Salvia sclarea L.

Last updated: 18 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Salvia sclarea L.  


Aethiopis sclarea (L.) Fourr., Salvia altilabrosa Pan, Salvia calostachya Gand., Salvia coarctata Vahl, Salvia foetida Lam., Salvia haematodes Scop. [Illegitimate], Salvia lucana Cavara & Grande, Salvia pamirica Gand., Salvia simsiana Schult., Salvia turkestanica Noter, Sclarea vulgaris Mill. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Clary, clary-sage, clear-eye [2]
Arab Kaff ed-dubb [2]
France Sauge sclarée [3]
Germany Muscateller Salbei [3]
Spain Salvia muscatel [3]
Italy Salvia sclarea [3].

Geographical Distributions

Salvia sclarea is native to Europe, (historically Italy, Switzerland and France). S. sclarea is now cultivated globally. [4]

Botanical Description

S. sclarea is a member of the Lamiaceae family. It is a biennial plant and the largest genus in the family [4].

The plant grows to about 1.5 metre tall with taproot. It has hairy erect stalk. Th leaves are wide, woody, and oval. The flowers bloom on July, white or light-violet, and in terminal clusters. [3]

The S. sclarea oil fragnance is floral, sweet, and herbaceous with a balsamic undertone. [5]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

S. sclarea has been reported to contain terpenic alcohols (e.g. linalool, α-terpineol, geraniol), terpenic esters (e.g. linalyl acetate), sesquiterpenol (e.g. sclareol), terpene, oxide, ketone, aldehyde, and ether. [4][6][7][8]

Plant Part Used

Flowering tops, leaves. [3]

Traditional Use

No documentation. 

Preclinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

The essential oil of S. sclarea showed cytotoxic activity in vitro against human, peripheral blood, leukemia, pre-B cell lines (NALM-6). [9]

Antimicrobial activity


S. sclarea essential oil was tested against AspergillusPenicilliumFusarium species and Trichoderma virideMucor mucedo and Aspergillus viride, among other fungi.  The oil was most effective against Cladosporium fulvumAlternaria alternataPhomopsis helianthi, and Phoma macdonaldii. [10]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings


A study of college age women investigated the effect of aromatherapy on dysmenorrheal.  A mixture of clary sage, lavender and rose essential oils were applied topically in one of three groups; control, placebo or treatment groups. The participants were not using contraceptives and were clear of any reproductive diseases. The results showed that the menstrual cramps were lower in the aromatherapy group than in either of the other two groups tested. [11]


One of the largest aromatherapy studies ever to be conducted examined over 8,000 pregnant women and the use of ten essential oils during delivery. The essential oils were used topically and through inhalation, however did not have any effect on delivery or the need for pain reduction during labor. Conversely, clary sage and chamomile did alleviate pain during labor. It was suggested that these oils reduced fear, pain and anxiety during childbirth. [12]


The oil is generally non-toxic, but skin sensitization has been reported on using oxidised oil. Thus, old or oxidised oil should be avoided. [13] 

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Salvia sclarea L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 11]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume V R-Z. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 141.
  3. Burdock GA. Fenaroli's handbook of flavor ingredients. 5th ed. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2005; p. 334.
  4. Farka P, Hollá M, Tekel J, Mellen S, Vaverková S. Composition of the essential oils from the flowers and leaves of Salvia sclarea L. (Lamiaceae) cultivated in Slovak Republic. J Essen Oil Res. 2005;17(2):141-144.
  5. Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: A guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.
  6. Pitarokili D, Couladis M, Petsikos-Panayotarou N, Tzakou O. Composition and antifungal activity on soil-borne pathogens of the essential oil of Salvia sclarea from Greece. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(23):6688-6691.
  7. Dzumayev KK, Tsibulskya IA, Zenkevich IG, Tkachenko KG, Satzyperova IF. Essential oils of Salvia sclarea L. produced from plants grown in southern Uzbekistan. J Essen Oil Res. 1995;7(6):597-604.
  8. Souleles C. Constituents of the essential oil of Salvia sclarea growing wild in Greece. Pharma Biol. 1997;35(3):218-220.
  9. Kuźma L, Kalemba D, Rózalski M, et al. Chemical composition and biological activities of essential oil from Salvia sclarea plants regenerated in vitro. Molecules. 2009;14(4):1438-1447.
  10. Dzamic A, Sokovic M, Ristic M, Grujic-jonavonic S, Vukojevic J, Marin PD. Chemical composition and antifungal activity of Salvia Sclarea (Lamiaceae) essential oil. Arch Biol Sci. 2008;60(2):233-237.
  11. Han SH, Hur MH, Buckle J, Choi J, Lee MS. Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrhea in college students: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2006;12(6):535-541.
  12. Burns E, Blamey C, Ersser SJ, Lloyd AJ, Barnetson L. The use of aromatherapy in intrapartum midwifery practice an observational study. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2000;6(1):33-34.
  13. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential oil safety a guide for health care professionals. London: Churchill Livingston; 1995.