Clary Sage Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses and Safety Info

The pastel purple flowers and soft green leaves of the Salvia sclarea perennial offer a sweet, woodsy, floral, fruity, herbaceous, slightly balsamic aroma to its essential oil. Along with helping to ease muscle spasms, clary sage essential oil can help reduce minor pain and inflammation.

This essential oil may help minimize the presence of unwelcome bacterial activity and work to boost a compromised immune system. Clary sage essential oil is a lovely support for healthy lung function and can help open the airways during a minor asthma attack.

Emotionally and energetically, clary sage essential oil is uplifting and nourishing. This essential oil can help manage situational anxiety and depression. (1)

It works to unblock or release stagnant energy. Clary sage essential oil allows creative inspiration to flow freely, often helping in times of indecision or emotional confusion.

A word of caution: Some women have reported significantly increased menstrual flow when used during an already heavy period.

1. Get Relief from Cramps

Clary Sage is not only an antispasmodic, it’s also a great pain reliever.  The two actions together calm muscle stiffness and spasms, reducing premenstrual tension in turn easing menstrual cramps.  Cypress has similar actions and the two together will kick those cramps right out. Consider a Sitz or Hip bath to help ease cramps.  It works remarkably well for these circumstances.  Anytime you want to ease pain or discomfort, inflammation or speed up healing, soaking in the warm water will increase blood flow to the area, easing discomfort and increasing your healing.

There may be situations where a sitz bath may not heal your condition, but it can bring great relief to many associated symptoms. Choice of other oils for menstruation discomfort include Basil ct. Linalool, Bergamot Citrus bergamia, Jasmine Jasminum officinale, Lavender Lavendula angustifolia and Sweet Marjoram Origanum officinalis.  Run 3-4 inches of warm water in your tub and add a single or combination of oils.  For a regular size tub, you could use 5-20 drops per ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) of carrier oil. Blend your essential oils with your carrier prior to adding to your water to keep essential oils from adhering to the skin and possible irritation.

2. Help the Flow of Your Menstrual Cycle

Clary Sage is an Emmenagogue, which means it has the ability to induce or promote the menstrual cycle. Along with helping your cycle along, as prementioned it will keep the pain and discomfort down as well as keep those spasms under control making your cycle a whole lot more tolerable.

3. Calm PMS

Mood swings, bloating, headaches and general grumpiness can be reduced or even completely eliminated with this essential oil. Inhalation is your best route of application for any kind of mood issues.  Amazon carries inhalers and you can add up to 15 drops per inhaler.   Begin using it about a week before you expect your next menstrual period or as soon as you begin to notice PMS symptoms.

Important Note: Whatever you choose for an oil, make sure that the oils you purchase are high quality. Remember, you’re breathing this oil into your lungs so essential oil quality is a terrible place to cut corners.

4. Balance Hormone Levels

Utilize clary sage oil’s wonderful estrogen-balancing properties.  It’s through observation that it seems to be helpful for women suffering from excess estrogen and post-menopausal women who have been struggling with depression.  Direct inhalation through the olfactory system is best.  You can purchase blank inhalers at Amazon or other retailers.  Add 15 drops of Clary Sage.  Use your inhaler as often as needed. For diffusers, add up to 15 drops or per diffuser instructions and run at 30-minute intervals.

5. Relieve Stress

Add anywhere from 5-20 drops of clary sage essential oil to your favorite carrier oil.  Add your blend to bath salts to avoid a slippery tub, then into warm bath water and take a good, long soak. Your stress and anxiety will melt away. You can also put 15 drops in your aromatherapy diffuser to get the same effect. It is believed through observation that Clary sage naturally reduces cortisol levels in your system. Your body produces cortisol when you are stressed in order to control your blood pressure and protect your immune system. Unfortunately, excess cortisol, which occurs when you are constantly stressed, can produce spikes in your blood sugar levels, prevent restful sleep and cause you to retain excess weight in your abdomen.

6. Fight Depression

Utilize clary sage oil’s natural mood-boosting properties to fight depression and reduce anxiety. You can add up to 15 drops in your diffuser and run it for 30 minutes a few times a day to naturally lift your mood.  Other options can include combining your Clary sage with a carrier oil, add into bath salts and into your bath.  I’ve also provided you with a blend to consider.  This can be used in a tub, diffuser or personal inhaler.

