The cellular protective effects of rosmarinic acid: from bench to bedside

Curr Neurovasc Res. 2015;12(1):98-105. doi: 10.2174/1567202612666150109113638.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is one of the most common household herbs, used as spices in a variety of foods, and employed in traditional medicine for its healing properties. Rosemary is a rich source of active antioxidant constituents such as phenolic diterpenes, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid are the most important bioactive constituents. Rosmarinic acid is the ester of caffeic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenyllactic acid and is widely identified in different plant species. Chemical structure of rosmarinic acid contains two phenolic rings: one of them is derived from phenylalanine via caffeic acid and the other from tyrosine via dihydroxyphenyl-lactic acid. Its large-scale production is obtained from plant cell cultures of Coleus blumei Benth. It is easily absorbed through gastrointestinal tract as well as the skin. Rosmarinic acid is one of the most important and well known natural antioxidant compounds, which possesses neuroprotective effects in different models of neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, as well as chemicalinduced neurotoxicity and oxidative stress. Therefore, in present review, we aim to discuss about chemistry, sources, biotechnological production and neuroprotective actions of rosmarinic acid with emphasis on its possible molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cinnamates / chemistry
  • Cinnamates / therapeutic use*
  • Depsides / chemistry
  • Depsides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Rosmarinus / chemistry*


  • Cinnamates
  • Depsides
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • rosmarinic acid