Saturday, 13 September 2008

Essential Oil of the Week: Clary Sage

Botanical Name: Salvia sclarea

Aroma type: Herbaceous

Note: Top

I have to be honest that I really disliked the smell of this oil when I first started training in Aromatherapy. I thought it smelt like hay! Over the years it has grown on me and it is now one of my favourite oils. Not because I now like the smell of it but because it is such a beneficial oil and has so many uses.

Clary Sage was known in the Middle Ages as 'Oculus Christi' - the 'Eye of Christ' and was a highly regarded medicine. It was also known for its ability to heal eye problems.

Its main properties are antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, digestive, emmenagogue (regulates menstruation), euphoric, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), sedative, uterine tonic, and nerve tonic.

Clary Sage is a necessary essential oil for every woman. It contains a hormone-like compound similar to oestrogen that regulates hormonal balance making it an excellent oil for menstrual cramps, PMT, heavy periods, irregular/lack of periods, endometriosis, labour pains, post-natal depression, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. No woman is too young or too old to appreciate the properties of this oil.

Men - don’t feel left out though as Clary Sage can be beneficial for you too. It can help with exhaustion, depression, digestive problems, respiratory problems, muscular aches and pains, migraine, high blood pressure, nervous tension, and insomnia.

It blends especially well with bergamot, cypress, lavender, sandalwood, frankincense, jasmine, pine, chamomile, geranium, juniper, and ylang ylang.

Clary sage oil is a strong sedative and should be avoided when consuming alcohol, as it can exaggerate the effects of alcohol. It is also advisable to avoid before driving or other activities requiring a high level of focus and concentration. It is a non-toxic, non-sensitizing essential oil, but in large doses it can cause headaches.

In many textbooks, clary sage is mentioned as being not a suitable oil to use in conjunction with the contraceptive pill or HRT. This is because clary sage is said to have oestrogen-like properties. However, in Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs, it says that it is very unlikely that the essential oils used in a massage would interfere with these as the hormonal effect that the essential oils have is likely to be far weaker than that of the contraceptive pill or HRT.


  1. Hi Sarah!

    I finally found your blog...

    thanks for the treatment earlier today.

    Once, when I was still working, I used to carry a little box of massage oils around with me - I took some with me when travelling - and on a plane my Clary Sage got free whist it was stowed in an overhead locker... whoops... it seems in excess at high altitues it can cause headaches... it didn't stop it being a favourite of mine but it did make me pack it even more carefully.


  2. Whoops I forgot to ticket the email follow-up box - just in case you respond.

  3. Hi Caroline, I'm glad you found the blog and I hope you enjoy reading the posts.

    I bet the people sat near you on the plane weren't too happy about the smell - At least it would have helped all the nervous flyers to relax!

  4. I got complaints from someone sitting behind me... oh dear...

    And it was considered very suspiciously by customs too... I don't think I'd be able to get it through these days at all!

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