Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) is a perennial herb that originally hails from the Mediterranean region. It is now cultivated in other areas such as the United States and Russia and is one of the key oils in modern aromatherapy.
Cultural and Historical Significance
The traditional use of Clary Sage dates back to Roman times. It was used as a herbal remedy to support the digestive and respiratory systems as well as the during the menstrual cycle. It was made into a tea and also a poultice for direct application. Its aroma was highly valued, where it was used to fragrance bathhouses and personal cosmetics for a touch of refinement and luxury in daily life.
Different Types of Sage Essential Oil
Clary Sage is part of the extensive Salvia family, of which Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) is also a member. However, the two essential oils are very different, both chemically and in their usage. Here is a brief overview of the different types of Sage oil to help you choose:
Common Sage Essential Oil
Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) is well known for its culinary use but despite this it is less well known in aromatherapy. This is due to the presence of ketones, in particular thujone and camphor, which can be toxic. It is contraindicated during pregnancy and needs careful use in other situations.
Sage oil is known for its regenerative effects on the skin, particularly congested or oily skin. Kurt Schnaubelt describes its use in a blend with Rose Hip Seed Oil and Helichrysum italicum for wounds and scars. Emotionally, Sage is energising and fortifying and it can be used by inhalation to combat tiredness. Common Sage oil can be used in aromatherapy however Tisserand and Young recommend a maximum concentration of 0.4% for skin use. If in doubt consult a practitioner.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Whilst related to Common Sage, Clary Sage essential oil is entirely different in its chemistry. Its aroma is floral, herbaceous and slightly earthy – reminiscent of both tea and tobacco.
The essential oil of Clary Sage is rich in esters (also found in Lavender oil) which have spasmolytic and sedative properties. This is typical of the gentle nature of Clary Sage. Where Common Sage is a persistent powerhouse of energy, Clary Sage tends towards a calming effect. Surprisingly, it also shares some common components with earthy oils such as Ginger, and this is reflected in its ability to both uplift and ground the senses.
The Benefits of Clary Sage Essential Oil
This delightful essential oil lends itself to situations where calm and balance are required. It is a valuable companion during times of change and at different stages of life. It has a balancing effect on the hormones, which is supportive to the menstrual cycle. This effective is also supportive for the nervous system, where Clary Sage’s uplifting, almost euphoric effect brings relief from everyday cares and worries.
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