“Sage is a well-known medicinal herb that has a long history of traditional use in cognitive improvement,” Loukiana Chatzinasiou, product manager at Sibelius Natural Products, told us at the SupplySide West expo in Las Vegas earlier this month.
“Over the last few years, several clinical studies have demonstrated sage’s cognitive benefits in both healthy young and elderly volunteers.”
She was referring to one 2006 study which linked doses of dried sage leaf to improved mood and cognitive performance in healthy young participants conducted by researchers at the University of Northumbria, and a 2008 study which found similar results in older participants.
“Sage extracts have been shown to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down esters of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays an important role in the formation of memories,” she explained.
The branded sage extract her company markets, called Sibelius: Sage, derives from a unique, proprietary and non-GMO cultivar of sage grown in the UK exclusively for Sibelius and is standardized to 2.5% rosmarinic acid.
Marketing sage extract in the cognitive space
UK-based Sibelius Natural Products started out as a bioanalytical lab that identifies bioactive profiles of botanical ingredients using a trademarked technology born out of Oxford University called Chronoscreen.
After several years of analyzing various plants, they found that the bioactives in sage (Salvia officinalis) have commercial potential as a cognitive support ingredient. Sibelius: Sage was the lab’s first foray into marketing ingredients.
In the US, the ingredient is distributed exclusively by Barrington Nutritionals. A product called Cognitex Elite by Life Extension is the first to use Sibelius: Sage in the US market. This product is marketed as “comprehensive support for brain health.’
At the show, Sibelius showcased small sachets containing a powder form of Sibelius: Sage mixed with some sweetener. Chatzinasiou said that, when mixed with water, the resulting liquid supplement may be used in lieu of coffee to give users a boost in their cognitive performance.
Of the two studies she referenced, the 2008 study with older participants used the exact standardized version of sage extract which Sibelius markets.
There are currently two new studies underway investigating the cognitive benefits of Sibelius: Sage; one with 12-14 year olds, and another with young adults aged 18 to 25.
“It is an RCT based on the original design from the  trial, including testing and doses. The trial is currently recruiting and results anticipated in Q1 2019,” Chatzinasiou said.