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Family Lamiaceae
Sage weed
Salvia plebeia R. Brown

Li zhi cao

Scientific names Common names
Lumnitzera fastigiata (Roth) Spreng. Sage weed (Engl.)
Mosla virgata (Thunb.) Tanaka Small-flowered sage (Engl.)
Ocimum fastigiatum Roth.  
Ocimum virgatum Thunb.  
Salvia brachiata Roxb.  
Salvia minutiflora Bunge  
Salvia plebeia R. Brown  
Salvia plebeia var. R. Br. var. latifolia E. Peter  
Salvia plebeia R.Br. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Zhou pi cong, Li zhi cao, Shui yang, Guo dong qing, Tian ming jing, Fen yao cao.
HINDI: Kamrkash, Samundarsok, Sathi.
KANNADA: Kachora.
MALAYALAM: Pulam-kizhanma.
JAPANESE: Mizo-kouiju.
SANSKRIT: Samudraphala, Shati, Vrddhadaru.
TAMIL: Chimaikkarppuram, Kasturimanjal.
TELUGU: Kachoralu, Kichili-baddalu.

Salvia plebeia is an annual, hairy herb. Stems are stout, erect, hoary, and 15 to 45 centimeters in height. Leaves are oblong ovate, 2.5 to 7.5 centimeters long, narrowed and pointed at both ends. Spikes are panicled, often fastigiate. Flowers are hardly 6 millimeters long, lilac or nearly white, occurring in small, very numerous whorls in numerous, slender, panicled, glandular racemes. Calyx is stalked, bell-shaped, and 10 to 12 millimeters long; the upper calyx-lip is entire, and the lower one obtusely 2-toothed. Corolla-tube is very short, and the included upper lip is short, nearly straight, slightly flattened, and concave. Nutlets are very minute and ellipsoid.

- Found in Cagayan Province in Luzon.
- Probably occurs also as a weed in and about towns in various provinces at low altitudes.
- Also occurs in India to China, Malaya and Australia.

- Phytochemical screenings have yielded flavones, lignans, and diterpenoids.
- Study yielded six compounds: hispidulin-glucoronide, hispidulin-7-O-D-glucoside, 6-methoxy-luteolin-7-glucoside, ß-sitosterol, 2'-hydroxy-5'-methoxybiochanin A and coniferyl aldehyde.
- Study of whole plant yielded: ß-sitosterol, hispidulin, carnosol, rosmadial, ursolic acid, pectolinarigenin, epirosmanol, caffeic acid methyl ester and scopoletin.

-Analysis for phenolic compounds yielded a predominant amount of rosmarinic acid, followed by luteolin and hispidulin.
- Study yielded two monomers of homoplantaginin and hispidulin.
- Essential oil yielded 49 ingredients. Main components were 1 ,2 ,3 ,4 ,4a ,5 ,6 ,8a-octahydro-7- methyl-4- methylene-1- (1- methylethyl) - naphthalene, Caryophyllene, [ s- ( E, E) ]-1-methyl-5- methylene-8- ( 1-methylethyl ) -1 , 6- Cyclodecadiene , ( 1S- cis) -1 ,2 ,3 ,5 ,6 ,8a-hexahydro-4 , 7-di methyl-1- ( 1- methylethyl)- Naphthalene-, alpha .- Cubebene, etc. (18)
- Study of essential oil of aerial parts yielded 33 components. Major compounds were caryophyllene oxide (15.54%), y-eudesmol (14.03%), τ-cadinol (10.21%), calamenene (9.63%), copaene (5.70 %), γ-cadinene (5.30 %), cadalene (5.28 %), α- muurolene (5.19 %), ledol (5.14 %) and α-cadinol (5.08 %). (see study below) (24)
- Study isolated five diterpenoids, including a new skeleton plebeianiol A (1), carnosol (2), isocarnosol (3), saficinolide (4) and 2,11,12-trihydroxy-7,20-epoxy-8,11,13-abietatriene (5). (see study below) (25)
- Study detected seven bioactive compounds (content range mg/g), namely caffeic acid (0.21-0.44), luteolin-7- glucoside (0.97-2.22), nepetin-7-glucoside (0.52-1.22), homoplantaginin (2.18-5.75), luteolin (0.12-0.44), nepetin )0.52-1.22) and hispidulin (0.80-1.67). (27)
- Study of whole plant yielded nine compounds viz., β -sitosterol(1), hispidulin (2), carnosol (3), rosmadial (4), ursolic acid (5), pectolinarigenin (6), epirosmanol (7), caffeic acid methyl ester (8), and scopoletin (9). (29)

- Considered astringent, diuretic, vermifuge.
- Antihepatotoxic, antidiarrheal, antispasmodic, analgesic.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, diuretic, hepatoprotective, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerosis, anti-tumor, anti-allergic properties.

