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Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9707

J. Chil. Chem. Soc. vol.60 no.4 Concepción dic. 2015 





1Herabl Medicines Research Center, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran - Iran (HMRS).
Department of Phytochemistry and Essential Oil Technology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University,
Tehran — Iran (IAUPS).
3Young Researchers and Elite Club, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran — Iran.
4Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran — Iran (IAUPS).
* e-mail:


The essential oil content in the flowers of Salvia aegyptiaca growing wild in south of Iran was found to be 0.1% (v/w). The essential oil was analyzed by GC and GC-MS. Ten constituents, representing 98.7 % of the flowers essential oil were identified. The major component of S. aegyptiaca flowers essential oil was identified as octane (60.7%). The fixed oil content and fatty acid composition of the seeds were also analyzed in order to determine their potential for human or animal consumption. The oil content in these edible seeds was found to be 16.2 %. The oil was analyzed by GC and GC/MS and twenty six components identified which constituted 84.6 % of the oil. The main compounds of the seeds oil were characterized as n-dodecane (23.9%), tetradecane (15.6%) and n-decane (10.5%).

Keywords: Salvia aegyptiaca, Lamiaceae, Flowers, Essential oil, Seeds, Fixed oil



The largest genus of the Lamiaceae family, the genus Salvia L. represents an enormous and cosmopolitan assemblage of nearly 1000 species displaying remarkable variation. It has undergone marked species radiations in three regions of the world: Central and South America (500 spp.), Central Asia/ Mediterranean (250 spp.) and Eastern Asia (90 spp.) [1]. Iran, particularly, is one of the centers of origin of the genus Salvia with 67 species, here called with the common Persian name of "Maryam-Goli" and about 53% of endemics [2]. Some species of the genus Salvia are used as flavorings, food condiments and perfume additives and cultivated for the aromatic characteristics [3]. Salvia species have been widely used in folk medicine as anticancer, antiviral, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic treatments and further have been used in relief of mental, nervous and gastrointestinal disorders [4].

Abietane, labdane, ictexane, neoclerodane and phenalenone types of diterpenoids [5,6], triterpenoids and sterols [7], phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, coumarins and polysaccharides and their derivatives [4] were reported as major constituents of Salvia species. Most Salvia species are rich in essential oils, and various biologically active monoterpenoid/sesquiterpenoid have been reported in them possessing diverse biological activities such as antioxidant [8,9], anti-inflammatory [9,10], analgesic [11], anticonvulsant, anti-ulcerogenic, tranquillizing activities [12] and antibacterial activities [13]. Furthermore, the Salvia species, often pleasantly aromatic plants of potential economic interest, comprise the majority of the essential oil rich genera of the Lamiaceae, and particularly tend to accumulate monoterpenoid-rich essential oils.

Salvia aegyptiaca L. is a native plant which is found just in south of Iran and grows up to a height of about 70-90 cm. This plant is extensively exploited as a medicinal plant and locally called "Maryam-Goli Mesri". It is used as antiseptic, carminative, digestive and analgesic in Iranian folk medicine. Significant antibacterial, cytotoxic and antioxidant potential of S. aegyptiaca has also been identified [14]. Literature survey revealed several reports from the essential oil composition of S. aegyptiaca aerial parts [15-17] but there was no attempt to study the essential oil of S. aegyptiaca flowers up to now. Regarding it and the pleasant odor of the flowers, we were prompted to investigate the volatile components of S. aegyptiaca flowers for the first time. Since there was no phytochemical investigation on the seeds oil, the chemical profile of S. aegyptiaca seeds oil was also studied.


Plant material

Flowers of S. aegyptiaca were collected in July 2014 from Abmah village, north of Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, Iran: (27°11' N 56°16' E, 900m). Specimen was identified by R. Asadpour and voucher was deposited in the Herbarium of Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University (IAUPS), Tehran under code number 504-PMP/A.

Essential oil extraction

Flowers (100 g) were submitted to hydrodistillation in a Clevenger-type apparatus for 3 hours. At the end of distillation the essential oil was collected, dried with anhydrous Na2SO4, measured, and transferred to clean glass vials and kept at a temperature of -18°C for further analyses.

Fixed oil extraction

Fixed oil extraction was performed with a Soxhlet apparatus using n-hexane as the solvent. 100 g of powdered seeds was extracted for 6 h and then the solvent was evaporated by using a rotary evaporator at 30 °C. The pure oil was transferred into a small glass vial, flushed with nitrogen and maintained at -18°C until analyzed for fatty acid composition.

