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CLARY SAGE p 302 of 1237
Salvia sclarea

Family: Lamiaceae

Names: clarry, orvale, toute-bonne, clear eye

Description: The large leaves grow off a central stalk that bends with the weight of the flowers. It grows to a height of 3 feet with a width of 1 foot. The flowers are lilac or pale blue, pink or white, in whorls on top of the stems, with the upper lip curled up. The leaves are broad oval or heart-shaped, in pairs, 6-9 inches long, covered with fine silver-white hairs, almost stalkless. It blooms from June to July.

Cultivation: A biennial to zone 6. Germination is in 12-15 days. Space 2-3 feet apart. Soil temperature 70F. Soil should be well drained, fertile. Moist is preferred but it tolerates dry conditions with a pH of 5.3 to 7.2. Full sun. Seedlings started in spring will flower the following season. Plants self-sow.

History: The Romans called it sclarea, from claurus, or “clear,” because they used it as an eyewash. The practice of German merchants of adding clary and elder flowers to Rhine wine to make it imitate a good Muscatel was so common that Germans still call the herb Muskateller Salbei and the English know it as Muscatel Sage. Clary sometimes replaced hops in beer to produce an enhanced state of intoxication and exhilaration, although this reportedly was often followed by a severe headache. It was considered a 12 th-century aphrodisiac.

Part used: herb/flowering tops and foliage

Constituents: linalyl acetate, linalol, pinene, myrcene, saponine and phellandrene.

Actions: anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bactericidal.

Medicinal Uses: Like its relative sage, clary tea, the leaf juice in ale or beer, was recommended for many types of women’s problems, including delayed or painful menstruation. It was once used to stop night sweating in tuberculosis patients. An astringent is gargled, douched and poured over skin wounds. It is combined with other herbs for kidney problems. The clary seeds form a thick mucilage when soaked for a few minutes and placed in the eye, helps to removed, small irritating particles. A tea of the leaves is also used as an eyewash. Clary is also used to reduce muscle spasms. It is used today mainly to treat digestive problems such as gas and indigestion. It is also regarded as a tonic, calming herb that helps relieve premenstrual problems. Because of its estrogen-stimulating action, clary sage is most effective when levels of this hormone are low. The plant can therefore be a valuable remedy for complaints associated with menopause, particularly hot flashes.

Aromatherapy Uses:
EXTRACTION: Essential oil by steam distillation from the flowering tops and leaves. A concrete and absolute are also produced by solvent extraction in small quantities.
CHARACTERISTICS: A colorless or pale yellowy-green liquid with a sweet, nutty-herbaceous scent.
NOTE: top to middle
BLENDS WELL WITH: juniper, lavender, coriander, cardomom, geranium, sandalwood, cedarwood, pine, labdanum, jasmine, frankincense, bergamot and other citrus oils
USES: Skin care: acne, boils, dandruff, hair loss, inflamed conditions, oily skin and hair, opthalmia, ulcers, wrinkles.

Circlation, Muscles and Joints: high blood pressure, muscular aches and pains.
Respratory System: Asthma, throat infections, whooping cough

Digestive System: cramp, dyspepsia, flatulence. Soothes digestive problems such as gas and gastric spasm.

Genito-urinary system: amenorrhea, labor pain, dysmenorrhea, leucorrhea. A good tonic for the womb and helpful with uterine problems. A hormone balancer.

Nervous system: depression, frigidity, impotence, migraine, nervous tension and stress-related disorders.

Spirit: rejuvenating, balancing, inspiring, revitalizing

General: The essential oil lends strength, both psychological and physical. While it helps reduce deep-seated tension, it remains stimulating, regenerative, and revitalizing. This is the oil chosen for treating nervousness, weakness, fear, paranoia, and depression. Clary feeds the soul and helps us get through rough times. It is recommended when pressures and stress come from outside. The oil is very relaxing. Particularly recognized as useful for people involved in creative work. It lends us the courage to do things we haven’t done in a long time. Wonderful for people in mid-life crisis. Clary helps bring us more closely in touch with the Dreamworld. It seems to encourage vivid dreams or at least enhance dream recall.

Circulatory: 6 drops clary sage, 3 drops lavender, 2 drops Melissa
Respiratory: 4 drops clary sage, 3 drops benzoin, 3 drops sandalwood
Reproductive: 6 drops clary sage, 3 drops geranium, 2 drops marjoram
Emotion: 5 drops clary sage, 4 drops ylang-ylang, 3 drops cedarwood
Anti-sorrow fragrance: 4 oz sweet almond oil, 10 drops marjoram EO, 5 drops each clary sage and cypress or rosemary EO, 1 drop hyssop EO (optional), 1 drop melissa EO. Combine ingredients.

Cosmetic Uses: It is used to reduce excess oil or dandruff on the scalp and for excessively oily complexions.

Clary Eye Lotion: place a handful of leaves or tops in a saucepan, cover with a cupful of milk or water and simmer over a low flame for 10 minutes. Strain and when lukewarm, bathe the eyes with cotton or use an eye bath.

