adaptive design and interim analysis. / Eur J Med Res. 2006 Jan 31;11(1):20-6.

(3) Effects of Cholinesterase Inhibiting Sage (Salvia officinalis) on Mood, Anxiety and Performance on a Psychological Stressor Battery / Kennedy DO1, Pace S, Haskell C, Okello EJ, Milne A, Scholey AB./ Neuropsychopharmacology. 2006 Apr;31(4):845-52.

(4) Metformin-like effect of Salvia officinalis (common sage): is it useful in diabetes prevention? / British Journal of Nutrition (2006), 96, 326–333 DOI: 10.1079/BJN20061832

(5) Antibacterial and Phytochemical Study of Iraqi Salvia officinalis Leave Extracts / Lana Y. Muttalib* and Alaadin M. Naqishbandi* / Iraqi J Pharm Sci, Vol.21(1) 2012

(6) Essential Oil of Common Sage (Salvia officinalis L.) from Jordan: Assessment of Safety in Mammalian Cells and Its Antifungal and Anti-Inflammatory Potential / M. S. Abu-Darwish, C. Cabral, I. V. Ferreira, M. J. Gonçalves, C. Cavaleiro, M. T. Cruz, T. H. Al-bdour, and L. Salgueiro / BioMed Research International Volume 2013 (2013) /

(7) Comparative study on the antibaCterial aCtivity of volatiles from sage (Salvia officinaliS l.) / DRAGANA MITIĆ-ĆULAFIĆ, BRANKA VUKOVIĆ-GAÄŒIĆ, JELENA KNEŽEVIĆ-VUKÄŒEVIĆ, S. STANKOVIĆ and DRAGA SIMIC / Arch. Biol. Sci., Belgrade, 57 (3), 173-178, 2005.

(8) Effects of Salvia officinalis in the liver: Relevance of glutathione levels / Cristóvão Fernando Macedo Lima / Tese de Doutoramento—Ciências Biológicas / Nov 2006


(10) Inhibitory and Cytotoxic Activities of Salvia Officinalis L. Extract on Human Lymphoma and Leukemia Cells by Induction of Apoptosis / Fatemeh Zare Shahneh, Samira Valiyari, Behzad Baradaran*, Jalal Abdolalizadeh, Ali Bandehagh, Abbas Azadmehr, Reza Hajiaghaee / Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2013, 3(1), 51-55

(11) Effect of Salvia officinalis on diabetic patients / Saeed Behradmanesh, Fatemeh Derees, Mahmoud Rafieian-kopaei* / J Ren Inj Prev. 2013; 2(2): 51-54.

(12) Antidiarrheal and antispasmodic activities of Salvia officinalis are mediated through activation of K+ channels / Aslam Khan, Najeeb-ur- Rehman, Khalid M. AlKharfy, Anwarul-Hassan Gilani / Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology, Vol 6, No 2 (2011)

(13) Disinfectant properties of essential oils from Salvia officinalis L. cultivated in Tunisia / Mohamed Bouaziz, Thabèt Yangui, Sami Sayadi, Abdelhafidh Dhouib * / Food and Chemical Toxicology 47 (2009) 2755–2760

(14) Cytotoxic activity of α-humulene and transcaryo- phyllene from Salvia officinalis in animal and human tumor cells / Adil el Hadri*, María Ángeles Gómez del Río, Jesús Sanz, Azucena González Coloma, Mohamed Idaomar, Bartolomé Ribas Ozonas, Juana Benedí González, María Isabel Sánchez Reus / An. R. Acad. Nac. Farm., 2010, 76 (3): 343-356

(15) Anti Tumor Activity of Salvia officinalis is Due to Its Anti-Angiogenic, Anti-Migratory and Anti-Proliferative Effects / Maryam Keshavarz, M.Sc, Ali Bidmeshkipour. Ph.D*, Ali Mostafaie, Ph.D., Kamran Mansouri, M.Sc., Hamid-Reza Mohammadi-Motlagh, M.Sc. / CELL JOURNAL(Yakhteh), Vol 12, No 4, Winter 2011

(16) Protective effects of Salvia officinalis extract against cyclophosphamide-induced genotoxicity and oxidative stress in rats / Fulya ÃœSTÃœN ALKAN*, Feraye ESEN GÃœRSEL, Atila ATEÅž, Mustafa ÖZYÃœREK, Kubilay GÜÇLÃœ, Mehmet ALTUN / Turk. J. Vet. Anim. Sci. 2012; 36(6): 646-654 © / doi:10.3906/vet-1105-36

(17) Effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Salvia officinalis L. on the activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase in an oxidative stress model created by intracerebroventricular STZ injection in male rats / Shahram Shahmohamadi, Akbar Hajizadeh moghaddam *, Maryam Khosravi / Physiol Pharmacol. 2013; 17 (2) :176-184

