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Family Lamiaceae

Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex R. & S.

Xiang ya hong

Scientific names Common names
Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex R. & S. Salvia (Engl.)
Salvia brasiliensis Spreng. Crimson sage (Engl.)
Salvia issanchou auct. Red salvia (Engl.)
Fenixanthes splendens ( Sellow ex R. & S.) Raf. Scarlet sage (Engl.)
  Scarlet salvia (Engl.)
  St. John's fire (Engl.)
  Vista red (Engl.)
  Pao zi hua (Chin.)

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 cm. Leaves are ovate, acuminate and light green with toothed margins. Flowers are glabrous, bilabiate and bright red.

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

Parts utilized
Bark, leaves.

• 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.

Considered anxiolytic and psychotropic.

• 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.

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.

Tinctures in the cybermarket.

Last Updated May 2012

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: /Salvia splendens Sellow / Tracey Slotta - USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database - Not copyrighted image / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
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
PHYTOCHEMICAL AND ANTIMICROBIAL STUDIES OF SALVIA SPLENDENS SELLO / F Zia Khan and Asif Saeed / Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 11(2) July 1998, pp.13-21
TOXICITY AND ANTICOAGULANT ACTIVITY OF SALVIA SPLENDENS / I H Qureshi et al / Pakistan J. Pharm. Sci. Vol.2 (No.2), 1989.
Salviarin, a new diterpenoid from Salvia splendens / SAVONA G. et al / 1978, J.Chem.Soc.Perkins Trans. I, :643-646.
Splendidin, a new trans-clerodane from Salvia splendens / SAVONA G. et al / J.Chem.Soc.Perkins Trans. I, :533-534, 1979
Salvia splendens / The Plant List
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
Dimalonated anthocyanins from the flowers of Salviasplendens and S. coccinea / Francisco A. Tomás-Barberán, Jeffrey B. Harborne, Ron Self / http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0031-9422(00)83586-4,
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
Salvia splendens Ker Gawl / Catalogue of Life, China

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