Clary Sage Essential Oil may not be one of the best-known oils; perhaps it should be!
Clary sage (salvia sclarea) is an herb cultivated solely for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. That single use makes it unlike most other herbs which have multiple applications.
The aroma of Clary is best described as “fresh floral.” It has a balance that’s floral without being too flowery and a touch of freshness that’s not minty.
Fragrance manufacturers covet Clary Sage oil, and you’ll frequently find it in both men’s and women’s fragrances.
Pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies alike utilize this plant to inhibit the growth of bacteria in their products.
Where is Clary Sage Cultivated?
Clary sage originally grew in the eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa. Today, American growers in Bertie County, North Carolina (a large, rural county with a total population of 19,026) produce this herb.
The sandy soil of the county offers growing conditions similar to the native soils of this crop. Think of the sandy soils of the shores of Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco.
Additionally, the region has long and hot summers like the Mediterranean, with temperatures climbing into the 90s by the end of May and typically staying there well into September.
The last reason that the climate of Bertie County so closely mirrors that of the Mediterranean region is the adjacency to Albemarle Sound, which provides the optimal humidity for growth.
Every spring, from May to June, those who drive through the sleepy agricultural communities that dot the county enjoy views of tall purple and white blossoms as the sage puts on its colorful show.
I was thrilled to be invited to write about Clary Sage Essential Oil because I reside in Bertie County, surrounded by clary sage fields.
Video Introduction to the Clary Sage Plant
I took this video of a clary sage field up the street from my house.
23 Health Benefits of Clary Sage Oil
When my husband wanted to move home to Bertie County to help his father with his agricultural business in 2014, I had never heard of clary sage.
I wanted to learn more about what made this crop such a significant one to the region.
It intrigued me to discover why long-time tobacco, cotton, and peanut growers were turning their resources to growing clary sage.
After reading content ranging from the economics of clary sage to clinical studies on its effect on the entire pharmaceutical industry, I was impressed!
Since then, I’ve been hooked on Clary Sage Essential Oil. Take a look at the benefits, and you’ll see why.
1. Useful for stress Relief
Healers claim that Clary Sage Essential Oil is one of the most effective oils for stress relief. The oil contains natural, mild sedatives.
This sedative relaxes the central nervous system and eases stress and related feelings of anxiety.
2. Fights Depression
Stress and anxiety rarely exist alone. They are often accompanied by feelings of depression or despondency.
The same mechanism in your body that calms anxiety can also suppress depression by lowering the output of cortisol, giving you the time to process your emotions so that you can feel better again.
3. Insomnia Aid
The same mild sedative effect that serves as an efficient stress reducer also functions as an insomnia aid. By slowing down the central nervous system, troubling thoughts are quieted. That effect aids in creating a better frame of mind for sleep.
4. Lowers blood pressure
As a result of the slowing down of the central nervous system after using Clary Sage Essential Oil, your arteries and veins begin to “loosen up.”
Therefore, your blood begins to circulate more freely and efficiently.
5. Healthy circulation
That previously mentioned increase in circulation also delivers much-needed oxygen to your organs, including the heart and brain, and your muscles.
Your improved circulation also leads to an improvement in metabolic functions.
6. Controls Cholesterol
Your body requires cholesterol for strong cells and hormone regulation. However, when you have excessive amounts of cholesterol, it becomes dangerous.
It can form a plaque that increases the chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
Clary Sage helps to mitigate two of the factors that contribute to excessive cholesterol: stress and poor circulation. Therefore, clary sage can be used in conjunction with other healthful habits to keep cholesterol in check.
7. Helps asthma Sufferers breathe easier
One reason that I, personally, love Clary Sage Essential Oil is that I have had lifelong asthma. When I feel that familiar chest tightening, I grab the oil bottle and seek relief.
Clary Sage Essential Oil works similarly to the more familiar eucalyptus oil–by opening up the nasal passage and airways to conduct air through the passageways more easily.
While I still need to carry my inhaler, using this at the first symptoms of an impending asthma attack seems to thwart it.
Even as Clary Sage Essential Oil can open up your nasal passages, it also relaxes the bronchial tubes to improve respiration.
