Clary sage - essential oil
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a type of sage, originally from the Mediterranean, which grows up to 5 feet tall, has furry, heart-shaped leaves and spikes of blue or pink flowers between May and September. The origin of the word clary is uncertain, but may be derived from the Latin, clarus, meaning clear. In medieval times the herb was known as Clear Eye was used to clear eye infections.
A pale yellow essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the tips of the flowering shoots and the leaves. Clary sage oil is a safe alternative to sage oil and has many uses in aromatherapy. It has a very pleasant 'nutty' aroma which has been described as causing euphoria. It has a calming effect on the central nervous system and muscle relaxing properties, both of which enhance its potential use as an aphrodisiac and an antidepressant. It is best used, suitably diluted in carrier oil, as a rub, or in a warm bath.
Clary sage mimics the properties of oestrogen in that it helps menstrual and problems - given in the first half of a woman's cycle it can help with missing periods, although if given later it can induce heavy bleeding. It is also thought to be helpful in the treatment of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome).
Clary sage is a muscle relaxant and is an excellent oil to use for asthma since it relaxes the muscles in the airways and helps relieve the nervous anxiety of the attack. In the same way, these properties make it useful for digestive upsets and cholic, although extreme caution should be taken when treating young children with this or any other essential oil, and it should never be used on very young babies.
The oil is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and is good for normalising excessively greasy or dry skin and hair - a few drops should be added to the rinsing water after washing.
Care should be taken when using clary sage, especially if the person will be driving, because of its slightly narcotic effects. It can produce a 'high' making concentration difficult and slowing reaction times. Alcohol should never be consumed within a few hours of treatment with the oil because it intensifies the effects of the alcohol, may induce hallucinations and will leave you with one hell of a hangover!
Aromatherapy An A-Z, by Patricia Davis
Aromatherapy is not a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a health condition, consult your physician. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, consult your doctor before using any aromatherapy products. Do not take essential oils internally. Keep essential oils and all aromatherapy products out of the reach of children