This or That: Clary Sage vs Sage

by Jenna Jones August 16, 2018

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, 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 essential oil 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.

Clary Sage

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 skincare, 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.

Bottom Line

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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Edens Garden

November 30, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Hi Rosanne! We would need to know the ingredients of the oil you purchased.

Rosanne Ginsburg

November 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Is there a difference between clary sage oil and clary sage essential oil. I bought some clary sage oil for my hair but it does not say that it is an essential oil so I’m not sure if they are different. Can you comment


November 2, 2020 at 8:39 am

Clary Sage is safe for an epileptic but Sage is not. I, myself, have epilepsy and have been told this myself by my three doctors, including the one who has done my brain surgery.