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This or That: Clary Sage vs Sage

This or That: Clary Sage vs Sage

In the essential oil world, we can see how things might get confusing. You may find yourself searching for a particular kind of oil and find two or more that share the same name. Take Clary Sage and Sage for example. How different could they be? Though they share the Latin name Salvia, it turns out they are quite different.

Sage, or Common Sage, is a potent essential oil composed primarily of ketones, while Clary Sage is mostly composed of esters. Let’s examine what this means and how this makes them so different.


Origin: Greece




Digestive aid


Supports hair growth

Reduces overactive sweat glands

Aroma: Sage is herbaceous, sweet, and slightly-camphorous and true to the herb used in cooking and burning. It blends well with Cardamom and other spices, as well as with light florals like Lavender.

Uses/Considerations: Sage makes an excellent addition to shampoo or mixes with carrier oils for sore muscles, aching stomach, and cellulite. It’s also a highly effective addition to DIY home cleaners and sprays. Diffuse Sage for a fall aroma.

Due to the presence of thujone, it is not recommended to exceed a 0.4% dilution of Sage on the skin. Due to its potency, it is better to keep the dilution of Sage low and combine it with other oils for skin applications to boost its therapeutic properties. It is not recommended for use on or around children, and should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Origin: Russia



Digestive aid

PMS and menopausal symptoms

Emotional balance and sleep support


Restore skin

Aroma: Clary Sage is sweet, herbaceous, clean, and likened to earl grey tea. With its softly floral, grape-like aroma, it is ideal for elegant perfumes.

Uses/Considerations: Clary Sage works well when applied topically for skin care, stomach aches, and cramps. Diffuse or inhale to ease respiratory ailments, mood swings, or insomnia. Women are treated especially well by Clary Sage, so turn to this oil for any side effects associated with your period, PMS, or menopause.

Caution is recommended for pregnancy as the constituents therein may encourage contractions. If turning to Clary Sage during pregnancy or labor, make sure to consult with your physician to determine safety.


Sage and Clary Sage each have varying constituents, therapeutic properties and aromas. These large differences mean they cannot be substituted for one another in recipes and usage. Each oil has its therapeutic strengths, and should thus be used accordingly with safety in mind.


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7 Responses

Edens Garden

March 15, 2019

Hi Eileen! I’ve not seen significant evidence or research showing that Sage nor Clary Sage are effective for hair growth. You can find research on essential oils that may benefit hair growth here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=hair+growth+essential+oil


March 15, 2019

I was looking to see which is better for hair growth, you say sage while other sites say clary sage. Could you please clarify? I do not want to make something that is incorrect. I was planning on using sage with rosemary, peppermint, and Cedarwood, in jojoba oil.

Edens Garden

January 16, 2019

Hi Sue! We don’t recommend internal use of essential oils unless working with your doctor and an aromatherapist who can provide you with safe guidelines that meet your specific needs.


January 16, 2019

Can clary sage be ingested with say a CBD oil for menopause


November 05, 2018

Lynn – google “dr axe alopecia essential oils” and read his articles. It helped me.

Edens Garden

August 20, 2018

Hi Lynn! You might try this eyebrow growth serum, except use it on your hair: http://bit.ly/2BrHN6r


August 20, 2018

Trying to desperately find something for hair growth, I am loosing hair at a VERY fast pace. I was told to check your oils for help. While reading on your site , Rosemary Spanish helps, also ‘plain’ rosemary. Then read Clary Sage , but further down it says just sage. Also basil, cedar wood Atlas??? Very very confused. I have been told to mix coconut oil and rosemary and let sit on the scalp 15-30 minutes. PLEASE HELP!!!!!