Clary Sage Benefits

Clary Sage
Latin Name

Salvia sclarea

Also Known As

Clary Wort, Clear Eye, Muscatel Sage, Salvia Romana, See Bright, Toute-Bonne


Southern Europe, Africa, Asia

Parts Used

Flowering tops & leaves

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Clary Sage is a herbaceous biennial with beautiful lilac flowers. Nowadays it is most commonly used to support feminine health and hormones, however it has a long history of traditional use as an eye healer and as a remedy to other vision related conditions. It takes its botanical name from the Latin “clarus”, meaning clear, and it was referred to as “clear-eye” by the famous herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in his “Complete Herbal” (1653).

The young, tender leaves of Clary Sage can be used in culinary dishes and are also used to flavour vermouths, wines and liqueurs.

In traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda, it is classed as an all-round beneficial tonic that brings the three doshas into balance. It is believed to soothe the mind and body, inspire mental clarity, enhance physical and emotional strength and encourage restful sleep.

Clary Sage Benefits

Female Sexual Health

Hormone Balance

Clary Sage is rich in natural “phytoestrogens” – compounds that mimic the effects of oestrogen in the human body. In particular, the essential oil contains sclareol – a compound that has an oestrogen-like structure that not only mimics the effects of oestrogen, it stimulates the body to produce its own oestrogen. Furthermore, if there is not an oestrogen deficiency, sclareol will not create more oestrogen in the body – this is the wisdom of nature.

Therefore, sclareol ensures that hormones are correctly balanced, which provides powerful relief from PMT (premenstrual tension) and menstrual pain/cramps.


Research published in 2000 found that Clary Sage is effective at alleviating labour pain. Additionally, it was found to be effective in reducing the maternal anxiety and fear experienced in labour. The researchers found that the use of aromatherapy appeared to facilitate a reduction in the use of systemic opioids in the study centre, from 6 percent in 1990 to 0.4 percent in 1997 (per woman).


Clary Sage has been the focus of many studies involved in ascertaining the usefulness of essential oils as a natural remedy to menopause symptoms. For instance, a 2014 study published in the “Journal of Phytotherapy Research” was carried out on 22 post-menopausal women who were diagnosed with depression. It reported that inhalation of Clary Sage essential oil reduced cortisol levels by 36 percent and improved thyroid hormone levels. The researchers concluded that Clary Sage essential oil, “had a statistically significant effect on lowering cortisol and had an anti-depressant effect improving mood in post-menopausal women”.

Clary Sage oil is high in monoterpenes, monoterpenols, esters, ethers and sesquiterpenols - phytochemicals that help to reduce hot flushes by their hormone balancing effects and nervine properties. The natural phytoestrogens also help to slow the development of osteoporosis, a condition that poses an extra risk to menopausal women.


As a naturally sedative and relaxing essential oil, Clary Sage induces feelings of calmness and has been proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

"Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" published a study in 2017 of 53 nurses who had a rotating night shift. They were divided into two groups - one group were massaged using a blend of lavender, grapefruit extract, clary sage and neroli essential oils. The essential oil group were massaged using a blend of lavender, grapefruit extract, clary sage and neroli essential oils. The study concluded that this group showed significant improvement in the sleep quality of nurses working rotating night shifts.

Skin Health

Containing several compounds that promote glowing skin, the Clary Sage benefits to healthy skin are many.

Alpha-terpineol is anti-fungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It also makes the skin more susceptible to of absorbing the beneficial ingredients from other skincare products.

Linalyl Acetate is an "ester" that works in a similar way to Jojoba oil. It helps to control and regulate sebum production, helping dry skin to retain moisture or controlling excessively oily skin. This compound also naturally soothes irritated, itchy skin.

Clary Sage is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial, making it effective against acne, rosacea and other skin conditions. Always dilute the essential oil before applying it to skin. Research which carrier oils will benefit which particular skin conditions to create your own personal natural skincare range.

Typical Use

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Can be used in the bath, or vapourised in an oil burner. It can be added to a massage oil or cream. Use 6-8 drops per bath and 10 -18 drops per 30ml of carrier oil. See Essential Oil Dosage Chart.

Folklore and History

Clary Sage made its first appearance in written history in 77AD, when the salvia family of plants was described by Pliny the Elder (Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher). It was used widely in folk medicine throughout the ancient world - the Romans used Clary Sage for a variety of ailments, including as an eyewash and as a remedy for many women’s health concerns.

In ancient Greece, mucilage from the seed was mixed with water and applied to swellings and tumours. It was also used to draw out thorns, splinters and other debris from the skin.

The essential oil includes soothing and relaxing properties that have been used since at least the Middle Ages to rejuvenate and calm the skin. It has also long been known to support and regulate the female reproductive system such as during menstruation, childbirth and, menopause. Throughout history, it was also considered an aphrodisiac and used as an ingredient in brewing ales and added to wine to make it more intoxicating.

Clary Sage

Esters as linalyl acetate, geranyl acetate, neryl acetate, alcohols as linalool, sclareol, a-terpineol, a-bisabolol, sesquiterpenes as caryophyllene, germacrene, bourbonene, monoterpenes, oxides, acids, lactones, coumarins, ketones & aldehydes.


Do not use during pregnancy. Not recommended for children. Do not use after consuming alcohol. 

Clary Sage interacts with Chloral hydrate and hexobarbitone. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner if you are taking prescription medications.