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Salvia phytomedicines: from the „salvãre„ properties to demonstration of some pharmacological effects
Sage enjoys the reputation of being a panacea, the Salvia name being a clear reference to its important curative properties as it comes from the Latin salvãre, meaning „to save“ or „to heal“. We have studied the phytochemical, bioactivity and biotechnological aspects of S. officinalis L.. Using GC, GC-MS and HPLC-DAD, we have analysed, their essential oils, phenolic extracts, lipid extracts and organic constituents from the sage infusions. The essential oils, composed of more than sixty constituents, showed moderate antimicrobial activity against Saccharomyces cerevisae, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori, with cis-thujone alone showing high activity against the former three. The sage infusion, whose main organic constituents were identified as components of the sage essential oils, together with phenolics, was shown to improve the liver antioxidant status, as determined by the quantitative analysis of the plasma transaminase, glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and glutathione redutase (GR) activities. However, in a situation of hepatotoxicity caused by CCl4, the drinking of sage infusion increased the CCl4-induced liver injury in mice. Either the water and methanolic extracts of sage or their main phenolic constituents protected the human hepatoma cell line (HepG2) from oxidative damage induced by ter-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP). The ursolic acid, constituent of sage lipid extracts, prevented the DNA damage and had antiproliferative properties, as shown by the comet assay, suggesting an anticarcinogenic potential. On the other hand the sage infusion effects resembled those of the pharmaceutical drug metformin, a known inhibitor of gluconeogenesis, suggesting an anti- type 2 diabetes mellitus effect.
Acknowledgements: CFL AAR e PSB are supported by the FCT grants SFRH/BD/6942/2001, and SFRH/BPD/26316/2006 (CFL), UMINHO/POCI-62040/BI/1/06 (AAR), and SFRH/BD/13283/2003 (PSB), and the work was supported by the FCT research grant POCI/AGR/62040/2004.