Uplifting Blend

  • 10 Drops Clary Sage Salvea sclarea
  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • 10 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 4 drops Rose Geranium Pelargonium roseum x asperum

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7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A 2017 randomized controlled trial compared the effectiveness of aromatherapy and acupressure massage on the quality of life in career women. 132 participants were equally assigned to four groups: placebo, Lavender, blend of Lavender, Clary Sage and Marjoram (equal parts), and acupressure massage.

The placebo and aromatherapy treatments consisted of a 20 minutes long diffusion three times a week with water, or water plus 5 drops of Lavender, or 5 drops of EO blend in an ultrasonic diffuser. The acupressure massage was given for 45 minutes once a week. Quality of life and sleep quality scores were taken at the beginning of the trial and after four weeks.

The aromatherapy blend had the greatest positive effect on both measured scores, with a sleep quality increase of 46% and quality of life increase of 39.7%. Both the Lavender inhalation and acupressure massage had significant, yet lower effects. The placebo group saw little to no improvement.

This shows that a blend of essential oils may be more effective than a single essential oil, presumably due to a synergistic effect. Whether this is fragrant synergy, pharmacological synergy or both is not known. (3)  Give the following a try and sleep tight.

  • 2-ounce unscented lotion
  • 10 drops Clary Sage Salvea sclarea
  • 10 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 10 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
  • 10 drops Vetiver Chrysopogon zizanioides or Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizanioides

8. Improve Digestion

Research has shown that Clary sage attributes to calming symptoms that interrupt the digestive tract.  For colic, cramping, gassy or spasmodic gut, Clary sage may ease these symptoms along with easing constipation and flatulence.  (3)

Topically, blending it at 5% maximum, 2% for those that are pregnant is recommended.  Along with other digestive easing oils, you can calm your gut right down.  My recommendation would be to use topically as well as inhalation which goes directly to the blood stream, working quickly to calm your digestive tract and emotionally support you as well. Try the following blend:

Belly Calming

  • 10 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea 
  • 5 drops Peppermint Mentha x piperita     
  • 10 drops Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 2-ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion

9. Wound Healing

Clary sage has remarkable wound healing abilities.  The results of the referenced in vitro tests encourage to use formulations containing sage oil as the active natural antimicrobial agent. Because of its antimicrobial properties Clary sage oil may be applied to treat wounds and skin infections. The study performed in February of 2015 showed Clary effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Staphylococcus xylosus. (4)

Wound healing can include other skin healing oils (cicatrisants). Once your wound has scabbed over, try the following blend.  Amongst other great carrier (lipid) oils to blend with for wound and scar healing include Tamanu or Trauma oil.  I would recommend blending at 5% for the first few weeks, then cut back as needed. This all depends on the extent of the wound and also the recipient’s age and safety advice.

Wounds and Scarring

  • One-ounce carrier oil
  • 10 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea  
  • 4 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 3 drop Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 2 drops Myrrh Commiphora myrrha
  • 4 drops Manuka Leptospermum scoparium ct east cape

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10. Soothe Achy Joints

Use clary sage essential oil to reduce inflammation in your joints. Try the following blend to ease achy joints by reducing the inflammation. Also consider your diet when achy joints are present.  By cutting back foods that contribute to your flare ups and drinking plenty of water, you may find your pain scale lowered.  The following can be added to bath salts for soaking as well.

Painful Joints

  • One-ounce carrier oil
  • 6 Drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 4 drops Hemlock Tsuga canadensis
  • 4 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 2 drops Patchouli Pogostemom cablin
  • 2 drops Hemp Sativa

11. Treat Skin Rashes

Mix clary sage EO into a light carrier oil like jojoba or argan oil and use it to treat rashes or just improve your skin health in general. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties will soothe and heal just about any type of rash, leaving your skin clear and moisturized. However, it must be used within its suggested maximum to be effective without risk. I like using it along with skin healing (cicatrisant) essential oils which only strengthens the oil’s abilities.  Try the following blend.  This is approximately 2% but you can go as high as 5% with Clary sage, 2% for those that are pregnant.

