30 November 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Clary Sage Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
The so-called 'women's oil' has soothing, relaxing benefits for everyone.
Widely considered one of the most helpful essential oils, clary sage was used in folk medicine throughout the ancient world.
Lauded by Greek philosopher Theophrastus in 400 BCE and still valued today for its ability to clean wounds, reduce stress, and improve cardiovascular health, clary sage is an incredibly popular oil. Over the years it has earned itself the nickname ‘the women’s oil’ due to its hormone balancing properties and the positive effect it has on menstrual symptoms, and has even been considered an aphrodisiac. Herbalists warned of the potent aphrodisiac effects of mixing clary sage with alcohol in the sixteenth century – this may be why clary sage is still included as an ingredient in a number of present-day liquors.
Clary sage essential oil has many benefits for women.
An eight-year study at Oxford Brookes University assessed the effect of clary sage oil on over eight thousand women in labour. They found that it was effective at not only relieving anxiety and fear surrounding birth, but also at reducing the pain itself.
This is just one example of the ways in which clary sage has proven to be a highly beneficial oil for women. A study in 2012 found that clary sage oil was effective at relieving menstrual cramps in high school girls when applied topically to the abdomen, likely due to its antispasmodic properties which help it to relax tight muscles and ease pain.
It’s even been suggested that clary sage can help to balance hormones. Clary sage oil contains natural phytoestrogens, which can regulate levels of estrogen in the body and ensure the long-term health of the uterus.
Not only that, but a study in 2014 saw clary sage improve thyroid hormone levels, allowing it to improve mood with, according to the researchers, an ‘anti-depressant effect’.
It can improve heart health.
Clary sage has also been shown to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health for a number of reasons.
For one, it increases circulation, opening up blood vessels and allowing for increased blood circulation, which moves more oxygen around the body and enables better organ function. A study in 2013 found that, due to these effects, inhaling clary sage could lead to a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure.
For another, it has anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective properties which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and prevents obstruction. It also has great stress-relieving properties – this was demonstrated in a 2010 study in which clary sage was found to have a strong anti-stressor effect on animal subjects. Managing stress plays a key role in keeping blood pressure down and maintaining cardiovascular health.
It can help to fight infections.
In the Middle Ages, clary sage was often used to fight disease and clean wounds. Referred to as ‘the Eye of Christ’ due to its seemingly magical use-all properties, clary sage’s antibacterial and antiseptic effects allowed it to tackle a wide range of medical issues.
More recently, a study in 2015 found clary sage to have strong anti-staphylococcal activity, meaning that it was active against several strains of bacterial able to cause a staph infection.
It’s great for your skin.
Clary sage oil contains an important ester called linalyl acetate which has been shown to be very beneficial for skin health. It gives clary sage anti-inflammatory effects that help it to reduce redness on the skin, and allows clary sage to regulate the production of oil.
Clary sage’s antibacterial effects also make it a great skin cleanser. Try combining a few drops of clary sage oil with a carrier vegetable oil and apply topically for cleaner, clearer skin.
Clary sage’s ancient reputation as a miracle healing substance is well deserved. Its myriad of applications and medical benefits makes it one of the most versatile oils out there, and with its sweet, floral scent it is a welcome addition to any aromatherapeutic experience.
Shop our clary sage essential oil here.