CLARY SAGE (salvia sclarea)
Clary sage also known as ‘clear eye’ or ‘bright eye’ has the scientific name of Salvia sclarea. This herb Salvia sclarea is native to Italy, Syria and Southern France along the Mediterranean basin. The name clary sage is derived from the Latin name ‘clarus’ which means cleansing or clarifying.
During ancient times, clary sage was mainly grown to be used as a flavouring for food and some beverages especially tea. Clary sage was also used in the making of perfumes due to its pleasant scent.
The seeds of this herb were considered a treatment for eye related illnesses hence known as clear eye or bright eye. Clary sage essential oil was also popular among women due to its ability to treat female health related issues especially in relation to menstruation and menopausal symptoms. This also gave it the name the woman’s oil. Many parts of the clary sage plant can be used, including the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds.
Clary sage vs Sage
The genus salvia commonly known as sage, is the largest member of Lamiacea or mint family containing over 900 species throughout the world. They may be either perennial or annual, blooming to non-blooming.
Sage common sage (Salvia officinalis) is native to the Mediterranean region and is used fresh or dried as flavouring in many foods and you can also make tea from the leaves. While they both come from the same shrub family, they are very different from each other. Both oils have a pale yellow colour, but sage has a strong, spicy scent, while clary sage has a sweet, nutty aroma with a hint of peppermint.
Clary sage plant
Clary sage is biennial or perennial plant belonging to the Lamiaceae (mint) family, with thick, square, erect stem, 20-120 cm high, branched toward the top. Clary sage forms a rosette of large, velvety leaves the first year. The stalks of pink to white flowers produced the second year may be up to 5 ft tall. clary sage has a special flavor which is strong, warm and aromatic. Salvia sclarea can be seen in places up to 2000 m above sea level.
How to Grow Clary Sage
Clary sage likes rich soil that drains well and can be planted from seeds, seedlings, or cuttings. The plants are drought tolerant but grow best when watered regularly and is sun lover.
The extraction processes of clary sage essential oil.
Clary sage essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of leaves and flowers of the Salvia sclarea herb. Flowers and some leaves are harvested at the end of the blooming period and steam-distilled immediately to minimize volatilization of essential oil. The yield of essential oil ranges from 0.1 to 0.34 percent of fresh material, depending upon environmental conditions and plant genotype
Properties of clary sage essential oil.
- It is an antioxidant – it protects the body against illnesses.
- It is anti-aging – it slows down the process of aging.
- It has healing properties – helps wounds heal faster.
- It is anti- inflammatory- soothes and calms down any and all inflammations.
- It is an antidepressant- it has the ability to treat depression.
- It is antifungal- kills fungi and its infections.
- It is antiseptic-
- It is an antibacterial- it kills all bacteria and bacterial infections.
- It is an analgesic -ability to relieve pain
- It has astringent properties- helps cleanse, tighten pores and control sebum production
- It is an aphrodisiac-
Clary Sage Benefits
Several scientific studies have also demonstrated the antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-depressive, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of clary sage.
Clary sage is one of the most important essential oils as a women’s remedy. All three phases of a woman’s life stand to benefit from clary sage – the menstrual cycle, childbirth and menopause.
- It fights depression symptoms- The antidepressant effects of range of essential oils were investigated using a forced swim test in rats. Rats exposed to different essential oils. Clary sage oil had the strongest anti-stressor effect in the forced swimming test.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves memory reports have shown Clary sage EO acts as a memory enhancer
- It enhances alertness and concentration
- Alleviates menopausal symptoms
- It promotes relaxation due to its calming effects
- It reduces menstrual cramps- The menstrual cramps were significantly lowered in the aromatherapy group of 67 female college students who rated their menstrual cramps to be greater than 6 on a 10-point visual analogue scale, when clary sage, lavender and almond oil was massaged on the abdominal.
- It reduces stress and anxiety
- It facilitates healing of wounds due to its cleansing and clarifying properties
- It stimulates digestion
- It has an aphrodisiac effect hence stimulates libido
- It soothes the discomfort from muscle cramps and stiffness.
- It controls sebum production in the skin
- It is great for acne prone skin due to its antiseptic and cleansing properties
- Smoothens the skin
- It clears the skin from blemishes
- It soothes any inflammation on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties
- It prevents the skin from breaking out
- It tones and tightens the skin
- It strengthens the skin and enhances its elasticity
- It is suitable for both oily and dry skin types
- It reduces hair loss
- It strengthens hair follicles and strands
- It stimulates the growth of hair that is healthy and strong
- It eliminates dandruff
- It controls the production of oils on the scalp.
How to use clary sage essential oil effectively.
Clary sage essential oil can be applied topically and inhaled.
- For aromatherapy.
The essential oil has antidepressant properties, therefore can be used to relieve one from anxiety and stressing these ways;
It can be inhaled directly from the bottle or it can used in a vaporizer or diffuser in a room. Just put a few drops of clary sage essential oil in a diffuser with water and diffuse it in a room.
You can also inhale it to enhance your concentration at work or in school.
- As a moisturizer
You can add clary sage essential oil to your regular body lotion or cream and use it before bed
You can add clary sage oil to shea butter, jojoba oil and frankincense essential oil and whip to make your own moisturizer.
- As an oil cleanser, good for acne prone skin.
You will need clary sage essential oil, sweet almond oil or your preferred carrier oil. Mix the ingredients well and use it before foam cleansing to remove impurities from the skin.
- As a hair growth oil
You will need clary sage oil, peppermint essential oil, jojoba oil or olive oil, avocado oil and castor oil. Mix the ingredients well and use it whenever necessary.
- As a massage oil.
You will need clary sage essential oil, jojoba oil, roman chamomile essential oil, frankincense essential oil, use the mixture to massage on the skin especially where you feel pain or muscle cramps.
Safety precautions when using clary sage essential oil.
Do not ingest any essential oil without the advice of a physician.
It is important that you do a patch test before attempting to apply or use any essential oil topically. This will determine if you are allergic to the oil or not.
Dilute clary sage essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before use.
Never use or apply clary sage oil to sensitive areas like the nasal cavity, near the eyes or in the ears. If this happens rinse off with water immediately.
Children under the age of 7 are advised not to use the oil, however, before giving your child any essential oil, seek advice form a doctor.
Keep essential oils out of children’s reach.
Pregnant and nursing women are not advised to use essential oils without permission from their doctor.
Persons under prescription drugs are to seek medical advice before using essential oils because some of the oils interferes with the effectiveness of the drugs.
Persons undergoing surgery are advised to stop using essential oils two weeks prior the surgery.
You are supposed to buy good quality essential oils from a reputable vendor. Also remember to check the scientific name of the oils in order to buy the right one.
Do not buy essential oils stored in plastic bottles.
By Eila Oketch