(18) Hepatoprotective and Antioxidant Effects of Salvia officinalis L. hydroalcoholic Extract in Male Rats / Khakpour Shahrzad, Najari Mahya, Tokazabani Belasei Fatemeh, Khosravi Maryam, Farhadi Belasei , Mohammadreza, Mahsa Hadipour Jahromy* / Chinese Medicine, Vol.5 No.2(2014) / DOI:10.4236/cm.2014.52016

(19) Antiulcerogenic potential of Salvia officinalis L. extract in rats / Taís Regina Fiorentin*, Michela Bianchi De Mello, Aline Maria Krube Aquino, Bruna Alexsandra Rigo, Carla Giane Loss, Melissa Schwanz, Arno Ernesto Hofmann Junior, Sandra Manoela Dias Macedo / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science Vol. 3 (08), pp. 032-035, August, 2013 / DOI: 10.7324/JAPS.2013.3806

(20) In-Vitro Antibacterial Properties of Sage (Salvia officinalis) Ethanol Extract against Multidrug Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae / Elham Mosafa,* Sima Yahyaabadi, Monir Doudi / Zahedan J Res Med Sci 2014 Oct; 16(10): 42-46

(21) Salvia officinalis for menopausal hot flushes: Towards determination of mechanism of activity and active principles / S Rahte, R Evans, PJ Eugster, L Marcourt, JL Wolfender, A Kortenkamp, D Tasdemir / Planta Med 2013; 79 – PN108 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1352450

(22) Formulation and Physicochemical Evaluation of Lozenge Tablets Containing Salvia Officinalis / Elmira Bajelan*, Mohammad Kamali-nejad, Seyed Mohsen Foroutan, Hiam Albasha / Journal of Young Pharmacists, 2014; 6(1):34-38 / doi:10.5530/jyp.2014.1.6

(23) Salvia officinalis / Common names / WikipediA

– Cosmetics: infusions used to color the hair silver or gray.
– Used as an astringent after-shave.
– Used in perfumery.
– Decorative: Used for making culinary wreaths.

