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What Does Clary Sage Smell Like? | Scent Profile of Clary Sage with Earthy Aroma

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In the field of aromatherapy, there are a few scents that are multifaceted and evocative, as that of the clary sage essential oil. It is derived from the salvia sclarea plant that unveils a fragrance which is both complex and appealing.

As we dive in the olfactory journey of clary sage essential oil, one shall often wonder: How would one describe its aroma? Is it floral, earthy, or something entirely different? Navigating the sensory landscape of clary sage is an experience in itself, and understanding its scent. Clary sage is an aromatic essential oil-bearing herb, also a member of the mint family. It is widely used in aromatherapy which helps to relieve feelings of nervousness. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe out skin and blemishes [1].

In this article learn about what clary sage smells like, understand the aroma profile of clary sage. Also understand its unique fragrance benefits and uses in aromatherapy to cleanse and for hair and skin care.

What Is Clary Sage?

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family. It is native to the Mediterranean Basin. Recognized for its tall stems adorned with lilac or pale blue flowers, this plant has been revered for centuries not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its medicinal properties.

According to an article published by the asian pacific journal of biomedicine, vol 5, issue 8, clary sage essential oils have relaxing properties and are also known to possess few analgesic properties [2]. 

Clary sage is prominently known today for its essential oil. Extracted from the plant's buds and leaves. Clary sage essential oil is lauded for its therapeutic benefits. Among its properties, it is believed to possess antidepressant effects, act as a natural remedy for insomnia, and help with the symptoms of menstrual and menopausal issues.

Its sweet and herbaceous aroma also makes it a popular choice in aromatherapy, perfumes, and cosmetics, highlighting its multifaceted significance in both historical and contemporary contexts.

Scent Profile of Clary Sage: Features and Characteristics | What does Clary Sage Smell Like?

Clary sage essential oil is derived from salvia sclarea plant. It is an important component in the world of aromatherapy and perfumery.

Its distinctive aroma has many captivating characteristics. Let’s understand the scent profile of clary sage essential oil. According to an article published by Plant biology, 2018, clary sage essential oil is known to help faster recovery of minor wounds as well [3].

Aromatic Profile of Clary Sage Essential Oil: Learn about the pleasant smell of Clary sage essential oil

Aromatic Profile of Clary Sage Essential Oil



Primary Scent

Herbaceous and floral. 

Secondary Note

Slightly woody and tea-like.


Moderate to strong.


Rich and smooth.

Blend Compatibilities 

Lavender, geranium, sandalwood, cedar wood, and citrus oils.

Clary Sage Essential Oil: Scent Characteristics



Herbaceous and Floral 

The dominant scent of Clary sage is both herbal and floral. It reminds of dried herbs combined with light floral undertones.

Woody Undertones

Beneath the surface lies a faint woody note, which gives the oil a grounded feel.

Tea-like Nuances

Clary sage has its own unique nuance that resembles the aroma of brewed tea, adding depth to its profile.


Its unique profile makes it a versatile component in blending, harmonizing well with both floral oils like lavender and more robust scents like cedarwood.

Comparison of Clary Sage with other Variety of Sage

The following are the type of sage with different kinds of sage: 

Difference between Clary Sage and Sage


Clary Sage


Botanical Name

Salvia sclarea.

Salvia officinalis.

Plant Family




Mediterranean Basin.

Mediterranean region.

Part of Plant Used

Flowering tops and foliage.



Sweet, nutty, herbaceous.

Sharp, peppery, herbaceous.

Primary Uses


Cooking, medicinal purposes, and digestive aid.

Essential Oil

Clary Sage essential oil is known for its calming properties and benefits to the skin.

Sage essential oil has antimicrobial properties and can be stimulating in nature.

Difference between Clary Sage vs White Sage


Clary Sage

White Sage 

Botanical Name

Salvia Sclarea

Salvia Apiana 

Plant Family




Mediterranean Basin

Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico

Part of Plant Used

Flowering tops and foliage



Biennial or perennial plant with tall stems and purple or white flowers.

Perennial shrub with silvery-white leaves and tall flower stalks.


Sweet, nutty, herbaceous.

Strong, aromatic, slightly bitter.

Primary Uses

Aromatherapy and calming properties. 

Air purification and traditional medicine. 

Essential Oil

Clary Sage essential oil is known for its calming properties and benefits to the skin.

White Sage essential oil can be used for spiritual rituals and has aromatic properties.

Clary Sage Essential Oil: DIY Recipes for Hair, Skin and Aromatherapy

1. Relaxing Pillow Spray


  • 10 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 1 oz distilled water
  • 1 oz witch hazel


  1. Combine witch hazel and essential oils in a spray bottle.
  2. Add distilled water and shake well.
  3. Spray onto your pillow before bedtime and can be used for relaxing.

2. Relieving Roller Blend


  • 5 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 5 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops Geranium essential oil
  • 10 ml carrier oil (e.g., fractionated coconut oil)


  1. Mix essential oils in a roller bottle.
  2. Top off with the carrier oil.
  3. Roll onto lower abdomen during menstruation to help with discomfort.

