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Clary Sage is one of my favourite essential oils. I would describe it's smell as being strong, woody and earthy. It's also often described as having a nutty aroma.
~Where Does it Come From?~
Clary Sage is a herb that grows in dry soil and is native to the Northern Mediterranean and parts of Africa and Asia. It has a long history as a medicinal herb, often as a treatment for eye problems, indeed at one time practitioners referred to it as 'Clear Eye'. These days it is mainly cultivated for use as an essential oil.
~Properties and Uses~
Some properties often associated with this oil are anti depressant, anti spasmodic, warming, muscle relaxant and sedative. Conditions it is used to treat include anxiety, insomnia, depression, asthma, indigestion, headaches, symptoms of menopause. It's considered useful in the treatment of women's health issues such as painful or irregular periods and also as a labour aid. It also apparently helps to prevent excessive sweating and is useful for treating conditions that have this as a symptom. It is probably most commonly used as a de-stressor and sleep aid.
~How I Use it~
In the Bath - The most common way I use essential oils is simply to drop 5 - 7 drops in the water whilst running a bath. I find the scent of Clary Sage particularly relaxing. I sometimes mix it with Lavender or Geranium which are other favourites and mix quite well with this. Clary Sage can make some people feel drowsy so an evening bath with this in can be the perfect way to prepare for bed.
Massage - For a massage oil I mix a little with a carrier oil, I think the last time I used extra virgin olive oil. You don't need much, maybe three or four drops per tablespoon of carrier oil. If you don't have olive oil in, sunflower oil will do just as well. A lot of people buy sweet almond oil specifically to use with essential oils, as they need to be mixed with a carrier oil if they are to be used on the skin, but almost any vegetable based oil will do for a carrier.
Pregnancy - Clary Sage is one of several oils which must not be used during pregnancy. Contrary to this advice however, it is often mentioned as being a useful oil during late pregnancy. When I was pregnant I read a lot about it being a natural aid to induce labour as it encourages the uterus to contract. I bought a bottle of this at the end of my pregnancy, after my due date had passed. I was told to mix it into a massage oil and gently rub it around my abdomen once or twice a day. This wasn't the only piece of daft advice I followed to bring on labour but my child stayed put until I eventually ended up going into hospital to be medically induced. If it has any uses during labour it's probably just as a relaxing massage oil, provided you enjoy the scent.
Sweet Dreams - One of the properties Clary Sage is credited with is causing vivid dreams. I have to say I agree with this. I tend to get quite vivid dreams anyway, but I had a Clary Sage bath a few nights ago and that night I had noticeably colourful dreams compared with other nights. It's advised not to mix Clary Sage with alcohol as the mixture of the two has also been said to lead to extreme nightmares, apparently it can also exaggerate the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
Inhalation - Some people say that Clary Sage induces euphoria upon inhalation, well I wouldn't go that far, but it is quite a powerful heady scent and inhalation can make one feel quite woozy - I know because I've been sniffing the bottle whilst writing this. The 'proper' way to inhale an essential oil is to put a few drops in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam with a towel to cover your head, but this particular oil should only be inhaled in small doses.
Other Uses - A few drops on a handkerchief to inhale when needed is said to help headaches. I couldn't comment on whether it works as I don't often get headaches and I've never used it for this. In an oil burner or other diffuser, or a tissue on a radiator as a natural air freshener. Essential oils can be used to make room sprays or perfumes too.
For external use only, don't drink alcohol if using this oil, don't use in pregnancy, asthmatics shouldn't inhale essential oils, never apply any essential oil neat to the skin.
The shelf life of essential oils is variable but most will last two years or more if kept in the right conditions. They will deteriorate if left in sunlight and are best kept in a cool, dark area - out of reach of children. I've had my most recent, (almost empty), bottle of Clary Sage for over three years now and it still smells very strong, I have noticed other oils lose their scent over time but this one hasn't. Only a very small amount of oil is ever needed at any one time, so a bottle should last several months at least.
~Price and Availability~
It's not one of the cheapest oils. A bottle of this from Boots comes in at just under £9, although I'm sure I've bought a bottle for less than a fiver in my local market.
When I need to relax and unwind one of the things I generally do is go for a soak in the bath or light some candles and use some essential oils. One of my favourites for relaxing is Clary sage. I am a firm believer in aromatherapy to help heal the body and mind. Aromatherapy is believed to work by the absorption of the essential oils into the body's circulatory system either though being absorbed through the skin or the body's mucous membranes into the nasal passages through inhaling. These oils are then carried around the body by the blood stream to do their work.
What is it?
