Here’s why the brain health market needs this branded sage ingredient, says Sibelius

May 2, 2019

Sibelius Natural Products (Oxford, UK) discussed why its Sibelius Sage ingredient is reinvigorating sage as a nootropic ingredient.

Mention sage, and for some customers, the culinary herb comes to mind. However, sage has numerous historically documented cognitive benefits that has given this ingredient a presence in the brain-health market. Now, there is a new branded sage ingredient on the market. At April's SupplySide East trade show, Sibelius Natural Products (Oxford, UK) discussed why its Sibelius Sage ingredient (Salvia officinalis L.), recently introduced and distributed by Barrington Nutritionals (Harrison, NY) in the U.S., is reinvigorating sage as a nootropic ingredient.

Grown in the UK, Sibelius Sage is standardized to greater than 2.5% rosmarinic acid. The company’s own research on Sibelius Sage includes a 2008 study1 in healthy seniors showing improvements in secondary memory and accuracy of attention. Other studies done on general sage ingredients have also shown cognitive benefits, such as in younger adults.2 And while other sage ingredients, branded and unbranded, exist in the market, Sibelius says that it can prove that its sage ingredient stands out from the rest.

The company uses its patented technology, trademarked Chronoscreen, to confirm, on an ongoing basis, that its species and preparation of Sibelius: Sage has unique and beneficial biological activities-differences that the company says set it apart from other sage extracts in the market.

“Each harvest year, we make sure, using Chronoscreen, that we are confirming the biological activity because, with herbal ingredients, there are many variables that can occur,” said Inger Larsen, director of sales, North America, for Sibelius Natural Products, at SupplySide East.

Unlike many herbal suppliers, Sibelius was actually founded first on its testing technology. The company describes how, as a spin-off from Oxford University, Chronoscreen was its first development, and then, the company set about cultivating its own proprietary ingredients utilizing the Chronoscreen platform. Chronoscreen is a biological assay using the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), which have strong physiological similarities to humans and, as the company says, provides a “3R (refine, replace, reduce)–endorsed in vivo model for screening ingredients like sage.”

Sibelius has used Chronoscreen as the foundation to investigate biochemical pathways that, in the end, determined the potential cognitive benefits of the ingredient, Larsen said. This information also serves as the basis for future clinical studies on this and other ingredients, she added. “Chronoscreen is really comprehensive. Before you even get to the clinical trials with humans, you have some sense not only that it’s going to work, but why it’s working,” she said.

Such information works hand in hand, she pointed out. For instance, based on the clinical trial on Sibelius Sage in 2008, further Chronoscreen testing enabled the company to determine, based on gene expression, that the ingredient was acting “in the same pathways as anticholinesterase chemicals,” she said. (Anticholinesterase chemicals help prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.)

This kind of screening gives Sibelius: Sage a leg up, Larsen said. For instance, some unbranded sage ingredients aren’t very transparent in terms of how the leaf was harvested, how extraction was done, etc. “All those things determine the effectiveness of the ingredient,” she said.



1. Scholey AB et al. “An extract of Salvia (sage) with anticholinesterase properties improves memory and attention in healthy older volunteers.” Psychopharmacology, vol. 198, no. 1 (May 2018): 127-139
2. Kennedy DO et al. “Effects of cholinesterase inhibiting sage (Salvia officinalis) on mood, anxiety and performance on a psychological stressor battery.” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 31, no. 4 (April 2006): 845-852