Salvia (Red Sage) (2016-17, 19) & Neuroprotection


Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen, red sage) appears to halt the breakdown of the chemical messenger acetylcholine (ACH),1 which levels fall in Alzheimer's disease. It may enhance cognition and protect against neurodegenerative disease2 well as having a strong effect in increasing neurogenesis. Salvia miltiorrhiza (red sage, Chinese sage, or danshen) constituents have multiple neuroprotective effects including anti-amyloid beta, antioxidant, and anti-inflammation that are potentially useful in development of drugs to combat AD.3

A review of the literature focused on salvia miltiorrhiza components reports that, in addition to improving cognition and offering neuroprotection, the major bioactive ingrediants (salvianolic acid A & B, and other minor components) reduce tau hyperphosylation (failure of this signaling mechanism results in tangles of tau protein), prevent amyloid beta fiber formation, and enhance fiber disaggregation. In summary, different components of salvia affect different aspects of Alzheimer pathology: APP processing, tau hyperphosphorylation, mitochondria support, and cell death - but salvianolic acid B seems to have the most potential.4


1. Wightman EL. (2017). Potential benefits of phytochemicals against Alzheimer's disease. Proc Nutr Soc. May;76(2):106-112.
2. Lopresti AL. (2017). Salvia (Sage):A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective Effects. Drgus R D., Mar;17(1):53-64.
3. Zhang XZ, Qian SS, Zhang YJ, Wang RQ. (2016). Salvia miltiorrhiza: A source for anti-Alzheimer's disease drugs. Pharm Biol. 2016;54(1):18-24.
4. Chong CM, Su H, Lu JJ, Wang Y. (2019). The effects of bioactive components from the rhizome of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) on the characteristics of Alzheimer's disease. Chin Med. May 21;14:19.