Monday, March 14, 2011

Salvia sclarea - Clary Sage

Salvia sclarea - Clary Sage, also called clarry, orvale, toute-bonne, clear eye.

The large leaves of the Clary Sage 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.


The Romans called it sclarea, from claurus, or “clear,” because they used it as an eyewash. German merchants added clary and elder flowers to Rhine wine to make it imitate a good Muscatel and 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.  It has been used as an anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bactericidal. 

Clary is used to reduce muscle spasms and combined with other herbs has been used for kidney problems. It is also regarded as a 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. This makes the plant a valuable remedy for complaints associated with menopause, particularly hot flashes. It is used today mainly to treat digestive problems such as gas and indigestion. Other uses for Clary Sage include treatment of acne, boils, dandruff, hair loss, inflamed conditions, oily skin and hair, opthalmia, ulcers, wrinkles.

Caution: Avoid during pregnancy. Do not use clary sage oil while drinking alcohol, it can induce a narcotic effect and exaggerate drunkenness.

Essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowering tops and leaves. Salvia sclarea is used as a fragrance and fixative in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and perfumes. It blends well with bergamot, cardomom, cedarwood, coriander, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, lavender, pine, and sandalwood. The oil is also used extensively by the food and drink industry, especially in the production of wines with a muscatel flavor.

Clary is a popular herb in the Neopagan community, being a prominent ingredient in love spells and dream devination. It is claimed to produce vivid dreams and enhance dream recall.

The young tops of Clary are 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 and fried as fritters.


Germination is in 12-15 days. Space 2-3 feet apart. Soil temperature 70F. Soil should be well drained. Moist is preferred ,but it tolerates dry conditions and likes full sun. Seedlings started in spring will flower the following season. Plants self-sow.




1 comment:

Salvia divinorum said...

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