Parts used
Seeds, leaves.


Flowers and leaves used as condiment.
- Seeds are used in gonorrhea, menorrhagia, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids.
- Used in folk medicine for treatment of hepatitis, cough, and inflammation.
- Paste of plant applied to wounds between toes caused by prolonged walking barefoot in muddy water.
- In Bombay, used to increase sexual powers.
- In China, used as anti-inflammatory and for treating urinary tract infections, bronchitis, and nephritis.
- In Korea and China, used to treat inflammatory skin diseases and asthma.

Study yielded six compounds. (See:Constituents) Compounds 3, 4 and 5 ( 6-methoxy-luteolin-7-glucoside, β-sitosterol, 2′-hydroxy-5′-methoxybiochanin A) showed strong antioxidant activities. (2)
Pharmacologic Activities / Diuretic Effect: Study on pharmacologic activities of Compound Salvia Plebeia Granules (CSPG) long used for treating UTIs showed a dose-related diuretic effect, antipyretic, antiblastic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Results support its folkloric use on treating urinary tract infections. (3)
Chemical Constituents: Study on
whole plant of Salvia plebeia yielded nine compounds: ß-sitosterol, hispidulin, carnosol, rosmadial, ursolic acid, pectolinarigenin, epirosmanol, caffeic acid methyl ester and scopoletin. 8 and 9 were reported for Salvia genus for the first time and 3-7 from S. plebeia for the first time. (4)
New Phenylbutanone Glucoside: Study yielded a new phenylbutanone glucoside, salviaplebeiaside, along with two known phenolic compounds, rosmarinic acid methyl ester and luteolin-7-O-ß-D-glucoside. (5)
Hepatoprotective: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective effects of "Chhit-Chan-Than," a Taiwan herbal remedy believed to have anti-inflammatory and deto
xification activities, and used in the treatment of hepatitis. The crude extracts of the three herbal components - Salvia plebeia, O gratissimum and O basilicum - were studied. Results showed that S. plebeia was the most potent of the three crude extracts, protecting the liver against CCl4-intoxication and D-GaIN-induced hepatotoxicity. (6)
Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Angiogenic / Antinociceptive / Antioxidant: Study showed an ethanol extract to possess anti-inflammatory and related anti-angiogenic, antinociceptive and antioxidant activities. (11)
Antitumor: Study of various extracts of aerial parts of S. plebeia showed the dichlormethane extract to have the most potent cytotoxic effect against K562 cells. Results suggest the extract may inhibit the cancer cell proliferation by inducing cell apoptosis. (12)
Promotion of Cholesterol Efflux / Anti-Atherosclerosis: Foam cells are formed at the first stage of atherosclerosis development. Study investigated the influence of sage weed extract on cholesterol handling of J774A1 murine macrophages. Results showed the extract antagonized oxidized LDL uptake and promoted cholesterol efflux in lipid-laden macrophages. SWE may be a potential therapeutic agent against development of atherosclerosis. (13)
Nutrition-Based Soil VS Hydroponics on Herbal Activity: Plebian herba cultivated in nutrition-based soil improved the inhibitory effect on free radicals of DPPH, ABTS and NO, increased the phenolics such as caffeic acid, luteolin-7-glucoside, homoplantaginin, hispidulin and eupatorin. Free radical scavenging and SOD activity, as well as a-glucosidase inhibitory effect were higher in S. plebeia grown in nutrition based soil than in hydroponics and traditional condition. (15)
Effect on Murine Macrophage-Mediated Cytotoxicity: Macrophages play any important role in host defense against tumors by killing tumor cells. Study showed extracts of Salvia plebeia induced antitumor activity and enhanced the tumoricidal activity of macrophages. Results suggest immunomodulatory factors in the extract responsible for the induction of antitumor activity. (16)
Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Hepatic Injury: A flavonoid rich extract of herbal raw materials yielded luteolin-7-glucoside, nepetin-7-glucoside, homoplantaginin, luteolin, nepetin, and hispidulin. Results showed striking benefits in preventing CCl4-induced acute hepatic injury in mice. (17)
Anti-Inflammatory / Human Rheumatoid Synovial Fibroblasts: Study evaluated the effects of S. plebeia extract on inflammatory arthritis using collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model. SPE inhibited Th1/Th2/Th17 phenotype CD4+ T lymphocyte expansion in inguinal lymph nodes and expression of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, MMP1 and MMP3 in ankle joint tissue. There was down-regulation of NF-kB, Akt, and mitogen-activated protein kinases in RA synovial fibroblasts. Results suggest the SPE has therapeutic efficacy against chronic inflammatory arthritis and a potential for the treatment of RA. (21)
