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Sage (S. officinalis L.): Puissant Anti-inflammatory agent


About the plant

Sage is a spice that belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, her scientific name Salvia officinalis L,. In folk medicine.

The leaves are mainly used, but the infusion and alcoholic extract of flowers and stems have also used for several therapeutic areas:

  • The treatment of dyspepsia
  • Pharyngitis, oropharyngeal infection
  • Stomatitis, gingivitis
  • Glossitis, and dysmenorrheal

Salvia officinalis

Furthermore, the sage has other uses, particularly as a spice to prepare food in the Mediterranean kitchen.

  • Main traditional uses of sage

The officinal sage is rich in essential oils that are extracted by distillation, given their important properties.

It is one of the most used plants.


Internal use (to be ingested in drops, herbal teas or tablets)

- Anti-diaphoretic (against perspiration)

- As a condiment thanks to its strong antioxidant effect (in cooking):

This aromatic herb is used in cooking, for its powerful, slightly bitter and camphorated taste.

- Sage infusions are applied for the treatment of several diseases of  blood circulation and digestive disorders and nervous system problems.

- It is also considered as a stimulant for anemic people. also for stressed and depressed people, and counseling for students during exam periods.

External use (in solution) 

- For external use, it is applied as a gargle against inflammations of the mouth, abscesses, and also for cleaning and healing of wounds.

- Antiseptic (antiviral, antibacterial).

- Antiphlogistic (against inflammation) Only leaves are used for external use.

  • Chemical constituent

Salvia Officinalis L. is rich in biologically active constituents which are mainly represented by polyphenolic compounds.

They added that these polyphenolic compounds can be classified as phenolic acids and flavonoids.

Those compounds are characterized by the presence of one or more aromatic rings with one or more groups of hydroxyl.

For this reason, these compounds are classified as phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes, coumarins, and tannins.

- Phenolic acids including carnosic acid and carnosol, rosmarenic acid, rosmarenic acid and methyl rosmarenate, caffeic acid… cinnamic acid, chlorogenic acid, quinic acid and salvianolic acids.

- Flavonoids include ferulic acid, ellagic acid, epicatechin, rutin, apigenin, luteolin and quercetin.

- This was in addition to luteolin-7-glucoside and other phenolic glycosides.

All of these compounds have effective therapeutic properties, and are useful in human health care.

  • Toxicity

As far as we know, there are no reports of negative side effects associated with Salvia Officinalis L.  despite their use for many centuries.

Normal use of sage is very safe; however, there could be a negative effect on the use of S. Officinalis in excessive amounts, which may be caused by the high content of thujone.

The essential oil (EO) of sage can contain up to 50% thujone, which can be depalletizing and neurotoxic.

Nevertheless, no acute or chronic toxicity has been reported after use at the usual doses of sage leaves, and its essential oil (up to 15 drops per day).

However, thujone causes not only a local irritating effect but also central psychomimetic effects after its resorption.

Chronic consumption of thujone can thus lead to irreversible disorders of the central nervous system. To disturbances of liver, kidney, and heart functions.

As long as the amount of the use of drugs, for culinary purposes remains low for consumers.

Acute toxicity, after administration of a high dose of EO (2 g and more).

Thus, regular consumption of sage, even in the form of herbal tea was not recommended.

What is inflammation

The process of acute inflammatory is an important protection mechanism. In front of biological pathogens and other stimuli, chemical or physical danger.

Its principal characters are Redness, swelling, pain, and heat.

The first step in the acute inflammatory in our organism it’s the secretion of numerous.

Pro-inflammatory mediator due to the activation of leukocyte cells.

= Pro-inflammatory mediator is:

TNF-α: Tumor Necrosis Factor-α

IL-6 : InterLeukin-6

NO : Nitric Oxide

PGs : Prostaglandins

The second step is employed when the activation of the leukocyte cells stays uncontrolled.

Then the amount of pro-inflammatory mediators secreted by leukocytes became an aggravating factor.

For the reason that the free activated form of leukocytes releases toxic substances.; proteolytic enzymes, reactive metabolites of oxygen and nitrogen, that can induce tissue damage.

For this purpose, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to treat inflammatory disorders. By inhibiting the release and synthesis of these mediators.

But unfortunately, the extensive use of these synthetic drugs leads to undesirable effects such as gastrointestinal disorders.

Also, platelet aggregation problems, kidney and liver toxicity and other severe problems.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Its effect is, of course, based on an inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis via COX-1 and/or COX-2 inhibition.

NSAIDs are powerful analgesics, anti-inflammatory, and antihyperalgesic.

The time of action is 10 to 15 minutes with a maximum effect of 30 minutes after intravenous administration of ketoprofen for example.

The duration of action varies from 4 to 5 hours.

For this reason, the use of discovering natural substances that have an anti-inflammatory effect.

With fewer side effects and with greater efficiency by scientists are becoming more and more important;

In this context, scientific research in the field of pharmacological interventions with active principles of natural origin.

Especially plant, which has the ability to control inflammation can be a very important therapeutic approach.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs of plant origin


The incorporation and use of medicinal plants in the treatment of several inflammatory reactions.

Particularly rheumatism, are common practice in traditional medicine.

Today it is a remarkable fact that anti-inflammatory substances of plant origin are of growing interest.

Because they offer advantages over traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, such as the absence of side effects.

Many are believed to act by blocking the pathways of the cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenase as well as by other mechanisms.

Anti-inflammatory effect of Sage

  • Effect against pain

The methanolic extract of sage at a concentration of 200 mg/ml; intraperitoneal (IP) administration in rats model.

After being injected by 1ml/kg of 1.2% acetic acid by IP causes a painful symptom provides an 80.80% inhibition percentage of pain symptoms... showing a high inflammatory efficacy.

This is due to the presence of numerous components possessing several activities.

Notable biological components in our extract, these compounds may have the ability to inhibit the release of chemical mediators.

Such as histamine, which is responsible for the onset of the painful symptom.

  • Effect against proteins denaturation

Also, it was still claimed that sage extracts were able to control protein denaturation.

Providing a percentage of protein denaturation inhibition of 92.10% at the dose of 200mg/ml, and therefore it has the ability to inhibit the production of autoantigens.

This is confirmed by the preliminary phytochemical analysis of the extract.

Which revealed the presence of polyphenols, alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, and reducing sugars;

these components have several notable biological properties which may be responsible for the effect of anti-inflammatory of the extract.

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