This makes Clary Sage Essential Oil extremely helpful when you suffer from bronchitis, respiratory flu, or even the common cold.
9. Kills Bacteria and Infections
One of the primary reasons that clary sage is needed by the beauty and pharmaceutical industries is its usefulness as a bacteria slayer.
Not only is it a natural antibacterial essential oil, but it’s also antimicrobial, meaning it can keep wounds free of infection as they heal.
Finally, a 2015 study published by Postepy Dermatol Alergol proves that clary sage is an antistaphylococcal agent, meaning it can kill staph infections.
10. Repels mosquitoes
There are some floral fragrances that mosquitoes just don’t like. Fortunately, clary sage essential oil is one such mosquito repellant.
Not only are mosquitoes a nuisance, but they spread disease and their bites can become infected wounds.
Apply it before heading outdoors, and you’ll fend off those pesky bugs!
I apply clary sage mixed with coconut oil before I go outside, as we have an abundance of mosquitoes here in the south.
11. Relieves Spasms and Convulsions
Clary Sage Essential Oil is useful for treating muscle cramps, spasms, and convulsions. It contains antispasmodic properties, as it relaxes your nerves and the consequent uncontrollable reflexes.
Whether your condition stems from menstrual cramps or epilepsy, this offers short-term relief from your discomfort.
12. Balances Hormones
Clary sage can help in balancing the hormones estrogen and cortisol.
Women: Estrogen support
Clary sage is rich in dietary estrogens–those consumed through diet, not produced by the endocrine system.
Published studies support findings that female hormonal health benefits from Clary Sage Essential oil.
Additionally, it decreases the chance of suffering from ovarian or uterine cancers.
Men: Supports testosterone
In males, clary sage essential oil aids in testosterone production. Proper testosterone levels help men maintain a healthy weight, promotes sexual wellness, and decreases the chance of impotence.
Boosts thyroid hormone levels
Because clary sage essential oil lowers the body’s cortisol level, the thyroid hormones can do their job without intrusion, allowing them peak functionality.
14. Alleviates PMS and Menstrual Pain
When your estrogen levels are in balance, you’ll alleviate uncomfortable female conditions like PMS and menstrual pain.
The antispasmodic effect that relaxes cramps offers relief from menstrual pain.
And, the stress-releasing properties can keep your mood stable even as your hormones wage war on your body several days a month.
15. Comforts menopausal symptoms
One of the common complaints among menopausal women is hot flashes. The sudden onset of a feeling of overheating can cause distress, embarrassment, and discomfort.
Hot flashes are triggered by hormonal imbalances as your body changes with age. By supporting hormonal health, Clary Sage Essential Oil can help reduce the occurrence of hot flashes.
16. Fosters Hair Growth
When your scalp is unhealthy, it can lead to hair loss or slower hair growth.
Clary Sage Essential Oil stimulates the scalp and the hair follicles which can promote scalp health and hair growth.
17. Promotes Healthy Skin
Clary Sage Essential Oil, used as a skin care product, is useful in reducing acne.
This oil helps to control the excess production of sebum, an oil that your skin produces. While sebum is a necessity for the skin, overproduction can lead to breakouts.
In addition to controlling oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil can reduce the inflammation and calm down the redness associated with acne breakouts.
18. Improves Digestion and Decreases Flatulence
Clary Sage Essential Oil can improve your digestion by promoting the production of the gastric juices that help to break down your food into waste during the digestive process.
This improved digestion leads to better passing of bowel movements and the reduction of flatulence, which causes gas, indigestion, and cramps.
19. Assists Kidney Function
When your kidneys don’t function properly, it can lead to a buildup of minerals that crystallize and form kidney stones.
If those kidney stones don’t pass naturally (but painfully) during urination, they can cause infection.
Clary Sage assists the kidney in maintaining proper functioning, so it can do its work efficiently and prevent kidney stones from forming.
20. Fights Body Odor
The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of Clary Sage Essential Odor make it an ideal natural method of fighting body odor.
Body odor stems from a process in which bacteria breaks proteins released from our bodies via sweat into harmless acids that have a sour smell.
You fight the bacteria, and reduce the body odor.
21. Improved Libido
Let’s examine the reasons that people lose their sexual drive. Some of the top issues include stress, depression, and fatigue.