Anti-Allergic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study showed SP extract inhibits pro inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6, as well as nitric oxide production in LPS-treated macrophages. Results suggest SP extract can control LPS-induced inflammatory reaction and prevent antigen-induced Th2 immune response in mice. (22)
Hypolipidemic / Anti-Atheroslcerosis: Study investigated the ability of sage weed (S. plebeia) extract to influence cholesterol handling of J774A1 murine macrophages. Results demonstrate that the SP extract antagonized oxidized LDL uptake and promoted cholesterol efflux in lipid-laden macrophages. Findings suggest SP extract may be protective against the development of atherosclerosis. (23)
Larvicidal / Aedes aegypti / Essential Oil of Aerial Parts: Study investigated the activity of S. plebeia aerial parts essential oil against larvae of Aedes aegypti. Essential oil yielded 33 components. The EO exhibited larvicidal activity against Ae. aegypti at a median lethal concentration (LC50) of 46.26 µg/ml. Results suggest a potential safe and natural larvicide. (see constituents above) (24)
Diterpenoids / Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory: Study isolated five diterpenoids, including a new skeleton plebeianiol A (1), carnosol (2), isocarnosol (3), saficinolide (4) and 2,11,12-trihydroxy-7,20-epoxy-8,11,13-abietatriene (5). Compounds 1, 2, and 5 showed DPPH radical scavenging activities with IC50 vales of 20.0-29.6 µM. Compounds 1-3 inhibited nitric oxide (NO) production in LPS-induced macrophages with IC50s from 18.0-23.6 µM. Results showed compounds 1 and 2 had significant effects on antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (25)
Suppression of Atopic Dermatitis-Like Lesions: Study investigated the effects of S. plebeia extract on atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin lesions in an AD model in BABL/c mice by repeated exposure to house dust mite extract and DNCG to the ears. The extract significantly suppressed the expression of cytokines and chemokines through down-regulation of mitogen-activity protein kinases, nuclear factor-kB, and STAT1 in HaCaT cells. Results suggest a potential treatment for atopic dermatitis. (26)
Anti-Adipogenic: Study investigated the effects of ethanolic extract of Salvia plebeia on differentiation and lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Results showed significant attenuation of lipid accumulation during adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells, significant inhibition of lipid droplet accumulation, down-regulation of adipogenic transcriptional factors and target genes. Findings suggest S. plebeia may be a safe and effective natural substance in the management of obesity. (28)
Homoplantaginin / Amelioration of PA-Induced Endothelial Inflammation: Study investigated the effect of homoplantaginin on PA (palmitic acid)-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells inflammation. Results showed homoplantaginin protected endothelial cells from PA-induced endothelial inflammation by suppressing toll-like receptor-4 and NLRP3 pathways and restoring nitric oxide generation. Findings suggest a potential for the treatment of vascular diseases. (30)
Hispidulin / Anti-Tumor / EMMPRIN-Modulating: Hispidulin, a flavonoid compound of S. plebeia, has been reported to have anti-tumor effects against solid tumors in vitro and in vivo. Study investigated the effects of hispidulin on human leukemia cell line in vitro. Results showed hispidulin inhibited AML cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, and induces apoptosis through an intrinsinc mitochondrial pathway. Results strongly indicated the modulating effect of hispidulin on EMMPRIN (extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer) is correlated with its inhibitory effect on both the Akt and STAT3 signaling pathways. (31)
Anti-Oxidative / Anti-Allergic / Leaves and Roots: Study evaluated the antioxidant activities and anti-allergic effects of ethanol extracts of S. plebeia leaves and roots. Both leaves and roots induced significant radical scavenging activity against DPPH and ABTS radicals in a dose-dependent manner (p<0.05). Treatment of RBL-2H3 cells with leaves and roots extracts in vitro decreased ß-hexosaminidase release and significantly inhibited IgE-antigen complex-mediated IL-4 and TNF-α mRNA expression in RBL-2H3 cells. Results suggest S. plebeia can protect or reduce allergic asthma through high antioxidant and anti-allergic mechanisms. (32)


