Family • Lamiaceae - Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex R. & S. - SCARLET SAGE - Xiang ya hong

Scientific names

Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex R. & S.
Salvia brasiliensis Spreng.
Salvia issanchou auct.
Fenixanthes splendens ( Sellow ex R. & S.) Raf.
Jungia spendens (Sellow ex R. & S.) Sojak

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Pao zi hua.

Common names

Salvia (Engl.)
Crimson sage (Engl.)
Red salvia (Engl.)
Scarlet sage (Engl.)
Scarlet salvia (Engl.)
St. John’s fire (Engl.)
Vista red (Engl.)

Gen info
Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with about 900 species of shrubs, perennials and annuals.


Salvia splendens is a small tender herbaceous perennial shrub, growing to a height of 90 centimeters. Leaves are ovate, acuminate and light green with toothed margins. Flowers are glabrous, bilabiate and bright red.


– Recently introduced to the Philippines.
– Grows well in Baguio City and other elevated regions.
– Popular ornamental bedding or pot plant.
– Native to Brazil.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Diterpenoids from Salvia splendens / Da-Pend Hu et al / Phytochemistry, Vol 46, Issue 4, October 1997, Pages 781-784 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(97)00180-5

(2) Salvia splendens / The Plant List

(3) The antihyperglycemic effect of aerial parts of Salvia splendens (scarlet sage) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic-rats / P Mahesh Kumar, D Sasmal, Papiya Mitra Mazumder / Pharmacognosy Research, 2010, Vol 2, No 3, Pp 190-194

(4) Dimalonated anthocyanins from the flowers of Salviasplendens and S. coccinea / Francisco A. Tomás-Barberán, Jeffrey B. Harborne, Ron Self /,

(5) Synthetic studies of neoclerodane diterpenoids from Salviasplendens and evaluation of opioid receptor affinity / Gianfranco Fontana, Giuseppe Savona / Tetrahedron, Volume 64, Issue 43, 20 October 2008, Pages 10041–10048

(6) Comparative Study of in vitro Antioxidant Activity of the Methanolic Extracts of Salvia splendens and Pterospermum acerifolium / Papiya Mitra Mazunmder et al / Phamacologia 3(9): 444-449, 2012

(7) Polyphenolic profile and biological activity of Salvia splendens leaves / Fatma Abd-elkader Moharram,* Mohamed Soubhi Marzouk, Siham Mustafa El-Shenawy, Ahmed Hamed Gaara andWafaa Mostafa El Kady /
Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Volume 64, Issue 11, pp 1678–1687, November 2012 / DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2012.01544.x

/ SAILESH NARAYAN*, D. SASMAL, PAPIYA MITRA MAZUMDER / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 3, Issue 3, 2011

(9) Clerodane Diterpenoids from Salvia splendens / Gianfranco Fontana, Giuseppe Savona, and Benjamín Rodríguez / J. Nat. Prod., 2006, 69 (12), pp 1734–1738 / DOI: 10.1021/np068036d

(10) Isolation and Chemical Modification of Clerodane Diterpenoids from Salvia Species as Potential Agonists at the k-Opioid Receptor / Yiqiang Li, Stephen M. Husbands, Mary F. Mahon, John R. Traynorc), and Michael G. Rowan* / CHEMISTRY & BIODIVERSITY – Vol. 4 (2007)

• Study of methanol extract of aerial parts yielded three new diterpenes named splenolide A, B and C.
• Contains neo-clerodane diterpenoid compounds – salviarin and splendidin – believed to have psychoactive effects.
• Study identified figments of flowers as pelargonidin 3-caffeoylglucoside-5-dimalonylglucoside and pelargonidin 3-p-coumaroylglucoside-5-dimalonylglucoside.
• Study of leaves yielded 12 phenolic metabolites including three phenolic acids: caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid and methyl rosmarinate; four flavone glycosides viz the new compound luteolin 7-O-(4″,6″-di-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-β-D-glucopyranoside, apigenin 7-O-β-D-rutinoside, cosmosiin and cinaroside, together with four flavones aglycone, luteolin, apigenin, pedalitin and crisiliol in addition to one coumarin, 6,7-dihydroxycoumarin.
• Study of acetone extract of flowers yielded four ne clerodane diterpenoids A-D (1-4), together with an artifact from salvisplendin, together with known clerodane olearin.

• Reports of anxiolytic and psychotropic effects.
• Anti-diabetic, anticoagulant, antimicrobial.

Parts utilized
Bark, leaves.

• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In Indian traditional medicine, used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
• Believed to have psychoactive effects.
• Tincture used by some in combination with Salvia divinorum for meditative effects.

Study Findings
• Splenolides: Study of aerial parts yielded three new diterpenes: splenolide A, B and C.
• Antimicrobial: Study isolated three major compounds – compound 1 showed larger zones of inhibitions against Gram-positives (B pumilus, B subtilis, S aureus), Gram-negatives (P vulgaris, E coli, P aeruginosa) and Candida albicans.
• Anticoagulant / Toxicity Study: Study of aqueous extract showed the drug to be toxic only in higher doses and causes hemorrhages. Results showed it possesses anticoagulant property, increasing the prothrombin time from 10-15 to 35 seconds, an effect that was plant part-dependent.
• Antihyperglycemic: Study showed both aqueous and methanolic extract from the aerial parts produced significant reductions of glycemia in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Results showed antihyperglycemic potential in ameliorating diabetic conditions in rats.
• Salvinorin A / Neoclerodane / Opioid Affinity: Salvinorin A, a neoclerodane diterpene from the hallucinogenic Salvia divinorum, is the only known non-nitrogenous and specific k-opioid agonist. Study yielded structural congeners of salvinorin A together with semisynthetic derivatives. One compound showed modest affinity for k receptors suggesting other natural neoclerodanes from different Salvia species may possess opioid affinity.
• Antioxidant Activity: A methanolic extract of Salvia splendens showed in vivo antioxidant activity with significant decreased in the DPPH radical, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide anion in various concentrations tested. Results were attributed to phytoconstituents terpenoids and anthocyanins.
• Polyphenolic Profile / Leaves / Hypoglycemic and Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated a new flavone triglycoside, together with 11 phenolic metabolites from an 80% aqueous methanol extract of S. splendens leaves. Study yielded 12 phenolic metabolites including three phenolic acids. The extract was non toxic to mice up to 5 g/kbw. Study showed significant hypoglycemic and anti-inflammatory activity, together with markedly significant scavenging activity against DPPH.
• Wound Healing Activity / Ointment Formulation: Study evaluated the in vivo wound healing effect of various strengths of herbal ointment formulated with Salvia splendens in excision and incision wound healing model models on experimental albino mice. SS was embedded in the ointment bases. Results showed wound healing activity better than the standard antibiotic Nitrofurazone.
• Clerodane Diterpenoid / Splendidin / No k-Opioid Receptor Effect:Salvinorin, the clerodane diterpenoid, is considered the main active component of the psychotropic herb Salvia divinorum, reported a potent agonist at the k-opioid receptor. Splendidin from S. splendens, as well as related compounds, was tested for possible similar activities. However, none of the compounds showed any significant binding to any of the opioid-receptor subtypes.

Tinctures in the cybermarket.