Clary sage is a light yellow essential oil it has a slight sweet nutty aroma that is very pleasant. It is produced from a steam distillation of the flowering tops and the leaves of the herb Salivia sclarea of the Labiatae family. The plant itself is a herbaceous plant that is native to southern Europe. This is a biennial herb that grows up to 1 metre high. The plant has large, hairy leaves and small blue and white flowers.
What Clary sage is used for?
Clary sage is often referred to as the woman's herb as it can be used to ease menstrual pain and help induce and ease labour. However it also has many other uses, it has both anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and some people recommend its use for conditions such as athletes foot. The other main benefit is how it works on the mind and the body's nervous system. This is due to its euphoric qualities and for this reason it is believed to be good to help anxiety, depression and insomnia. I mainly use this oil for when I am feeling stressed or have period pain.
As this oil is said to induce labour and ease labour pains I was told during my aromatherapy course that it is best avoided during pregnancy. I personally would definitely avoid it as well if you are trying to conceive as I think this is quiet a powerful herb.
I would also advise against using this oil if you need to drive or do something that involves a lot of concentration afterwards as it does tend to induce sleepiness and relaxation.
It is also advised not to use this oil when drinking alcohol for its narcotic effects as it can make you a bit giddy and induce you to have some weird nightmares rather than the pleasant dreams you get by using this oil by itself.
How I use this oil and the benefits I notice
In the bath - I have to admit this is my favourite way of using this oil at the moment as it is so easy to do. What you do is mix four to six drops of the Clary sage essential oil with some milk as this helps it disperse in the water rather than it just sitting there on the top, I generally use an egg cup to do my mixing in. What I find is that by doing this the warmth of the bath helps the oil permeates into my skin and when I get out of the bath I do feel calmer from both the oils permeating my skin and inhaling the oil whilst in the bath. I sometimes mix this with Frankincense too if I have had a particularly stressful day at work as the combination of the too seem to complement each other well for their stress busting effects. By bathing in the milk and oil combination I do feel a bit like Cleopatra and her baths which does bring a smile to my face. Some people find that Clary sage is good for dry skin, so bathing in this oil is good for your skin too.
Bedding sprays- My next favourite way to use this oil is to make up a spray with it if I have the time. I use a perfume atomiser for this purpose this is the type that you generally get in gift sets that your are meant to decant perfume into. What you do is mix 1 teaspoon of essential oils to 7 ounces of distilled/ mineral water along with 1 ounce of vodka. This can then be spray onto bedding, linens, towels, and use as a room spray to disinfect and spray a nice fragrance around the air. I tend to use this most on my bed linen before bedtime to help me relax. What I do once it is sprayed and I am in bed is focus on the smell and deep breathing it to help me relax and fall asleep. I find this works better for me than most of the over the counter sleep sprays that you can buy. By it containing vodka and water to disperse the oil there is no oily residue left on you linens and bedding either. How ever if you don't want the hassle of making a spray I also sometime put a couple of drops on to some cotton wool and put these into the corner of my pillows and find this is just as effective with the Clary sage to help me relax and unwind before sleep.
Massages. If my husband was better at massage than he is I would always go for this as the relaxing effects of massage coupled with the oils generally mean that I get rid of a lot of tension knots in my back. When I was doing my aromatherapy course I think this was the most relaxed I have ever been in my life as I was getting a massage at least twice a month generally with oils such as Clary sage. So if your partner is good at massage I would recommend making it up the following way. Put 15 to 20 drops of pure essential oil in 1 ounce of massage oil base such as almond oil or good old olive oil. The benefits of the Clary sage seem to be heightening during this and it helps get rid of all of those nasty stress toxins. What you can also do and I what I find helpful with menstrual pain is to mix a few drop s of Clary sage into some un-perfumed body lotion such as the Simple ones. I then to rub this into my belly area around and below my belly button and this seems to ease the cramping that I get from my periods. You could also do this to rub into your shoulders to help ease any tension you are carrying there.
Inhalation is my least favourite way of using oils unless I have a cold that is. The reason for this is I find the towel and stream effect a bit tricky with my contact lens. What you need to do is add two or three drops of essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water and breathe in the steam for a few minutes. You do this in the same way as you would for a cold with a towel draped over your head to capture the steam with the essences. Inhalation is supposed to be a great way to get the potency of essential oils into your system as the mucous membranes in the nasal passages are very thin.
I always find that when I have used Clary sage to help me relax on an evening that it makes me feel very drowsy and my muscles feel as if the aches and pains have disappeared for a while. Provided I haven't had a glass of wine with my relaxing bath I find that I do dream quiet a bit that night but the dreams are usually pleasant in nature. If I have been naughty and forgotten and had a glass of wine though my dreams do then take on a sinister edge.
