This month's aromatherapy post is all about clary sage. Clary sage isn't one of the more popular essential oils, and many people have never heard of it, but it has myriad benefits making it a great oil to have on hand. Clary sage is often considered to be a women's oil because a number of its benefits assist in things like hormone balance, and relieving pain associated with menstruation and childbirth.
Upon first glance, clary sage looks very similar to lavender, but it is actually a member of the salvia, or sage, family. You can tell the difference by looking at the leaves which much more closely resemble the sage leaves that you may find in smudge bundles or for cooking with. The aroma is also very different than that of a lavender flower. Clary sage is not the sweetest smelling herb, being much more bitter and earthy than the lavender that it looks similar to.
Labor Augmentation and Induction
Clary sage is one of the oils that I use when I do labor induction or augmentation massage. It helps to stimulate uterine contractions while at the same time dulls the pain from them. If you would like to try using clary sage to start your labor, I recommend waiting until you are considered full term. The way I use it is by mixing it into my induction oil with some lavender and jasmine, and I rub 2 drops over the mama's belly. This is a great oil to have in your birth bag wherever you choose to deliver. If you find that your contractions begin getting irregular, you can try a drop or 2 of clary sage on your belly to help regulate them. This is particularly effective when paired with acupressure or nipple stimulation.
Menstrual Cramp Relief
What we call menstrual cramps actually technically aren't cramps at all. They are uterine contractions. That's right. Menstrual cramps are the same thing as the contractions that we have during childbirth, but for most people they are far less intense. That means that clary sage can work on menstrual cramps in the same way that it works to increase contractions and dull pain during labor. Not only can clary sage help dull the pain of our cramps, but it can also help to relieve other uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, headaches, mood swings, bloating, cravings and more. It does this by relaxing some of our involuntary nerve impulses. You can use clary sage the same way for both labor and period pain, with one difference. Instead of rubbing the drops over your belly, it should be much lower in your pelvic region where your non-pregnant uterus is. Basically, you can rub the drops over the space between your iliac crests (big curving pelvic bones) where you are likely feeling the most pain.
Those of you who regularly read my blog may remember that I mentioned clary sage in my post about ovarian cysts. I can speak from personal experience to tell you that rubbing a couple drops of clary sage over the affected ovary(ies) can help to dull the pain a lot. Like with the menstrual and labor pains, it works as an anti-spasmodic to dull the pain related to the cysts. To learn more about treating ovarian cysts naturally, read my post about it here!
Clary sage can help to balance the production of estrogen which can aid in uterine health and can even help to prevent uterine and ovarian cancer. Many of the conditions that may be caused by estrogen imbalance can be affected in a positive way by clary sage because of it's ability to maintain a healthy balance of estrogen production in the body. It can be used for things like polycystic ovarian syndrome, extreme menstrual symptoms, and as support during and after menopause.
Clary sage works as a vasodilator. This means that it opens up your blood vessels allowing more blood to flow through. When we open up these vessels, the blood pressure goes down because there is more room for the blood to flow. This means that clary sage is an excellent oil to have on hand if you have high blood pressure. Clary sage also aids in respiration, meaning that it helps your lungs to get more oxygen to our blood which assists in the function of the entire rest of your body.
Assists Digestive Function
If you have trouble with digestion or gas, clary sage is a good oil to have on hand. It can help to promote secretions of digestive fluids which can help promote better absorption of nutrients and speed up your digestive process. It also helps to relieve indigestion, bloating, cramping, and abdominal discomfort associated with digestive disorders. It can help to heal ulcers and wounds in the stomach and colon. Finally, clary sage helps to promote a healthy colon and can relieve gas and constipation.
Promote Healthy Sleep
Clary sage can be used as a sedative to promote healthy sleep. It can also be used to aid in relaxation and calming the mind. If you have trouble with insomnia, try putting some clary sage on your pillow at night to help you fall asleep more easily.
Reduces Depression and Promotes Euphoria
Clary sage has a wonderful effect on our emotions. It can promote feelings of euphoria, hope, and joy, and decrease stress and anxiety. Clary sage can also boost confidence and self esteem, and lessen feelings of failure, loneliness, and insecurity. Because of these effects, clary sage is often used to treat depression and other mood disorders. You can also use it to lift your spirits on a bad day. If you are feeling particularly down, grab a bottle of clary sage, and take a whiff. It may help to make you feel lighter and more hopeful.
Disinfectant and Anti-bacterial
Like many other essential oils, clary sage is anti-bacterial. More specifically, studies have shown that clary sage is helpful in clearing up bacterial infections of the colon, intestines, and urinary tract. Using clary sage has also been shown to help prevent bacteria from entering our bodies through food or drink. In addition to helping with bacterial infections, it is also an anti-septic which makes it helpful for cleaning out wounds and preventing them from becoming infected. It can also help to prevent tetanus in open wounds.
Clary sage contains an ester called linalyl acetate. What this does is help to clear up rashes and inflammation of the skin. It can also help to balance the production of oils which naturally occur in your skin, meaning that it can prevent both oily skin and dry skin. When using clary sage on your face, try mixing it into a cleanser or moisturizer you already have, or you can add it to a natural carrier oil such as sweet almond, coconut, or jojoba.
Clary sage is often referred to as an aphrodisiac meaning that it helps to increase sexual desire. This is particularly true if lack of libido is caused by stress. Clary sage not only helps to eliminate feelings of stress, but it promotes hormones which increase sexual desire and increase performance in both men and women.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.