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"Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul."
Library at Thebes, inscription over the door
Clary sage is an ancient European plant that was popular in the Middle Ages; today, clary sage oil is a popular essential oil for women.
Traditional Use of Clary Sage
In the Middle Ages, clary sage (Salvia sclarea) was used for digestive disorders and uterine and menstrual problems. It is recorded that 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper used clary sage for skin infections, in a mixture of honey and boiled leaves with vinegar.
Botanical Description of Clary Sage
Clary sage is a member of the Lamiaceae plant family and is related to both common sage (salvia officinalis) and Spanish sage (Salvia lavendulaefolia). It is cultivated in the UK, the Mediterranean, Morocco, Russia and the United States; it is a perennial or biennial herb that grows to a height of three feet.
Clary sage has flowers that resemble lupines and are blue, cream, pink or purple in color; the leaves of clary sage are hairy and sometimes it is possible to see the essential oil between the hairs on the leaves of the plant. Clary sage essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers and the leaves of the plant. Although native to southern Europe, clary sage is now cultivated world wide.
Clary sage is a high altitude plant; it is grown at high altitude to produce the most effective essential oil because of the high content of esters contained within the essential oil of the plant. Together with alcohol, the other major chemical component of clary sage essential oil, the effect is an overall balancing, calming essential oil.
Use of Clary Sage Essential Oil in Aromatherapy
Clary sage essential oil has the following properties:
Use of Clary Sage Oil for Women's Health Problems
Clary sage essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat many health problems and difficulties associated with women, including:
–post natal depression.
Cautions for Using Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil is non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating; it is often preferred over common sage oil because of its lower toxicity levels. However, clary sage essential oil is advised against use in pregnancy and combined in use with alcohol.
Clary sage essential oil has the ability to induce a narcotic effect and used repeatedly in large amounts can cause drowsiness. As is the case when using any essential oil, exercise care and take professional advice if you are inexperienced in the use of essential oils.
- Harding, Jennie 2005 Aromatherapy Massage for You UK: Duncan Baird Publishers
- Lawless, Julia 1995 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils UK: Thorsons
This article was written by Sharon Falsetto and appeared in its original format on Suite101 as Clary Sage Essential Oil
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