Now, combine that with hormones that are imbalanced as we age, and it’s no wonder that the spark leaves the relationship.
Because Clary Sage Essential Oil encourages relaxation, relieves stress, and supports healthy hormone levels, it is considered a potent aphrodisiac.
22. Relieves Migraines
Common triggers of migraine headaches are menstruation and stress.
While Clary Sage Essential Oil may not prevent the onset of a migraine, it can calm your nerves and help alleviate the pain by helping you relax.
23. Fights Leukemia
Leukemia is a form of blood cancer in which your body overproduces white blood cells–to the extent that they crowd out your red blood cells and platelets.
The precise cause of the illness is still unknown, and there is no known preventative action. However, Clary Sage Essential Oil can help a patient battle the disease.
That is because Clary Sage is rich with a compound called Sclareol, which is proven to kill cancer cells. There are ongoing studies on the connection between leukemia and clary sage, and the science is very promising!
How to Use Clary Sage Essential Oil
Just as with any essential oil, there are many methods in which you can deliver the benefits of clary sage.
Here are a few.
Inhalation or Aromatherapy
Use a diffuser to disperse your essential oils. It’s one of the most effective ways you enjoy it, and you’ll make your place smell great.
Don’t have an electric diffuser? Repurpose your candle wax melter by adding a few drops of essential oil and 1/8 a cup of hot water.
Rub Essential Oil into Your Skin
Another very easy way to use Clary Sage Essential Oil is to apply it topically.
Topical application works in two ways.
First, you will inhale the aroma throughout the day. Second, your body will absorb the oil through the skin delivering deeper benefits.
Remember that you should never apply essential oils to your skin without diluting it in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Massage essential oil into your hair
This is a second topical application, but it targets stimulation of your scalp and hair follicles.
You can add a few drops of essential oil to your shampoo to dilute the oils. Or, you can make a hair mask of coconut oil and your essential oil. Apply the mask at the beginning of your shower.
As you are rinsing essential oils (either shampoo or a homemade hair mask), give yourself a nice scalp massage.
Add essential oil to your bath water
Bathing in essential oil is beneficial in caring for your skin, and the heat of the water releases the vapors into the air for you to inhale. It’s like a one-two punch for whatever ails you.
Place 5-6 drops (more or less depending on your preference) of essential oil and a tablespoon or carrier oil into you warm bath water before you enjoy a nice, long soak.
Add it to Your DIY Beauty Products
Do you enjoy making your own natural beauty products at home? Think of ensuring the safety your creations the way the big cosmetic companies do–by adding a few drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil.
Remember that Clary Sage is both antibacterial and antimicrobial. Therefore, the addition of this oil will inhibit the growth of bacteria that can cause your product to spoil prematurely.
Take orally in Food, Green Smoothies, or Tea
Clary sage essential oil is one oil that’s generally accepted safe for consumption. If you plan to ingest this oil, purchase only the finest quality, purest oils.
A little of this goes a very long way. Add a drop of clary sage essential oil and a teaspoon of honey to your morning tea. Or, enjoy just a drop in your green smoothie or other foods.
This essential oil is used in commercially prepared wines, liqueurs, bakery items, and frozen goods, so why not give it a try at home?
Clary Sage Hand & Body Scrub: My personal recipe
I make a fresh batch of Clary Sage Hand and Body Scrub about every two weeks. I take the batch and divide it into two half-pint mason jars.
One jar sits on the windowsill above my kitchen sink. When I come home, in from the garden, or am about to prepare food, I scrub my hands with this scrub.
It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial, so I am assured that my hands are clean and safe.
I keep the second jar in my shower. Yes, I am aware of the danger of glass in the bathtub–my mom has warned me of the same thing on many occasions.
Where I live in North Carolina, close to Albemarle Sound, we are plagued with mosquitoes. Every morning, I scrub my neck to my toes with my Clary Sage Hand and Body Scrub. (Note: I don’t use it on my face–it contains coconut oil which can clog pores).
This leaves my skin soft, exfoliated and moisturized. Plus, I become a walking mosquito repellent.
