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Nutrition. 2006 Mar;22(3):321-6.

Effects of Salvia officinalis L. (sage) leaves on memory retention and its interaction with the cholinergic system in rats.

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Department of Biology, Varamin Institute, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.



The leaves of sage (Salvia officinalis L., Lamiaceae) are reported to have a wide range of biological activities, such as anti-bacterial, fungistatic, virustatic, astringent, eupeptic and anti-hydrotic effects. To determine the mnemogenic effect of sage leaves, we investigated the effects of ethanolic extract of sage leaves and its interaction with cholinergic system on memory retention of passive avoidance learning in rats.


Post-training intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections were carried out in all the experiments except ethanolic extract (i.p. intraperitoneally).


Administration of ethanolic extract (50 mg/kg), pilocarpine (0.5 and 1 mg/rat), the muscarinic cholinoceptor agonist, and nicotine (0.1 and 1 microg/rat) increased, while mecamylamine (1, 5 microg/rat), the muscarinic cholinoceptor antagonist, and mecamylamine (0.01 and 0.1 microg/rat), the nicotine cholinoceptor antagonist decreased memory retention in rats. Activation of muscarinic cholinoceptors by pilocarpine potentiated the response of ethanolic extract. Also, pharmacological blockade of scopolamine attenuated potentiating effect of ethanolic extract. Activation of nicotinic cholinoceptor by nicotine potentiated the response of ethanolic extract. Blockade of nicotinic cholinoceptor by mecamylamine attenuated the response of ethanolic extract.


It is concluded that the ethanolic extract of salvia officinalis potentiated memory retention and also it has an interaction with muscarinic and nicotinic cholinergic systems that is involved in the memory retention process.

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