Salvia elegans (Mirto): Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Herb

Salvia elegans is a traditional Mexican herbal medicine that is often called mirto. Mexican traditional medicine utilises the leaves and flower of the plant for the treatment of central nervous system diseases. In this regard, extracts of the plant are used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia and other anxiety and depression related disorders. Researchers have investigated the central nervous system effects of Salvia elegans on animals in order to verify the claims made for the plant in traditional medicine. In one study, researchers administered leaf and flower extract of Salvia elegans to mice and observed any behavioural changes. When the mice were exposed to experimental stress, the extracts of Salvia elegans were able to significantly attenuate the normal fearful and anxious reactions displayed by the mice. In addition, the extracts were significantly able to reduce the depressive behaviour displayed by the mice when exposed to a forced swim test. Therefore Salvia elegans shows anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in mice.

Salvia elegans anxiety depression mood

A number of other species of Salvia plants may also have central nervous system, effects. For example, Salvia divinorium may have hallucinogenic properties, Salvia officinalis may possess benzodiazepine-like effects, Salvia miltiorrhiza may have neuroprotective effects, and Salvia reuterana may have anxiolytic effects. This suggests that the Salvia species of plants share similar phytochemistry, and are able to affect the central nervous system in various ways. Common garden sage is also a Salvia species plant. Image is of Salvia elegans. Image from: By Eric Hunt – Self-photographed, CC BY 2.5, https:// w /index.php?curid=1316353.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, protect Yourself


Herrera-Ruiz, M., García-Beltrán, Y., Mora, S., Díaz-Véliz, G., Viana, G. S., Tortoriello, J. and Ramírez, G. 2006. Antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of hydroalcoholic extract from Salvia elegans. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 107(1): 53-58

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mood, Salvia Plants (Sage). Bookmark the permalink.