Love Potion to attract a man: Equal parts of dried lavender, bachelor’s buttons and clary sage, with a pinch of valerian and a sassafras leaf. Place in a small sachet and wear inside the clothing.
Planet: Moon or mercury. Clary is known for its ability to enhance vision, protecting not only one’s physical eyesight but promoting increased skill white in meditation and visionary states. The seeds are the most useful part of the plant for this purpose and may be extracted as a wash to make a magickal lotion which may be used in the magickal healing of afflictions to a person’s sight.

Other Uses: used as fragrance components and fixatives in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and perfumes. The oil is used extensively by the food and drink industry, especially in the production of wines with a muscatel flavor.

Toxicity: non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing. Avoid during pregnancy. Do not use clary sage oil while drinking alcohol, it can induce a narcotic effect and exaggerate drunkenness.

Culinary Uses: The young tops of Clary were used in soups and as pot herbs. It gives a new lift to omelets, and was used to flavor jellies. The leaves were chopped into salads. Culpeper recommended a 17th century sage dish where the fresh leaves were first dipped in a batter of flour, eggs and a little milk, fried in butter and served as a side dish. The flowers have an aromatic flavor and make a lovely contrast in salads. All sage flowers are edible after removing all greenery and stems.


Clary Amulet
8 eggs
2 ½ cups cream
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
dash nutmeg
handful clary, chopped fine
1 Tbsp butter or oil
Beat the eggs then beat in the other ingredients. Fry in butter or oil over low heat. Turn to brown slightly on both sides.

Clary Sage Fritters
For the batter: 4 oz flour
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
¼ pint warm water
1 egg white
12 clary sage flowering brackets
12 clary sage leaves
fresh oil for deep frying
caster sugar
1 Tbsp clary sage flowers removed from the bracts
Make the batter well before you need it: sift the flour into a bowl, add the salt, stir in the oil and mix with enough warm water to give the consistency of fairly thick cream. Leave to stand, covered with a damp cloth or saran wrap, for one to two hours. Just before using, beat the egg white in a clean bowl until it is stiff and fold it into the batter. Rinse the clary sage flower bracts and leaves. Gently shake them dry, then dry them on some kitchen towel. Roll a flower bract in each leaf and dip into the batter one at a time. Shake off any excess batter and drop into a large pan of oil, heated to 360°F. Do not allow them to touch each other in cooking. When done, drain on paper towel and place on a warmed serving dish or hot plate. When all the fritters are cooked, dredge with sugar, sprinkle on the flowers and serve immediately. (Good Enough to Eat)

Clary Sage Omelet
6 eggs
2 Tbsp clary leaves, chopped fine
4 Tbsp grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup flour
¼ cup milk
1 Tbsp butter
Mix the eggs lightly in a bowl, adding sage, cheese, flour and milk. Blend well. Heat butter in a pan until sizzling. Add omelet mixture. Stir, tipping until bottom is covered. When omelet is ‘set’ and light brown underneath, flip over for 1 minute and remove immediately to plate.

Clary Wine
10 gallons water
35 lb loaf sugar
12 eggs
2 pecks of clary blossoms
1 pint good new yeast
Mix sugar, water and well-beaten egg whites. Let boil gently for ½ hour, skimming until the mixture is quite clear. Let stand until cold. Pour into a cask, add 2 pecks of clary blossoms stripped from the stalk and 1 pint of yeast. Stir the wine three times a day for five days. Stop it up, and let stand for twelve months. It may be bottled at the end of six months if perfectly clear.

Clary Sage Jelly
3 tsp clary leaves
½ cup boiling water
1 ½ cup apple juice (unsweetened)
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups honey
1 bottle liquid pectin
Make infusion of clary and water. Strain and add enough water to make ½ cup. Combine with apple and lemon juice and honey in large saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil and add pectin, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 30 seconds and give sheet test for jellying point. Remove from heat and skim. Pour into hot, sterilized glasses and seal. Add yellow food coloring if desired while jelly is boiling.

Along the Garden Path, Bill and Sylvia Varney, Fredericksburg Herb Farm, 1995
Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies, Franzesca Watson, Thorsons, 1995
Good Enough to Eat, Jekka McVicar, Kyle Cathie, Ltd., 1997
Cosmetics from the Earth, Roy Genders, Alfred van der Marck, 1985
Herbs for Health and Healing, Kathi Keville, Rodale, 1997, ISBN: 0-87596-293-9
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Julia Lawless, Element Books, 1995
The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia, Kathi Keville, Mallard Press, 1991
Complete Aromatherapy Handbook, Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, Sterling, 1990
Subtle Aromatherapy, Patricia Davis, C.W. Daniel, 1991
The Directory of Essential Oils, Wanda Sellar, C.W. Daniel, 1992

HERBALPEDIA™ is brought to you by The Herb Growing & Marketing Network,
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Copyright 2000. All rights reserved. Subscription fee: $48/yr. Material herein is derived from journals, textbooks, etc. THGMN cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information contained in any reference noted herein, for the misuse of information or any adverse effects by use of any stated material presented.



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