Last Update July 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Salvia plebeia / Collected by www.plant.ac.cn / Zhiwutong (Check out for other S. spendens images)
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Salvia plebeia / © Mizoko / http://www.botanic.jp/plants-ma/mizoko.htm / click on image to go to source page / Botanic.JP

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Salvia plebeia - R.Br. / Plants For A Future
Antioxidant activity of compounds isolated from Salvia plebeia / XC Weng and W Wang /
Food Chemistry
Volume 71, Issue 4, December 2000, Pages 489-493 / doi:10.1016/S0308-8146(00)00191-6
The pharmacological activities of Compound Salvia Plebeia Granules on treating urinary tract infection /
Peng MM, Fang Y, Hu W, Huang Q / J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 May 4;129(1):59-63. Epub 2010 Mar 6.
Chemical constituents of the whole herbs of Salvia plebeia R. Br. / Hab Guo-hua, Li Zhan-lin et al / Journal of Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, 2009-11 / DOi: CNKI:SUN:SYYD.0.2009-11-013
A New Phenylbutanone Glucoside from Salvia plebeia / Qianghao Jin, Xiang Hua Han et al / Natural Product Sciences, 15(2) : 106-109 (2009)

Evaluation of Hepatoprotective Effects of “Chhit-Chan-Than” from Taiwan / Chun-Ching Lin, Jung-Kuei Lin And and Cheng-Hsiung Chang / Pharmaceutical Biology, 1995, Vol. 33, No. 2 , Pages 139-143 / (doi:10.3109/13880209509055214)
Antioxidant properties of natural components from Salvia plebeia on oxidative stability of ascidian oil / Jiang Al-li and Wang Chang-hai
Salvia plebeia R. Br / Catalogue of Life, China
. / Rupali Shirsat, Subhash Suradkar and Deepak Koche / Bioscience Discovery, 3(1):61-63, Jan. 2012
Anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and anti-nociceptive activities of an ethanol extract of Salvia plebeia R. Brown / Jung HJ, Song YS, Lim CJ, Park EH / J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Nov 12;126(2):355-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
Antitumor Activity of Dichloromethane Extract from Salvia plebeia and Induction of Apoptosis on K562 Cells / REN Jie, PAN Sha-sha, LU Xu-zhang, ZHOU Min, HU Kun / Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2010, 3(1): 36-40
Sage weed (Salvia plebeia) extract antagonizes foam cell formation and promotes cholesterol efflux in murine macrophages. / Park SH, Kim JL, Kang MK, Gong JH, Han SY, Shim JH, Lim SS, Kang YH. / Int J Mol Med. 2012 Nov;30(5):1105-12. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2012.1103. Epub 2012 Aug 20.
SOME PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS OF SALVIA PLEBEIA R. BR. / Rupali Shirsat, Subhash Suradkar and Deepak Koche / Bioscience Discovery, 3(1):61-63, Jan. 2012
Antioxidant and Enzyme Inhibitory Activities of Plebeian Herba (Salvia plebeia R. Br.) under Different Cultivation Conditions / Lei Chen and Young-Hwa Kang * / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (10), pp 2190–2197 / DOI: 10.1021/jf404570s
The Effect of Salvia plebeia on Murine Macrophage-mediated Cytotoxicity / Um, Sung-Hee ; Lee, Kang-Ro ; Zee, Ok-Pyo ; Pyo, SuhKneung / Natural product sciences, VOL.2; NO.1; PAGE.43-47; (1996)
The role of hepatoprotective effect of a flavonoid-rich extract of Salvia plebeia R.Br. on carbon tetrachloride- induced acute hepatic injury in mice / Xiao-feng Jin, Jie Qian and Yan-hua Lu1* / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(9), pp. 1558-1563, 4 May, 2011
Analysis on chemical composition of essential oil from Salvia plebeia by GC- MS / Chen Lijun, Xinyang, Xia Xinkui, Li Geng / Institute of Agricultural Information, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Salvia plebeia R.Br. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Sage weed / Flowers of India / The Plant List
