Rosmarinic acid as Adjunctive Therapeutic Agents for Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Disorders


Rosmarinic acid is the structural ester of caffeic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenyllactic acid.  It is a predominant phenol in many well-known herbs, namely:

  • Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)
  • Sage
    • Salvia officinalis (Common sage)
    • Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage)
  • Ocimum basilicum (basil)
  • Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil)
  • Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Origanum majorana (marjoram)
  • Oregano 
  • Perilla frutescens  (Perilla leaf)
  • Perilla oil
  • Prunella vulgaris (Self-Heal) The content in Prunella vulgaris L. spikes average 6.1% Rosmarinic acid, based on dry weight.  1

Rosmarinic acid has demonstrated beneficial effects on functional outcome measures with a number of neurologic diseases. Several human studies investigated the potential effects of Rosmarinic acid extracts on cognitive function.  2   

The Table below list some of the potential benefits to neurological function from Rosmarinic acid extracts:

Neurological Benefits of Rosmarinic Acid

Neurological Benefits to Rosmarinic Acid 
Health EffectReferences
Rosmarinic acid is a potential anxiolytic as it acts as a GABA transaminase inhibitor, more specifically on 4-aminobutyrate transaminase.1
Rosmarinic Acid may help to prevent Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis2
Rosmarinic Acid may inhibit the ability of Hydrogen Peroxide to kill Astrocytes3
Rosmarinic acid (RA) is one of major polyphenolic ingredients of Perillae Herba (a leaf of Perilla frutescens), and has an antidepressant-like property in animal models of depression. Results suggest that RA produces an antidepressant-like effect at least in part via the proliferation of newborn cells in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.4
Rosmarinic Acid may inhibit the neurotoxic effects of Amyloid-Beta Protein5 6
This study aims to determine the function of Plectranthus barbatus (Lamiaceae) herbal tea as inhibitor of the brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity.  These values were higher than those expected, taking into account the quantity of rosmarinic acid detected in the brain, which suggests that other active extract compounds or metabolites may be present in non-detectable amounts. These results prove that the administration of P. barbatus aqueous extract can reach the brain and act as AChE inhibitor.7
Rosmarinic acid protects human dopaminergic neuronal cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that RA can protect SH-SY5Y cells under oxidative stress conditions by regulating apoptotic process. Thus, RA should be clinically evaluated for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.8
Rosmarinic acid inhibits the formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in RAW264.7 macrophages. Ros A can act as an effective protector against peroxynitrite-mediated damage, and as a potent inhibitor of superoxide and NO synthesis; the inhibition of the formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are partly based on its ability to inhibit the serine phosphorylation of Ikappa-Balpha.9
These data show that RA protects the brain against I/R injury with a favorable therapeutic time-window by alleviating diabetic cerebral I/R injury and attenuating blood–brain barrier (BBB) breakdown, and its protective effects may involve HMGB1 and the NF-κB signaling pathway.10


Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)




Ocimum basilicum (basil)


Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil)


Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)






Origanum majorana (marjoram)




Perilla leaf


Perilla oil


Prunella vulgaris (Self-Heal)


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