Sage Leaf Extract

Sage is the largest member of the Lamiacea or mint family. Sage is an aromatic and perennial plant, with flowers in different colors. The plant is hairy and has a strong, camphoric aroma.1

Sage is the largest member of the Lamiacea or mint family. Sage is an aromatic and perennial plant, with flowers in different colors. The plant is hairy and has a strong, camphoric aroma.1

Many species of Salvia are native to the Middle East and Mediterranean areas, but currently, it is grown throughout the world, particularly in Europe and North America.2,3

Sage has traditionally been used in cooking and traditional medicine. Because of its flavoring and seasoning properties, it is widely used in food preparation.2,3

Chemical compounds like flavonoids, terpenoids, and essential oils are present in different species of Salvia. The essential oil present in Sage has varied compositions depending on the genetic, climatic, seasonal, and environmental factors.1,4

Medicinal properties of Sage include anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antidementia, hypoglycemic, and hypolipidemic activities.5

Sage essential oils have been shown to have carminative, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and astringent properties. Salvia officinalis or common sage has the highest amount of essential oil compared to the other species of Salvia.6,7

Antiviral Activity

Sage, due to its antioxidant constituents, has a long history of treating different infections. In a clinical study with 145 subjects, a cream combining aqueous extracts of sage leaf with rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) root was as effective as acyclovir cream in treating herpes Herpes labialis, commonly known as cold sores. The time to complete healing was 6.7 days with the Sage cream, compared to 6.5 days for acyclovir.8

Inflammation plays a key role in the development of many diseases and could cause damage by means of oxidative stress. Antioxidants play a very important role in protecting the body against oxidative stress and free radical-induced damages.9

Sage acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. The antioxidant properties of sage are found to be related to the presence of rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid. In addition, salvianolic acid, which is a rosmarinic acid dimer isolated from the sage extract, also has a high antioxidant activity and is a very significant scavenger of free radicals.9

Osakabe et al. showed that topical application of rosmarinic acid inhibits epidermal inflammation. Manool, carnosol, and ursolic acid possess anti-inflammatory potential. The anti-inflammatory action of ursolic acid is twofold more potent than that of indomethacin.5,10

A study investigating the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of Sage (S. Officinalis) found the herb to have beneficial effects on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation and oxidative stress in rats.9

In a clinical study by Reuter et al., the anti-inflammatory potency of sage extract was tested using the ultraviolet (UV) erythema test. The study found that compared to placebo, sage extract significantly reduced the ultraviolet-induced erythema to a similar extent as hydrocortisone.11

Ursolic and rosmarinic acids in Sage have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory activity. In vivo, extracts from sage leaf dose-dependently inhibited croton oil-induced ear swelling in mice. This effect is related to the ursolic acid content, which in this test had the potency twice as high as that of indomethacin. Oleanolic acid also exhibited anti-inflammatory activity, but it was less active.12

Apart from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, Sage also possesses bactericidal and fungicidal properties.12

The analgesic effects of sage extracts were studied in rats using the hot-plate test and the formalin-induced paw licking method. The analgesic effects of sage extract were compared to morphine. Sage extracts caused an analgesic effect in the hot-plate latency assay and early and late phases of formalin-induced paw licking in rats. Additionally, the analgesic effects were found to be reduced by the opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone.13

While there are many medicinal products for getting rid of cold sores, only some hasten the healing process. Typically, antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, are used to manage cold sores; however, because of emerging resistance to acyclovir and other antiviral agents, novel treatment approaches are the need of the hour.4

Compounds present in honey, such as flavonoids, have demonstrable antiviral activity, of which Manuka Honey is seen as a potential natural product that is effective in cold sores. The antiviral properties of Manuka honey have been demonstrated in preclinical studies, with efficacy against viruses such as influenza, varicella-zoster, and rubella viruses. The safety and efficacy of honey in herpes infection is also proved in a few small clinical trials. A study conducted on 16 adult patients with a history of recurrent herpetic lesions showed that the pain and duration of attacks, the occurrence of crusting, and the healing period with topical administration of honey were much better than with acyclovir treatment.5-8

Several in vitro studies suggest that sage compounds may help fight signs of aging, such as wrinkles. The antiaging potential of the extract was investigated by assessing the inhibitory effect of various enzymatic estimations, i.e., Col-I, Ela-I, and Hya-I inhibitory assays on early aging human skin fibroblasts. Sage extract inhibited 50% of the activity of aging-related enzymes; which suggested that sage could be used for further development of cosmetic products and nutraceuticals.14

  1. Hamidpour M, Hamidpour R, Hamidpour S, et al. Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Property of Sage (Salvia) to Prevent and Cure Illnesses such as Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Dementia, Lupus, Autism, Heart Disease, and Cancer. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014;4(2):82-88.
  2. Ayatollahi A, Shojaii A, Kobarfard F, et al. Two flavones from Salvia leriaefolia. Iran J Pharm Res.2009;8:179–84. 
  3. Smidling D, Mitic-Culafic D, Vukovic-Gacic B, et al. Evaluation of antiviral activity of fractionated extracts of Sage Salvia officinalisL (Lamiaceae) Arch Biol Sci Belgrade. 2008;60:421–9. 
  4. Hadri A, Gomez Del Rio M, Sanz J, et al. Cytotoxic activity of α-humulene and transcaryo-phyllene from Salvia officinalis in animal and human tumor cells. An R Acad Nac Farm. 2010;76:343–56.
  5. Ghorbani A, Esmaeilizadeh M. Pharmacological properties of Salvia officinalisand its components. J Tradit Complement Med. 2017;7(4):433-440.
  6. Loizzo MR, Tundis R, Menichini F, et al. Cytotoxic activity of essential oils from Labiatae and Lauraceae families against in vitro human tumor models. Anticancer Res. 2007;27:3293–9.
  7. Radulescu V, Chiliment S, Oprea E. Capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of volatile and semi-volatile compounds of Salvia officinalis. J Chromatogr. 2004;1027:121–6.
  8. Saller R, Büechi S, Meyrat R, et al. Combined herbal preparation for topical treatment of Herpes labialis. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2001;8(6):373-382.
  9. Kolac UK, Ustuner MC, Tekin N, et al. The Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects of Salvia officinalis on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Inflammation in Rats. J Med Food. 2017;20(12):1193-1200.
  10. Osakabe N, Yasuda A, Natsume M, Yoshikawa T. Rosmarinic acid inhibits epidermal inflammatory responses: anticarcinogenic effect of Perilla frutescens extract in the murine two-stage skin model. Carcinogenesis. 2004;25(4):549-557.
  11. Reuter J, Jocher A, Hornstein S, et al. Sage extract rich in phenolic diterpenes inhibits ultraviolet-induced erythema in vivo. Planta Med. 2007;73(11):1190-1.
  12. Dawid-Pać R. Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2013;30(3):170-177.
  13. Qnais EY, Abu-Dieyeh M, Abdulla FA, et al. The antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Salvia officinalis leaf aqueous and butanol extracts. Pharm Biol. 2010;48(10):1149-1156.
  14. Khare R, Upmanyu N, Jha M. Exploring the potential effect of Methanolic extract of Salvia officinalis against UV exposed skin aging: In vivo and In vitro model. Curr Aging Sci. 2019;10.2174/1874609812666190808140549.

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