How to Make Clary Sage Essential Oil Hand and Body Scrub
- Gather your materials. You need the following items:
- 1 cup of granulated white sugar
- 20 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil (I like a stronger fragrance)
- 1/8 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of 12,000 IU Vitamin E oil
- 1 tablespoon of cold water
- Put all the ingredients in a glass bowl. Use a fork to stir until you get the consistency of a scrub. Don’t use your hands; your body heat will melt the coconut oil and sugar into a paste instead of a scrub.
- Spoon into a mason jar. If you plan to use it in the shower, you may prefer a plastic container.
Sage vs Clary Sage
Clary sage is not the same culinary herb that you grow in the garden or stuff inside your turkey every Turkey Day.
Consider it a sibling to that familiar herb. Just as two siblings can resemble each other but take totally opposite paths in life, garden sage and clary sage should not be lumped together.
Side Effects and Precautions of Clary Sage Essential Oil
Here’s a rundown of precautions you should take when adding clary sage to your essential oil lineup.
Low blood pressure
Because Clary Sage oil is so adept at reducing blood pressure, it should be used very cautiously by patients with hypotension aka low blood pressure.
Use can cause dizziness, fainting, or a dangerously slowed heartbeat for those patients.
Don’t Use With Alcohol or Drugs
The components of that make your central nervous system help calm your stress, anxiety, and offer relaxation can become dangerous if you mix clary sage oil with alcohol or drugs.
Try a Patch Test
If you are planning to slip Clary Sage into your skin care routine or apply it topically, try a patch test of a drop of essential oil mixed in a tiny amount of carrier oil. Wait 24 hours to ensure you don’t have any reaction, then you are generally safe to begin implementing it.
Potential Headaches and Drowsiness
For some people, using Clary Sage causes drowsiness and headaches. Discontinue use if you have this adverse reaction.
Do Not Use on Babies
Clary sage essential oil is not considered safe for babies or very young children. Most recommend that you wait until a child is 24 months old before using this oil.
Even then, it’s recommended that you only diffuse the oil and don’t apply it topically.
If you’re uncertain about whether any essential oil is safe for children, check first with the pediatrician.
Clary Sage Essential Oil and Pregnancy
There is much anecdotal evidence of women who used clary sage to induce labor.
While clary sage can help alleviate anxiety or stress during childbirth, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Clary Sage Essential Oil FAQs
Where should I apply Clary Sage Essential Oil?
If you want to use your essential oil by applying it directly to the skin, mix it with a carrier oil and use it on the pulse points of your wrist, ankles, knees, and the back of your neck.
Can I ingest Clary Sage Essential Oil?
The short answer to this, is yes. That, however, comes with a caveat. Purchase only high-quality, 100% pure essential oil if you plan to consume it.
What Essential Oil Can I Substitute for Clary Sage?
Are you’re looking for an essential oil that hits on a lot of the same notes as Clary Sage, but you are uncertain if you’ll enjoy it? Try Lavender Essential Oil as a substitute.
Not only does it offer many (but not all) of the same benefits, it is safe for children!
What Other Essential Oils Pair Well With Clary Sage?
Here are a few of the essential oils that are heavenly when paired with Clary Sage:
- Sweet Orange
Pairing florals will enhance the subtle, flowery notes of Clary Sage and make it burst into bloom.
On the other hand, citrus pairings will underscore the freshness of the fragrance and create a crisp, clean aroma.
Finally, the woodsy fragrances will transform it into a more masculine fragrance for men who love essential oils.
What Carrier Oils Should I Use with Clary Sage?
That depends on what carrier oils you prefer. Some of my favorites are the following:
- Sweet almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Jojoba oil
- Rosehip oil
- Argan oil
Does Clary Sage Induce Labor?
That’s a tricky question. There is much anecdotal evidence that Clary Sage induces labor. Traditional midwives swear to this fact!
However, some in the medical community dispute this claim.
Because of the conflicting evidence, it’s safest to avoid Clary Sage Essential Oil during pregnancy.
Final Thoughts on Clary Sage
Clary Sage Essential Oil is an amazing product. It’s useful for relieving many ailments and can even prevent infections.
Do you use Clary Sage Essential Oil? I’d be interested to hear your feedback.