Skin Healing

  • One-ounce Sweet Almond Oil
  • 5 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 4 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 4 drops German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
  • 2 drops Patchouli Pogostemom cablin

12. Clear up and Prevent Acne

Use clary sage essential oil to clear up acne and help prevent future break-outs. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it ideal for this use, but there is something else that makes it especially suitable for fighting acne. Those with frequent acne breakouts often have oily or combination skin types, which are characteristic of overactive sebaceous glands.  Clary sage EO controls sebum production. Sebum is oil that your skin produces. It is at the root of all types of acne. Wash in the morning and night with a mild face-wash then use the following blend to cleanse and moisturize your skin. (5)

Acne Care

  • One-ounce Carrier of choice (see our carrier article)
  • 5 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 4 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 3 drops Geranium Pelatgonium roseum x asperum
  • 4 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum​

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13. Meditation Time

Take advantage of clary sage’s natural calming and soothing properties while you meditate. It calms your mind, facilitating deep, relaxing, rejuvenating meditation. Try the following blend next time you meditate. Settle into your favorite meditation place, turning lights down low, adding candles, pillows, whatever makes you the most comfortable. Add oils to your diffuser and diffuse up to one hour as you meditate. Reaching a deep meditative state takes some practice, but once it is achieved, along with beautiful oils with meditative properties, you can reach a state of peace and renew-ness. This is one of my favorite “my” times.

Meditative Diffuser Blend

  • 5 drops Patchouli Pogostemom cablin
  • 2 drops Sweet Orange Citrus senisis
  • 3 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 2 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 1 drops Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata var. geruina​

14. Lower Blood Pressure

Take advantage of clary sage oil’s natural blood pressure-lowering properties to get your high blood pressure under control. This essential oil actually relaxes your brain and your arteries which lowers your blood pressure. It will also improve your blood oxygen levels, resulting in a better supply of oxygen for your organs and muscles. You can place up to 15 drops of essential oil into your diffuser as well as make some personal inhalers to have on hand.  Direct inhalation is the most effective way to use your essential oils.  Direct inhalation involves access to the Limbic system and direct access to the circulatory system.  This will help to quickly lower your blood pressure. Consult with your doctor prior to using clary sage oil if you are already on blood-pressure medication.  Use alone or alongside other blood pressure lowering essential oils such as Ylang Ylang.

*Do not use clary sage essential oil if you have low blood pressure. It will lower it too much.*

15. Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

Utilize clary sage essential oil’s natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to lower your cholesterol levels. Its ability to reduce stress and enhance circulation make it a very effective cholesterol-reducing essential oil. Run your diffuser with 15 drops of this oil in the evening for 45 minutes. Consult with your doctor prior to using clary sage oil if you are already on cholesterol medication.

16. Get Relief from Asthma Symptoms

You can add 15 drops of Clary sage to a personal inhaler or try half Clary sage and half Lavender Lavendula angustifolia.  Or mix 8 drops each lavender essential oil and clary sage essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil of choice for a soothing, asthma-relief blend. Rub the mixture into your chest or back. If you are being treated for asthma, discuss the use of essential oils with your physician before using them.  Remember, essential oils can also trigger an asthma attack.

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17. Soothe Sore Throats and Quiet Coughs

Clary sage works great to get those heavy coughs under control.   The following can be added to a personal inhaler, diffused or add to one ouncer carrier and use as a chest rub.

  • 3 drops Basil (sweet) Ocimum basilicum ct linalool
  • 4 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 3 drops Cypress Cupressus sempervirens
  • 2 drops Hyssop ct 1,8-cineole Hyssopus officinalis var decumbens
  • 4 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia 

*Essential oils are discouraged during first trimester of pregnancy and during nursing.*

18. Excellent for The Elderly

Clary sage is said to ease nervous tension, is mildly intoxicating and euphoric.  It’s also inspiring and eases fear and paranoia.  This seems to be very effective in calming the elderly with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. It’s also calming to those going through midlife crisis.

19. Improve Hair

Mix together 3 drops each of clary sage and rosemary Ct. Camphor essential oil and add to your cap of shampoo or conditioner. Wash or rinse as usual and enjoy the cooling effect. It will moisturize your scalp and encourage thick, healthy hair growth.

20. Awaken Your Libido

Use clary sage EO to give your low libido a jump start. Because it balances hormones and provides relaxation, it is often used to enhance sexual desire, especially in menopausal women. Put up to 15 drops of Clary sage or your favorite blend with Clary sage oil in your diffuser and run it late in the evening or while enjoying a romantic evening with that special someone.  Or add to your favorite oil and enjoy a romantic massage.

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21. Reduce the Frequency and Severity of Seizures

Clary sage has been noted to reduce epileptic seizures.  This may be due to the ability to open the circulatory system and lowering of blood pressure that occurs when using Clary sage.  Try the following inhaler.  I recommend my clients keep them on hand for emergency situations. Consult your physician if you are having seizures.

  • One Inhaler
  • 7 drops Clary Salvia sclarea
  • 7 drops Rosemary Ct. Camphor or Ct. Cineole
  • 2 drops  Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus​


  3. The Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Clary Sage pg. 385
  5. Acne