The purpose of this study was to examine the antidepressant-like effects of clary sage oil on human beings by comparing the neurotransmitter level change in plasma. The voluntary participants were 22 menopausal women in 50's. Subjects were classified into normal and depression tendency groups using each of Korean version of Beck Depression Inventory-I (KBDI-I), KBDI-II, and Korean version of Self-rating Depression Scale. Then, the changes in neurotransmitter concentrations were compared between two groups. After inhalation of clary sage oil, cortisol levels were significantly decreased while 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) concentration was significantly increased. Thyroid stimulating hormone was also reduced in all groups but not statistically significantly. The different change rate of 5-HT concentration between normal and depression tendency groups was variable according to the depression measurement inventory. When using KBDI-I and KBDI-II, 5-HT increased by 341% and 828% for the normal group and 484% and 257% for the depression tendency group, respectively. The change rate of cortisol was greater in depression tendency groups compared with normal groups, and this difference was statistically significant when using KBDI-II (31% vs. 16% reduction) and Self-rating Depression Scale inventory (36% vs. 8.3% reduction). Among three inventories, only KBDI-II differentiated normal and depression tendency groups with significantly different cortisol level. Finally, clary sage oil has antidepressant-like effect, and KBDI-II inventory may be the most sensitive and valid tool in screening for depression status or severity. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.