Study Findings
• Studies have shown sage slows down the release of enzymes that break down the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine; and inhibition of this enzyme can improve mood with maintaining optimal levels of acetylcholine. A study using 300 to 600 mg of sage leaf extract showed some benefit in alertness and calmness. An alternative to the capsules, a decoction of tsp dried sage in 1 cup of water (Do not use if pregnant).
• Alzheimer’s Disease: A study of SO extract in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease showed significant benefits in cognition possibly through cholinesterase inhibition. Mild agitation side effects noted in the placebo group may suggest an additional advantage for use in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
• Antibacterial: Study of Salvia officinalis essential oil and its fractions showed significant antibacterial effect against S aureus and B subtilis.
• Acute Pharyngitis / Spray Formulation: Randomized, double-blind, parallel group phase II/III study of spray (containing S. officinalis fluid extract) vs placebo showed a 15% sage spray to be a safe and convenient treatment for patients with acute pharyngitis, with a relief superior to placebo.
• Cholinesterase Inhibiting Property: Study confirms the cholinesterase inhibiting property of S officinalis and improved mood and cognitive performance following single-dose use in healthy young participants.
• Antioxidant: Tunisian study of oils produced from the aerial parts of SO showed it to possess strong antioxidant properties.
• Liver antioxidant: An in vivo study of a traditional sage water infusion in mice and rats showed bioactivities and improvement in liver antioxidant potential.
• Antimutagenic: Study demonstrated the antimutagenic activity of volatile sage terpenes, suggesting further antimutagenesis and anticarcinogenesis studies.
• Metformin-like effect: Study effects on fasting glucose and its metformin-like effects on rat hepatocytes suggest sage may be a useful food supplement for T2D.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated chloroform and hydroalcoholic extracts of S. officinalis leaves against four strains of gram negative (E. coli, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, and Proteus spp.) and two strains of gram positive bacteria (S. aureus and Bacillus cereus). Chloroform extract was active against Staphylococcus aureus and Proteus spp. Essential oil and its fractions showed significant antibacterial effect against S. aureus and B. subtilis. Study of ethanol extracts of sage showed antibacterial effect on multi-drug resistant bacteria. Results suggest a potential use of herbs as alternative to antibiotics.
• Essential Oil / Antifungal and Anti-Inflammatory: The main compounds of S. officinalis oils were 1,8-cineole (39.5–50.3%) and camphor (8.8–25.0%). The oils exhibited antifungal activity against dermatophyte strains and significantly inhibited NO production stimulated by LPS in macrophages, without affecting cell viability.
• Hepatic Effects: Sage tea drinking did not protect against carbon tetrachloride induced toxicity in mice. Instead, sage tea potentiated the toxicity of CCl4 in mice. Herb-toxicant effect may be, in part, due to significant induction of CYP 2E1 protein by sage tea. However, the dose used in the study was much higher than that usually taken by humans. Nevertheless, it suggests possible herb-drug interactions between sage and drugs metabolized by the liver.
• Antidiabetic Effects: Sage tea was found to lower fasting plasma glucose in mice indicating effects on gluconeogenesis. Sage tea drinking also increased glucose uptake capacity and increased hepatocyte sensitivity to insulin and inhibited gluconeogenesis. Study showed S. officinalis may be beneficial in diabetic patients, with reduction of 2hr PPBS and cholesterol levels. Higher doses might be needed to decrease fasting sugars and glycosylated hemoglobin.
• Diuretic / Leaves: Study evaluated the diuretic effects of a methanol leaf extract in normal rats. Results showed significant increase in urine volume with increase excretion of sodium and a potassium conserving effect. Diuretic effect was comparable to reference drug hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ).
• Cytotoxic / Apoptosis Induction / Human Lymphoma and Leukemia Cells: Study evaluated the in vitro cytotoxic activities of crude methanolic extracts on lymphoma and leukemia cell lines. Results showed dose- and time-dependent inhibition of proliferation of lymphoma and leukemic cells possibly via an apoptosis-dependent pathway.
• Antidiarrheal / Antispasmodic: Crude extract of S. officinalis exhibited antidiarrheal and antispasmodic activities probably mediated through the dominant activation of voltage-dependent K+ channels.
• Disinfectant / Essential Oils: S. officinalis essential oils showed a potent vapour activity against a panel of bacterial, yeast, and fungi. Results suggest a potential for a natural eco-friendly disinfectant to manage airborne microbes.
• Cytotoxic / α-humulene and Transcaryo-phyllene / Animal and Human Tumor Cells: Study showed α-humulene and trans-caryophyllene extracted from S.officinalis essential oil inhibit tumor cell growth.
• Antiangiogenic / Anti-Tumor / Essential Oils: Study evaluated the anti-angiogenic effect of SO extract on chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) neovascularisation model. Results showed dose-dependent inhibitory activity and suggests a promise as anti-angiogenic treatment.
• Antigenotoxicity / Anti-Oxidative Stress: Study investigated the antioxidative possible genotoxic, and antigenotoxic potency of SO extract against cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced oxidative stress and genotoxicity in Wistar albino rats. Results showed a protective against CYP-induced oxidative stress and genotoxicity through its antioxidant property.
• Antioxidant / STZ-induced Stress: Study evaluated the protective effects of SO against oxidative stress induced by intracerebroventricular injection of streptozotocin in male rats. Results showed antioxidant effects could prevent STZ-induced oxidative stress.
• Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study evaluated a hydroalcoholic extract of S. officinalis for antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects in male rats with INH induced necrosis. Results showed anti-oxidative and hepatoprotective effects in rats coadministered with S. officinalis extract and INH.
• Antiulcerogenic: Study evaluated a crude ethanolic extract of S. officinalis in a gastric lesion induction model in male Wistar rats. Results showed potential use of S. officinalis for effective treatment of injuries caused by absolute alcohol.
• Menopausal Hot Flushes / Estrogenic Flavonoids: A recent study showed a SO tincture to reduce hot flushes frequency and intensity. Study investigating possible mechanisms suggest the involvement of ubiquitous estrogenic flavonoids in the in vitro anti-hot flush effect of S. officinalis, and suggests a safe herbal alternative product for menopausal hot flushes.
• Antiprotease and Antimetastatic Activity of Ursolic Acid:Natural products were evaluated in the in vitro antiprotease assay on serine proteases (trypsin, thrombin and urokinase) and on the cysteine protease cathepsin B. Results showed ursolic acid isolated from Salvia officinalis significantly inhibited all tested proteases in vitro in the micromolar range. Ursolic acid showed the strongest inhibition activity to urokinase and cathepsin B as proteases included in tumour invasion and metastasis. suggesting possible anticancer effectivity.
• Safety Profile / Kidney and Liver: Study evaluated an aqueous leaf extract of S. officinalis on kidney and liver of male Sprague Dawley rats. Histopath assessment suggests SO has not deleterious effects on kidney and liver of rats.
• Renoprotective / Gentamicin-Induced Nephrotoxicity: Sage exhibited nephroprotective effect in gentamicin induced renal damage probably through its antioxidant activity.
• Lozenge Tablet Formulation: Study evaluated evaluating a lozenge tablet formulation of S. officinalis clearly indicated that it can be a good alternative for traditional forms of sage. Palatability and taste were found desirable by human subjects.

Capsules, dried leaves in the cybermarket.