3. Mood Elevating Diffuser Blend


  • 4 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 3 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 3 drops Lemon essential oil


  1. Combine oils in a diffuser.
  2. Enjoy the uplifting aroma.

4. Scalp Treatment for Hair


  • 5 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 5 drops Tea Tree essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut oil (melted)


  1. Blend oils together.
  2. Apply to the scalp and massage.
  3. Leave for 30 minutes before washing hair.

5. Natural Perfume Blend


  • 5 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 5 drops Jasmine essential oil
  • 5 drops Sandalwood essential oil
  • 10 ml Jojoba oil


  1. Mix essential oils with Jojoba oil in a roller bottle.
  2. Apply to pulse points for a natural fragrance.

6. Skin Soothing Bath Soak


  • 4 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 4 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 1 cup Epsom salts


  1. Mix Epsom salts and essential oils in a bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture into a warm bath and relax for 20-30 minutes.

7. Stress-Relief Body Oil


  • 10 drops Clary Sage essential oil
  • 10 drops Orange essential oil
  • 10 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 100 ml carrier oil (e.g., Sweet Almond oil)


  1. Blend essential oils with the carrier oil in a glass bottle.
  2. Massage onto skin after a bath or shower.

Benefits of Using Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary Sage essential oil has been appreciated for its diverse range of benefits, both in traditional practices and in modern holistic care. Here are some of the reported benefits of Clary Sage essential oil:

  1. Calming and Sedative: Clary Sage is often used in aromatherapy for its potential to induce feelings of relaxation, clarity, and calmness.

  2. Antiseptic Properties: Due to its antiseptic properties, it can help in preventing infections and promoting wound healing.

  3. Skin Health: Its anti-inflammatory and oil-regulating properties may benefit people with acne-prone or oily skin.

  4. Hair Health: Clary Sage is believed to promote hair growth and reduce dandruff when added to hair care products.

  5. Antibacterial: Clary Sage essential oil has demonstrated antibacterial properties in certain studies, making it useful in addressing some bacterial infections.

  6. Supports Digestion: In traditional medicine, Clary Sage was sometimes used to support healthy digestion and alleviate symptoms of indigestion.

Uses of Clary Sage Essential Oil 

The following are some common uses of clary sage essential oil:

  1. Aromatherapy: Used in diffusers to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and uplift mood. Its calming scent can also aid in promoting a peaceful sleep.

  2. Massage Oil: Mixed with a carrier oil (like jojoba or almond oil) for a soothing massage, especially useful for menstrual or muscle cramps.

  3. Hair Care: Added to shampoos or conditioners to promote hair growth, strengthen hair, and combat dandruff.

  4. Skin Care: Incorporated into creams, lotions, or diluted in carrier oils to help regulate oil production, reduce inflammation, and rejuvenate the skin.

  5. Bath Additive: A few drops can be added to bath water (often mixed with Epsom salts) for a relaxing and skin-nourishing bath.

  6. Homemade Deodorants: Due to its antibacterial properties, it's sometimes included in DIY deodorant recipes to combat odor.

  7. Linen Sprays: Used to create calming linen sprays to help induce restful sleep.

  8. Natural Perfume: Its pleasant and unique aroma makes it a popular choice in homemade perfume blends.

  9. Meditation and Spiritual Practices: Used during meditation or spiritual practices to promote clarity and emotional grounding.

  10. DIY Household Cleaners: Due to its antibacterial properties, Clary Sage can be added to homemade cleaning solutions.

  11. Relaxation Inhaler: Added to personal inhalers or aroma sticks to help with relaxation on-the-go.

  12. Compress: Diluted in water for a soothing compress to reduce inflammation or ease pain.

Safety and Precautions while using Clary Sage Essential Oil 

Certainly! Here are some safety precautions to consider when using Clary Sage essential oil:

  1. Dilution: Always dilute Clary Sage essential oil in a carrier oil before topical application to prevent skin irritation.

  2. Patch Test: Prior to widespread use, conduct a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure no allergic reaction occurs.

  3. Pregnancy and Nursing: If you are pregnant or nursing, consult with a healthcare professional before using Clary Sage essential oil.

  4. Children: Be cautious when using Clary Sage around young children. It's best to consult with a healthcare provider about appropriate usage and age limits.

  5. Eye Contact: Avoid contact with eyes. If the oil gets into the eyes, rinse thoroughly with
    cool water.

  6. Internal Consumption: Do not ingest Clary Sage essential oil unless under the guidance of a qualified professional.

  7. Sun Exposure: While Clary Sage is not known to be photosensitive, it's generally a good practice to avoid direct sunlight or UV light exposure after applying any essential oil to the skin.

  8. Storage: Store Clary Sage essential oil in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight to preserve its potency and shelf life.

  9. Usage Limit: Do not overuse. Excessive use of any essential oil can lead to sensitization or adverse reactions.

  10. Diffusion: When diffusing Clary Sage, ensure the room is well-ventilated, and limit the diffusion to 20-30 minutes intervals, rather than continuous exposure.


Clary Sage essential oil boasts a complex and multifaceted aroma. Often described as herbaceous with sweet, floral undertones, its scent can evoke a sense of clarity and tranquility. Its unique fragrance, reminiscent of earthy tea leaves and a hint of fruity nuance, makes it a distinctive and cherished component in many perfumes and therapeutic blends.

This aromatic profile not only uplifts the senses but also serves as a testament to the oil's natural origins and its rich history in traditional remedies. 

Whether used in aromatherapy or personal care, the signature scent of Clary Sage is both soothing and revitalizing, offering a sensory experience that lingers pleasantly in memory.

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