Clary Sage in June


I started this lovely plant from seed a couple of years ago.  Last year my garden focus was on herbs and medicinal plants.  This year I decided to add more flowers and perennials.   I found a lovely website called strictly medicinal.  I ordered a bunch of stuff from them and started seeds in a seedling flat.  Most of them didn’t survive because I had a very busy summer last year so my seeds got neglected.  A few of them did survive and this beauty is one of them.

I’m going to dry some of the flowers and leaves and blend them into my next batch of soap, and I will probably dry some for tea as well.  I will post pictures of the soap when I make it.  I’m also going to infuse some of the dried leaves and flowers in some Olive oil for other skin care products.

For a while I had a tough time identifying it because it didn’t bloom until this year, which is also how I was able to positively identify it because it is a biennial meaning it blooms every other year.  I knew it was in the mint family, but didn’t take the time to either figure out what I had planted, or do a simple google search. So I waited a year and this year it gave itself away when it bloomed.  So I did a little research on it and here is what I found.

Botanical name: Salvia sclarea

Family: Lamiaceae

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

Description: The large leaves grow off a central stalk that has 4 sides which is telling of the lamiaceae or mint family. It typically grows to a height of 3 feet with a width of 1 foot. Though mine is more like 3’x3′. 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.It blooms from June to July. Because it is a biennial it will bloom every other year.

Cultivation: A biennial to zone 6. Germination is in 12-15 days.  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.

Respiratory 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.

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. The flowers have an aromatic flavor and make a lovely contrast in salads. All sage flowers are edible after removing all greenery and stems.


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