Given Clary oil is supposed to be good at inducing labour and helping with the labour contractions I decided when I was pregnant with my son that I would put together a blend of Clary Sage and Jasmine which is also good for labour contractions and is calming so that when I went to give birth my husband could massage this on to the bump and back to help ease the labour pains. As with all my labour plans this went out of the window as I had a failed induction so had a caesarean instead. So though this is a good use for Clary sage I can't comment on how effective it is as I never got to try it in action.
I think Clary sage is a great essential oil and is wonderful to use in the treatment of stress and anxiety. I also find it helps with my menstrual pain. I would definitely recommend its use to aid in a natural way sleep and relaxing to de-bust that stress. As with all aromatherapy oils it is best to buy pure oils from good retailers such as Tisserard as better quality oils tend to produce better quality results in my experience. It tends to cost around £8 for a bottle but it does last a longer time if stored correctly in a cool dark place away from direct sunlight. Just don't use it with alcohol as you may have some horrid dreams.
Clary Sage essential oil is steam distilled from the salvia scelera plant. The family this plant belongs to is Lamaeaceae (important when purchasing oil). The flowers from the tops of this plant are used to extract the oil and the main commercial producer is Morocco. The aroma of this oil is top to middle note which means that it is sharp and refreshing but also has longer lasting, heavier tones to it. USES: +++++ Soothes, Relaxes, Warms body, Uplifts spirit, Can help maintain hormone balance and correct problems as it contains an oestrogen type hormone, Can help with sleep problems , Oily hair and skin can be improved by the application of this oil, Can actually help to make skin look less worn and wrinkled. Balances the system calms the nerves and tones up muscles. Skin conditioner, Astringent, Muscle relaxant, Has been said to be an aphrodisiac. HOW TO USE: +++++++++++ If using on the scalp, massage two drops into scalp. Then apply shampoo directly to scalp before washing hair in the normal way. Add to a carrier oil like almond or grapeseed, at 1% solution, if using this as a massage medium or applying to skin. Never apply undiluted. Use in a diffuser or make up a compress if you need to treat specific areas of the skin. Calming effect if used as a room fragrancer on light bulbs or on a wet cloth hung over a radiator. WARNING: ++++++++ Do not use during pregnancy without medical advice. this oil can provoke colourful and dramatic dreams if used near bedtime. It has a strange almost hypnotic effect on the mind. Be careful about driving after using it! Avoid alcohol too. VERDICT: +++++++++ Relaxing and soothing. I have also had some really amazing dreams after using a couple of drops of this oil in a warm
bath at bedtime. This is a very interesting affect and will suprise you if you try it! I also found that a couple of drops massaged into my scalp was very helpful with my oily scalp. Worth trying, if only for the strange dreams.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) Clary Sage is a top to middle note, which meants it lasts approx, it is usually quite intense but doesnt last very long.It has a warm, relaxing and is a reputed aphrodisiac it has a fresh sweet scent.It blends well with citrus oils, frankincense, geranium, juniper, lavender and sandalwood. The essential oil of Clary Sage is extracted from the flower tops, it is one of those scents that sometimes I am drawn to and other times I cant stand. In my opinion it is a very female oil although it is widely used in aftershaves. It is very useful for both the menopause and PMT, particularly cramps, emotional lability and lethargy .Its also good for the skin particularly inflammed or mature skin. Personally I have found clary sage very beneficial when suffering from depression associated with complete exhaustion. Adding a few drops to your bath water will do wonders.It is reputed as an euphoric aswell as having sedative properties. Please note do not drink alcohol when using clary sage, individuals have been known to suffer from vivid dreams, nightmares. It should also be avoided during pregnancy although it has its benefits during labour. Clary Sage is useful if you suffer from High Blood pressure. Clary Sage is a little more expensive than most of your esseential oils expect to pay about £7.00 for a 10ml Bottle of High Quality Pure Essential Oil.
Clary Sage is the best de-stressing oil I have come across. It has a deep nutty wood-ish aroma – not my favourite smell but by no means unpleasant. A couple of drops in an evening bath are the ideal way to ease away the pressures of the day. Personally, I prefer to blend it with a couple of drops of Frankincense or Sandalwood. The only problem you will have left is getting dry and to bed before you drop off to sleep! If stress or anxiety is causing insomnia – try a few drops of Clary and Marjoram on your pillow. Clary not only calms the mind but also acts powerfully on tense and tight muscles. This makes it an excellent choice for mixing with a carrier oil for body massage. It is especially effective for easing tension in the neck and shoulders. It is said that Clary can enhance the vividness of dreams, especially when combined with drinking alcohol – but despite several attempts I have never noticed any effect! Clary is also attributed with aphrodisiac qualities, although it is probably more as a consequence of the warm relaxed state it induces, rather than any direct effect. Try a sensual massage blend of Clary with Neroli for best results.