Clary sage

Last Updated: September 28, 2022

Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage) is a herb commonly used as an aromatic. Belonging to the Mint family of plants, the 'relaxing' effects of the aromas may be related to preliminary evidence suggesting anti-depressant effects.

Clary sage is most often used for


Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) is a herb in the mint family traditionally used as a relaxing agent and aromatic, with a fair bit of literature suggesting it is used for for menopausal women.

There is a lack of large-scale studies to support the usage of Clary Sage as an aromatic, but the evidence that exists currently is supportive. One study in rodents (in which the rodents were essentially hot boxed with Clary Sage) noted anti-depressive effects after a single exposure and one study in female humans has noted a reduction in systolic blood pressure and respiratory rate 60 minutes after inhalation (study was placebo controlled and blinded, as to omit the possibility of the placebo effect).

Two studies exist using combination therapy of Clary Sage, Lavender, and another herb (one study used Rose oil, the other Marjoram) which have confirmed that this herbal aromatic therapy appears to be more effective than placebo in relieving menstrual pain in persons who self-report that they have more menstrual pain than average (on a scale of 1-10, participants had to rate a 5 or higher to be included in the study).

There are some immunological interactions with may be important to anti-cancer effects, but currently these studies are investigating the activity of the bioactive known as (-)-Sclareol which is unlikely to be located in the aroma. The anti-cancer effects, although interesting, are currently preliminary and not associated with aromatherapy.

What are other names for Clary sage?
Note that Clary sage is also known as:
  • Clary Sage
  • Salvia Sclarea
Clary sage should not be confused with:
  • Salvia divinorum (street drug)
Dosage information

If using Clary Sage for aromatherapy, enough should be lit (if using incense) to confer a pleasant aroma. The two studies using combination therapy noted that a cream containing 1 concentration drop of Clary Sage to 2 drops of Lavender in 5cc of volume was rubbed on the abdomen (the scent would remain on the body for a while).

Due to the exact bioactives not being known, quantifying the right dose for aromatherapy is difficult.

There is insufficient evidence to suggest an optimal oral dose of Clary Sage for any purpose.

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