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Clary Sage

Salvia sclarea

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a biennial herbaceous perennial plant of the Lamiaceae family, native to Europe and Western Asia.

​In the wild, it never grows to more than one–metre in height. Its leaves are hairy on both sides; the top of its quadrangular and branched stems are covered with glandular hairs from which the essential oil is extracted. The purple bell-shaped flowers are highly melliferous.

Main aromatic molecules: Terpene esters (linalyl acetate), monoterpenols (linalool), diterpenols (sclareol), coumarins.
Family: Lamiaceae.
Producing organs: Flowering tops.
Yield: 180g of essential oil per 100kg of flowers.
Equivalence: 1ml → 33 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).


Skin application

Oral route

Sage, the queen of medicinal plants, may be hard (sclarea comes from the Greek sklaros, meaning ”stiff”), but it is first and foremost salutary (salvia comes from the Latin salvare, meaning ”to save”). According to mythology, it grew in abundance in the field where Zeus, the future master of the universe, was breast-fed by Amalthea the goat. It was though to protect against death and to help women give birth. In the Middle Ages, the magician became a saint. Indeed, it was said that, when Joseph and Mary were fleeing Herod’s fierce soldiers with the Divine Child, a sage bush hid them from their pursuers. When mixed with wine, sage improved appetite. It played an important role in the pharmacopoeia and was used to prepare ”eau d’arquebuse”. In the 17th century, tea was introduced into Europe by the Dutch following an exchange against sage, deemed much superior by the Chinese. Our grandmothers made sage decoctions to treat gout, food poisoning and… bad moods.


Extracts from the book ’Aromatherapia – All about essential oils’, by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book ’41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently’ and ’48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy’ by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.

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