Essential oils of three different Salvia species [Salvia aucheri var. aucheri (endemic), Salvia aramiensis and Salvia pilifera (endemic)] were screened for their possible antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as well as their chemical compositions. According to the gas chromatography (GC)/EIMS (gas chromatography/electron impact mass spectrum) analysis results; 41 (97.2%), 51 (98.5%) and 83 compounds (98.2%) were identified, respectively. While 1,8-cineole (30.5%), camphor (21.3%) and borneol (8.50%) are the major compounds for S. aucheri var. aucheri oil, beta-pinene (10.3%), was the main constituent for S. aramienesis together with 1,8-cineole (46.0%) and camphor (8.7%). In the case of S. pilifera oil, alpha-thujene (36. 1%) and alpha-pinene (13.8%) determined as the major compounds. Antioxidant activity was employed by two complementary test systems namely 2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging and beta-carotene/linoleic acid systems. Antioxidant activity of S. aramiensis was found to be higher than those of the others for the both systems (12.26 +/- 1.09 and 92.46% +/- 1.64 mu g mg(-1), respectively). Additionally, antioxidant activities of BHT, curcumin, ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol were determined in parallel experiments. In the case of antimicrobial activity, similar activity pattern was obtained (both in disc diffusion and MIC tests). Antimicrobial activity of S. aramiensis was followed by S. aucheri var. aucheri and S. pilifera, respectively. In these experiments, the most sensitive microorganism Acinetobacter lwoffii was followed by Candida albicans. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.