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Salvia sclarea

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.

Our evidence-based analysis on salvia sclarea features 22 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Salvia sclarea

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

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.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

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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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Salvia sclarea has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in systolic blood pressure resulted in response to clary sage aromatherapy, to a small degree and likely not able to exert long-term benefit (probably more indicative of short-term CNS depression)
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in cortisol may result following inhalation of clary sage, but the magnitude of reduction (2.5%) is very small
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in heart rate has been noted acutely in response to the aroma of clary sage

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Omitted due to including Lavender and at least one other aromatic[1][2]

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Clary Sage

Do Not Confuse With

Salvia divinorum (street drug)

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Click here to see all 22 references.