Clary Sage

Clary Sage

Salvea sclarea

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves & Flowers
  • Side Effects:
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About Clary Sage

Clary sage is a little less reactive than sage and its aroma is immensely cheered for catering to nervous tensions. It is a short-lived herbaceous plant that waves from the mint family Lamiaceae.

Clary sage can attain a prominent height of 4 feet on the support of squared, hairy stems. Its leaves are also hairy, quite long, and come in beautiful purplish color. The flowers of the clary sage plant are arranged in a whorled fashion, showcasing variable colors, including mauve, lilac, or white with pink spots on the edge.

Clary sage is famous for its heavy essential oil that imparts floral scent with herbaceous notes and everything that speaks of the earth. Its soothing scent is reported to be quite fruitful in supporting menopausal symptoms and menstrual issues due to its estrogenic properties. It is employed in aromatherapies that are meant to reduce stress and anxiety. This natural antidepressant also manifests antibacterial properties and is documented to have healed dermatological infections due to Staphylococcus bacteria.

The remarkable scent of clary sage has earned it a reputable position in the perfume industry. Its flower tops are either steam distilled or extracted with a suitable solvent. Its colorless, volatile, and non-oily characteristics have made it a perfect match as a perfumery ingredient.


Clary sage can be started with its seeds easily before the last expected frost date the frost dates according to the zones are as follows:

  • USDA growing zone 5: April 7-30
  • USDA growing zone 6: April 1-21
  • USDA growing zone 7: March 22-3
  • USDA growing zone 8: March 13-28
  • USDA growing zone 9: February 6-28

After broadcasting the seeds over a well-drained, sandy soil with a pH of 4.8 to 7.5, they must be lightly covered with the soil as they require light to grow.

On the other hand, for indoor plantation, clary sage seeds must be sown 8 weeks before the last frost date. The plant should be mulched heavily to protect its roots from the harsh winters. It has average watering needs. The soil should be checked for dryness before watering again as too much water can subject the plant to root rot.


The seeds of clary sage are harvested when the flowers are in the late bloom stage, also known as the milky stage. The flower stalks are with leaves can also be harvested during its second year as they are reported to possess a good load of oils.

The seeds, leaves, flower stalks, and flowers are zealously harvested via sharp scissors or gardening shears.

The aerial parts of the clary sage plant are dried in a well-ventilated space, away from the direct sunlight or in a shady space. The aerial parts can then be crumbled by hand or crushed in a grinder, or even stored in an intact form in an airtight container.


Apart from smudging in religious ceremonies and being employed in perfumery, clary sage has found its way in the medicinal world and is now molded into different preparations.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped clary sage leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried clary sage leaves or flowers are steeped in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes and drank to impart a calming and euphoric effect.
  • Decoction - Clary sage seeds are decocted in water yield a mucilaginous decoction.
  • Salve - Clary sage essential oil is united with beeswax and peppermint essential oils to make a salve.
  • Syrup - Dried clary sage leaves and flowers are boiled with sugar, lemon juice, and water to make the syrup.d
  • Infused oil - Olive oil and clary sage leaves are allowed to sit in a dark and cool spot for three weeks. During the process, the bottle is shaken at least twice or thrice a week. The plant material is strained and the oil is saved for days.