Clary Sage Essential Oil and Its Effect on Human Mood and Pulse Rate: An in vivo Pilot Study

Planta Med. 2020 Oct;86(15):1125-1132. doi: 10.1055/a-1211-6325. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a xerophytic biennial plant typical for the Mediterranean region. It is cultivated for its essential oil, which is widely used in the flavor and fragrance industry as well as in aromatherapy for its relaxing and immunomodulatory effect. In this pilot investigation, clary sage essential oil was analyzed by GC-MS as well as GC-FID and examined regarding its effects on pulse, blood pressure and mood in healthy human female and male subjects. Analysis of the used CSEO identified linalylacetat (61.3%) and linalool (22.1%) as main compounds. Sclareol was found at 0.3%. In the first experiment with 30 participants (with 15 female), CSEO, diluted in peanut oil, was administered to the left forearm, leading to an increase in pulse rate in women (peanut oil served as control). In men, pulse rate deceased over time (p = 0.013). In the second experiment (32 participants; 16 females) the oil was inhaled for 30 min (pure water as control). The observed decrease of pulse rate was significantly stronger in women than in men (p = 0.026). To evaluate the influence of the mode of application, a comparison of both experiments was performed showing a significant difference between sexes for the parameter of pulse rate (p = 0.034). Overall, the effects elicited by CSEO may depend on application method (inhaled/dermal) and sex (male/female).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aromatherapy*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Salvia*
  • Sex Factors


  • Oils, Volatile