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30 November 2021 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Clary Sage Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

The so-called 'women's oil' has soothing, relaxing benefits for everyone.

Pink clary sage flower.

Clary sage essential oil has long been considered one of the most helpful natural remedies.

Clary sage (Salvia Sclarea) is an incredibly popular oil with a remarkable ability to clean wounds, reduce stress, and improve cardiovascular health.

Traditionally used to promote optic health as well as flavouring a variety of foods and beverages, clary sage oil has been long revered for its versatility and general reliability.  

Its sweet and floral smell also appeals to many for relaxing and soothing the mind.

Over the years it has earned itself the nickname ‘the women’s oil’ due to its hormone-balancing properties as well as its positive effects on menstrual symptoms.

Clary sage has even been considered an aphrodisiac because of its immense impact on hormonal levels in the body.

What is Clary Sage Essential Oil?

Also known as Salvia sclarea, clary sage is a floral herb native to the northern Mediterranean, as well as areas of North Africa and Central Asia. Generally extracted from the leaves and bud of the plant, clary sage oil has a fresh and sweet scent that is generally used in standard aromatherapy practices as well as for the skin.

Extraction of clary sage occurs via steam distillation, which uses steam to separate the oil from its plant material. Clary sage oil is often pale yellow to clear in colour.

Despite sometimes being compared to sage essential oil, clary sage has a much sweeter and softer profile with slightly varying benefits, with clary sage being particularly effective for relaxation and pain relief.

The health benefits of Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage is a highly beneficial remedy for a lot of physical and mental ailments, particularly involving hormones and the symptoms that may appear as a result.

These include:

  • Pain
  • Stress & restlessness
  • Unbalanced hormones
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Wounds & infection
  • Skin inflammation

Can clary sage induce labour and reduce pain?

Each day, we are discovering more and more about what clary sage can do for women’s health and how it can impact each stage of the feminine reproductive experience.

From the monthly menstrual cycle right down to the final stages of menopause, clary sage oil provides a host of benefits for feminine comfort and relief.

An  at Oxford Brookes University assessed the effect of clary sage oil on over eight thousand women in labour.

Researchers then found that it was effective at not only relieving stress and fear surrounding birth but also at reducing the pain itself.

Clary sage has also been known to support progression in the labour process and encourage regular contractions.

This is just one example of the ways in which clary sage has proven to be a highly beneficial oil for women.

 found that clary sage oil was effective at relieving menstrual cramps in high school girls when applied topically to the abdomen.

Is clary sage good for reducing stress?

Clary sage is known to have great stress-relieving qualities, with its smell directly affecting the olfactory system in the brain to facilitate a sense of calm and wellbeing.

This was demonstrated in a , where clary sage oil was found to have a strong anti-stressor effect on animal subjects.

This oil also facilitated an environment that helped to boost the moods of the subjects as well as regulate emotions.

A small  confirmed the stress-relieving qualities of clary sage in relation to women, which in turn also helped to promote feelings of deep relaxation when inhaled.

Managing stress furthermore plays a key role in keeping blood pressure down and maintaining good cardiovascular health.

Using clary sage to support heath health

Clary sage has been shown to have a highly 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 in turn moves more oxygen around the body and enables better organ function.

The same aforementioned stress study, conducted , found that inhaling clary sage could lead to a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure due to these circulatory effects.

For another, it has anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective properties which help to reduce inflammation in the body and prevent obstruction.

    Zoomed in picture of clary sage flower.

    How to use clary sage to balance hormones

    Returning to the remarkable effects of clary sage on women’s health, it has recently been suggested that clary sage can also help to balance and regulate hormones, preventing mood swings and calming the mind.

    Clary sage oil contains natural phytoestrogens, which can regulate levels of oestrogen in the body and ensure the long-term health of the uterus.

    Not only that, but a  saw clary sage improve thyroid hormone levels, allowing it to improve mood with, according to the researchers, a close to ‘anti-depressant effect’.

    What are the healing properties of clary sage?

    In the Middle Ages, clary sage essential oil was often used to fight disease and clean wounds, mainly involving the eyes.

    This led to clary sage being referred to as ‘the Eye of Christ, as well as the “clear eye” oil due to its seemingly magical use-all properties.

    Clary sage’s antibacterial and antiseptic effects allow it to tackle a wide range of medical issues, including the treatment of wounds and dermatological infections.

    More recently, a  found clary sage to have strong anti-staphylococcal activity, meaning that it was active against several strains of bacteria able to cause a staph infection.

    This means that the oil could prove to be effective against wounds caused by burns, surgery, and diabetes.

    What are the benefits of clary sage for 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 it to regulate the production of oil.

    This ester may also be responsible for clary sage’s skin-soothing, moisturising qualities.

    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.

    How to use Clary Sage Essential Oil 

    Aromatherapy

    Combine 5-7 drops of clary sage oil with water and add to an oil burner or diffuser for a sweet and floral aroma that calms and soothes the body.

    Clary sage is often praised for its strong antibacterial properties that can help to fight airborne germs, meaning that diffusing it can also help create a safer, cleaner environment in your home.

    Alternatively, you can simply hold a bottle of clary sage essential oil to your nose and inhale or add a few drops to a tissue or cotton ball for on-the-go aromatherapy.

    Massage

    Dilute 5 drops to 10ml of carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) and massage evenly into the skin. 

    Clary sage oil is known to soothe pain and reduce inflammation. This can be particularly effective for cramping in the abdomen during the menstrual cycle. 

    Massage into the affected area for soothing, cleansing relief. We always advise performing a patch test before using clary sage essential oil on the skin. 

    Bath  

    Add 6-8 drops of clary sage to warm bathwater for a deeply relaxing, soothing experience for the body and mind. 

    Using clary essential oil in the bath is said to help to facilitate calm and balance hormones, as well as relieve pain and discomfort. 

    Its soft, floral scent also helps to create the perfect at-home spa experience after a stressful day.

    Skincare  

    Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) or your chosen lotion and spread evenly, or onto affected areas. 

    Clary sage oil can also be used as an effective skin cleanser, helping to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. Add a few drops of clary sage to a carrier oil and apply nightly. 

    We always advise to perform a patch test before using clary sage essential oil on the skin. 

    Soap & Candles  

    Suitable for soap making and candle making. We recommend following a tested recipe. 

    Looking for creative ways to use your clary sage essential oil? Discover a number of fun candle, soap and wax melt recipes in our Make at Home blog section. 

    History of Clary Sage Essential Oil 

    Clary sage was initially lauded by Greek philosopher Theophrastus in 400 BCE, among other physicians, for its effectiveness as an eyewash as well as its strong cooking properties.

    17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper would even dip the plant in batter and fry it as a way of aiding and preventing back pain.

    Following on from these uses, 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 has also historically been used for flavouring as well as in perfumery for its naturally gentle but distinctively herby scent.

    Clary sage’s ancient reputation as a miracle healing substance is well deserved.

    The myriad of applications and medical benefits clary sage provides makes it one of the most versatile oils out there.

    While its sweet, floral scent makes it a welcome addition to any aroma-therapeutic experience.

    Shop our clary sage essential oil here

    Product Name

    100% Pure Clary Sage Essential Oil
    Botanical Name Salvia Sclarea
    Scent Type Floral
    Benefits & Uses Soothing, Calming, Anti-Inflammatory
    Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this clary sage essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
    Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this clary sage essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
    Extraction Method Steam Distillation
    Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant

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