Fatty acid methyl esterification

Fatty acid methyl esters of the extracted oil were prepared according to the method previously reported by Metcalfe et al. [18]. 1 g of the oil was weighed into a volumetric flask. Then, 25 ml of 0.5 N methanolic potassium hydroxide was added and placed in the boiling water for 20 min. Then 12 ml boron trifluoride (BF3) was added and boiled again for 3 min. After that, the flask was cooled and 5 ml n-hexane and adequate saturated NaCl solution were added. The flask was shaken vigorously and left to stand for 5 min. the fatty acid methyl esters were prepared and dissolved in n-hexane (the upper layer). 2 ml of upper layer was transferred to a small vial and stored at0 °C until analyzed by GC/MS.

Analysis of the essential oil and fatty acid methyl esters

Essential oil and fatty acid samples analyses were separately performed on a Hp-6890 gas chromatograph (GC) equipped with a FID and a DB-5 capillary column, 30 m × 0.25 mm, 0.25 μm film thickness, temperature programmed as follows: 60°-240°C at 4°C/min. The carrier gas was N2 at a flow of 2.0 ml/min; injector port and detector temperature were 250°C and 300°C, respectively. Samples were separately injected by splitting and the split ratio was 1:10.

GC/MS analysis was performed on a Hewlett-packard 6890 /5972 system with a DB-5 capillary column (30 m × 0.25 mm; 0.25 μm film thickness. The operating conditions were the same conditions as described above but the carrier gas was He. Mass spectra were taken at 70 eV. Scan mass range was from 40-400 m/z at a sampling rate of 1.0 scan/s. Quantitative data were obtained from the electronic integration of the FID peak areas. The components of the samples were identified by their retention time, retention indices, relative to C9-C28 n-alkanes, computer matching with the WILEY275.L library and as well as by comparison of their mass spectra with data already available in the literature [19,20]. The percentage of composition of the identified compounds was computed from the GC peaks areas without any correction factors and was calculated relatively. The result of each oil analysis is the average of three replicates.


The hydrodistillation of S. aegyptiaca flowers gave pale yellow essential oil with pleasant odor and yields of 0.1% (v/w). Table 1 shows the list of compounds whose GC/MS concentration is not less than 0.1% of total peak concentration. According to Table 1, ten components were identified in the flowers essential oil which represented about 98.7% of the total composition. The major component of S. aegyptiaca flowers essential oil was identified as octane (60.7%). The studied essential oil comprised three hydrocarbon (69.9%), three monoterpenoids (6.3%) and four sesquiterpenoids (22.5%).


Table 1: GC-MS analysis of S. aegyptiaca flowers essential oil.

aCompounds listed in order of elution.
bKI (Kovats index) measured relative to n-alkanes (C9-C28) on
the non-polar DB-5 column under condition listed in the
experimental section.
KI, (Kovats index) from literature.


In this study, the chemical profile of S. aegyptiaca seeds oil was also determined. The extracted oil was viscous and yellow in color with the total content of 16.2%. According to the Table 2, seed oil consists mainly of hydrocarbons. n-Dodecane (23.9%), tetradecane (15.6%) and n-decane (10.5%) were found to be in maximum in S. aegyptiaca seeds oil, followed by hexadecane (6.6%) and palmitic acid (5.7%) while other components were in minor proportions.


Table 2: Fatty acid composition of S. aegyptiaca seeds oil.

aCompounds listed in order of elution.
bKI (Kovats index) measured relative to n-alkanes (C9-C28) on
the non-polar DB-5 column under condition listed in the
experimental section. Reported KIs were calculated based on
the fatty acid methyl esters.



Identification of the compounds was made by comparing their mass spectra retention indices with those given in the literature. As the Table 1, five compounds were represented in the flowers essential oil at greater than 5% namely: octane (60.7%), caryophyllene oxide (8.4%), β-eudesmol (7.5%), decane (7.3%) and spathulenol (5.7%). Presence of high amounts of octane in the seeds essential oil was noticeable.

Lamiaceae family has been characterized by the occurrence of linoleic and linolenic acids in their seed oils and their importance as chemotaxonomic markers, for the cosmetic, nutritional and medicinal industries has also been demonstrated [21]. According to the Table 2, the oil from S. aegyptiaca seeds showed a low potential for use in food and medicine industries due to their fatty acids profile.


In conclusion, the current study is a contribution to the chemical compositions of the essential oil from S. aegyptiaca flowers and its seeds oil grown wild in Iran. Due to the presence of octane as the main component of the flowers essential oil, future studies on the biological and pharmacological properties of the studied oil are suggested. The present study also revealed that S. aegyptiaca seeds oil could not be a new source of unsaturated fatty acid rich edible oil.


Supports from the Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University (IAUPS) are gratefully acknowledged.



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