Identification of 1,8-cineole, borneol, camphor, and thujone as anti-inflammatory compounds in a Salvia officinalis L. infusion using human gingival fibroblasts

J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Apr 10;61(14):3451-9. doi: 10.1021/jf305472t. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


Drinking or gargling Salvia officinalis L. infusion (sage infusion) is thought to soothe a sore throat, tonsillitis, and inflamed, red gums, although structure-based scientific evidence for the key anti-inflammatory compounds in sage infusion is scarce. Human gingival fibroblasts (HGF-1) were treated with sage infusion (SI) or SI fractions containing either its volatile components and water (aqueous distillate, AD) or its dry matter (DM) for six hours. SI, AD, and DM reduced a mean phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate/ionomycin (PMA/I)-stimulated release of the pro-inflammatory interleukins IL-6 and IL-8 by more than 50% (p < 0.05). Cellular uptake experiments and subsequent GC-MS analysis using stable-isotope-labeled internal standards revealed the presence of 1,8-cineole, borneol, camphor, and α-/β-thujone in SI-treated cells; LC-MS analysis demonstrated the presence of rosmarinic acid. A significant, more than 50% mean inhibition of PMA/I-induced IL-6 and IL-8 release was demonstrated for the volatile compounds 1,8-cineole, borneol, camphor, and thujone, but not for the nonvolatile rosmarinic acid when applied in concentrations representative of sage infusion. Therefore, the volatile compounds were found to be more effective than rosmarinic acid. 1,8-Cineole, borneol, camphor, and α-/β-thujone chiefly contribute to the anti-inflammatory activity of sage infusion in human gingival fibroblasts.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / analysis
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / metabolism*
  • Austria
  • Beverages / analysis
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Camphanes / analysis
  • Camphanes / chemistry
  • Camphanes / metabolism
  • Camphor / analysis
  • Camphor / chemistry
  • Camphor / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclohexanols / analysis
  • Cyclohexanols / chemistry
  • Cyclohexanols / metabolism
  • Eucalyptol
  • Gingiva / immunology
  • Gingiva / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Monoterpenes / analysis
  • Monoterpenes / chemistry
  • Monoterpenes / metabolism*
  • Mouthwashes / chemistry
  • Mouthwashes / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Salvia officinalis / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Camphanes
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Interleukins
  • Monoterpenes
  • Mouthwashes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Camphor
  • beta-thujone
  • isoborneol
  • Eucalyptol