History and Origins: Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea L.) is a hardy evergreen shrub that is native to southern Europe. As you can see in the photos below, this beautiful plant has fuzzy heart-shaped leaves and multiple pale-blue, lavender-pink, or white flowers. Throughout the European continent, Clary Sage can be found either growing wild or in home gardens. It has a long history of use in both Greek and Western medicine traditions and is also passed through generations of the traditions of European wise woman elders. Clary Sage is documented in the herbals of Roman times.
The definition of the English name for Clary is derived from the Latin word clarus, meaning “clear.” The name of the genus, Salvia, is derived from the Latin word salvere meaning “to save or heal.”
Aromatherapists view Clary Sage essential oil as a key vital remedy. Clary Sage is re-emerging as a major aromatic ally for women. It is one of several remedies with profound effects on neuroendocrine functions. ~ Peter Holmes, Aromatica
Physical Properties: Clary Sage essential oil is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antispasmodic, astringent, mucostatic, carminative, digestive stimulant, nervous and cerebral restorative, anti-depressive, a mild euphoric, reproductive restorative, agalactic, venous and pelvic restorative, and neuromuscular, uterine, intestinal and respiratory relaxant.
Physically, Clary Sage has the unique ability to calm and relax tension, while also stimulating and restoring tissues and organs. It possesses a sort of inner plant wisdom to adapt and change to varying conditions. For example, when needed, Clary Sage can effectively relax the uterus resolving painful periods. But when conditions are different, in the case of stalled labor, the very same oil can facilitate uterine contractions. It has long been used as a woman’s remedy and has a history of treating everything from cramps to menstrual irregularities and mood swings. Additionally, it is very useful in transitions within the hormonal spectrum over a woman’s life: Used for treating peri menopausal and menopausal symptoms such as night sweats, fatigue, poor concentration and memory, vaginal dryness and low libido. It can also aid the mini-transitions that happen over the course of one moon cycle in a menstruating woman.
Clary Sage acts as a restorative and anti-depressive to the nervous system, a decongestant and relaxant to the respiratory system, and a relaxant to the digestive system. Supporting depression, asthma, and spasmodic coughs, as well as intestinal cramping, IBS, and colic.
Topical safety status: Non-skin irritant, non-sensitizing.
Precautions: Use Clary Sage oil with caution during pregnancy in general. It is not contraindicated but deserves awareness in regards to exposure due to uterine affinity. Because of its untested hormonal actions, it should only be used with caution internally in estrogen-dependent conditions which may include cysts, endometriosis, and cancers. ~ Peter Holmes, Aromatica
Aromatic Profile: Clary Sage contains elements of sweet, green, and wood. It is a middle note. The High Sclareol variety of Clary Sage produces a fresh, delicate top-note which elevates into a rich, sweet, herbaceous note.
Appearance: Pale yellow or emerald green fluid mobile liquid.
Blends well with Lavender, Roman chamomile, Atlas cedarwood, Geranium Rose, Bergamot, Patchouli, Palmarosa, Blue Tansy, Jasmine, Cypress, and Petitgrain.
Research: In 2012 at Hungkuang University, in Taichung, Taiwan, a double-blind study for menstrual pain was conducted. Essential oils blended with lavender (Lavandula officinalis), clary sage (Salvia sclarea) and marjoram (Origanum majorana) in a 2:1:1 ratio was diluted in unscented cream at 3% concentration for the essential oil group. All outpatients used the cream daily to massage their lower abdomen from the end of the last menstruation continuing to the beginning of the next menstruation. Participants reported a 79% reduction in menstrual pain. You can read about the study here.
Here is a Recipe for you to try for PMS pain.