Salvia plebeia extract inhibits the inflammatory response in human rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts and a murine model of arthritis. / Choi JK, Oh HM, Park JH, Choi JH, Sa KH, Kang YM, Park PH, Shin TY, Rho MC, Kim SH / Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar 15;22(3):415-22. / doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.01.007.
A Study on the Anti-inflammatory and Anti-allergic Effect of Salvia plebeia R. extracts / Jo, S.Y., Lee, U.Y., Kim, E.Y., Lee, S.J., Her, J.W., Yoon, T.J. / 2010
Sage weed (Salvia plebeia) extract antagonizes foam cell formation and promotes cholesterol efflux in murine macrophages / Sin-Hye Park, Jung-Lye Kim, Min-Kyung Kang, Ju-Hyun Gong, Seon-Young Han, Jae-Hoon Shim, Soon Sung Lim, Young-Hee Kang / International Journal of Molecular Medicine, DOI: 10.3892/ijmm.2012.1103
Chemical Composition of Salvia plebeian R.Br. Essential Oil and its Larvicidal Activity against Aedes aegypti L / Shanliang Zhu, Xin Chao Liu, Zhi Long Liu and Xiaofeng Xu / Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research May 2015; 14(5): 831-836 / http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tjpr.v14i5.13
Diterpenoids from Saliva plebeia R. Br. and Their Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities / Bao-Bao Zhang, Bai-Qiu He, Jian-Bo Sun, Biao Zeng, Xiao-Ji Shi, Yong Zhou, Ying Niu, Shi-Qi Nie, Feng Feng, Yan Liang, and Fei-Hua Wu / Molecules 2015, 20, 14879-14888 / doi:10.3390/molecules200814879
Salvia plebeia Suppresses Atopic Dermatitis-Like Skin Lesions
/ Jin Kyeong Choi, Hyun-Mee Oh, Soyoung Lee, Taeg Kyu Kwon, Tae-Yong Shin, Mun-Chuai Rho, Sang-Hyun Kim / The American Journal of Chinese Medicine: An International Journal of Comparative Medicine East and West—Vol 42, Issue 4.2014
Chemical fingerprint and quantitative analysis of Salvia plebeia R.Br. by high-performance liquid chromatography / Xiao-feng Jin, Yan-hua Lu, Dong-zhi Wei, Zheng-tao Wang / Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 48 (2008) 100–104
Antiadipogenic Effects of Salvia plebeia R. Br. Extracts by Extraction Conditions in 3T3-L1 Preadipocytes /
Choi, Soo Im; Kwak, Hoyoung; Kim, Jae Yoon; Choi, Jong Gil; Lee, Je Hyuk / Korean Journal of Medicinal Crop Science, Vol 2, Issue 3 (2015) pp 245-252 / DOI : 10.7783/KJMCS.2015.23.3.245
Chemical constituents of the whole herbs of Salvia plebeia R. Br. / HAN Guo-hua, LI Zhan-lin, SUN Lin, HUA Hui-ming /Journal of Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, 2009-11
Homoplantaginin Inhibits Palmitic Acid-induced Endothelial Cells Inflammation by Suppressing TLR4 and NLRP3 Inflammasome / He, Baiqiu MD*; Zhang, Baobao MD†; Wu, Feihua PhD*; Wang, Liying MD*; Shi, Xiaoji MD*; Qin, Weiwei MD*; Lin, Yining PhD†; Ma, Shiping MD*; Liang, Jingyu MD / Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Jan 2016, Vol 67, Issue 1 / doi: 10.1097/FJC.0000000000000318
Hispidulin induces mitochondrial apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia cells by targeting extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer / Hui Gao*, Yongji Liu*, Kan Li, Tianhui Wu, Jianjun Peng, Fanbo Jing / Am J Transl Res 2016;8(2):1115-1132
Anti-oxidative and Anti-allergic Effects of Salvia plebeia R. Ethanol Extracts / Bong-Kyoum Choi, Seon-Hye Lee, Nam-Seok Kim, Soo-Yeon Cho, Hwan-Hee Jang, Jung-Bong Kim, Young Min Lee, Sungeun Yoon, and Sung-Hyen Lee / Kor. J. Pharmacogn. 45(4) : 332 ∼ 337 (2014)

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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