I’ve recently been asked to produce some Clary Sage incense sticks. So I thought I’d review the note I wrote on Clary Sage essential oil and blog it.
Native to southern Europe but grown extensively worldwide in the Mediterranean, Russia, The USA, England, Morocco and central Europe. It is considered that the French Moroccan and English clary are of superior quality for perfumery work. The plant is a stout biennial or perennial herb up to approximately 1 metre high. It has large, hairy leaves which are green with a hint of purple and small blue flowers which develop into the purply-pink edged flowers seen in the picture. The whole plant is highly aromatic and it self-seeds very readily.
Used in the middle ages to intensify wine, hence also known as muscatel sage. Other synonyms include clear eye, see bright. This species is closely related to common or garden sage and Spanish sage.
A mucilage of the seeds was traditionally used to remove foreign bodies from the eye and for treating tumours. The herb was highly esteemed in the Middle Ages but has now fallen out of use. It was traditionally used for digestive disorders, kidney disease, uterine and menstrual complaints, for cleansing ulcers and as a general nerve tonic.
The herb is also considered cooling for inflammation and can be especially useful for throat and respiratory infections. Interestingly Joseph Miller considered it warming and it is suggested for fridigity or infertility.
Anti-convulsive, antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, deodorant, digestive, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, regulator (of seborrhoea), sedative, stomachic, tonic and uterine. According to the work of Dr Marie Lis-Balchin antibacterial action was demonstrated against 11-18 of 25 different bacteria and 9-15 of 20 Listeria monocytogenes varieties. 1 in 5 bacteria were affected by the vapour. There was also slight anti fungal effect against 3 of 5 fungi but moderate to good action against 3 of 3. Can induce a feeling of euphoria and make concentration difficult.
Up to 75% linalyl acetate, linalol, pinene, myrcene and phellandrene. Several different chemotypes are available so constituents will vary according to this and geographical origin. According to Caddy the main constituents are esters (linalyl acetate, geranyl acetate and neryl acetate) and alcohols (linalool, sclareol, alpha-terpineol and alpha-bisabolol) and the oil contains small quantities of ketones and up to 4% sesquiterpenes (caryophyllene, germacrene, bourbonene). The oil contains up to 1.8% oxides (1,8 cineole).
The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the flowering tops and leaves. It is also possible to obtain a concrete and absolute produced by solvent extraction but in very small quantities. The oil is considered colourless to pale yellowy-green with a sweet, nutty herbaceous scent. There have been cases of adulteration where synthetic Linalyl acetate and Linalool may be added or Lavender oil, Bergamot Mint or others. This reinforces the need to buy good quality stock from a reputable supplier.
Lawless suggests blending with juniper, lavender, coriander, cardamom, geranium, sandalwood, cedarwood, pine, labdanum, jasmine, frankincense, bergamot and citrus oils. Worwood also adds cypress, rose absolute, bay, black pepper, patchouli and tea tree.
Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic. Avoid during pregnancy or if you have or are likely to drink alcohol. Clary Sage has GRAS status (Generally Regarded as Safe) from the FDA. LD50 toxicity for oral and dermal administration demonstrates safety, Irritation was found to be Nil in humans at a level of 8% (16 drops of essential oil in 10mls of carrier).
In traditional aromatherapy the oil has a number of uses including skin care where it is useful for inflamed conditions, acne, boils and balancing oily skin and hair. It is possibly also useful for more mature skin. It can be helpful for high blood pressure, muscular aches and pains, asthma and throat infections, colic, cramp, dyspepsia and flatulence. Within the genito-urinary system it may be helpful for amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, leucorrhoea and labour pain. It is also useful for helping with depression, frigidity, impotence, migraine, nervous tension and stress-related disorders. Robert Tisserand also lists the oil as Yang, rules by Mercury with an odour intensity of 5 (reasonably low) and an evaporation rate of 82 (moderately low)
I was reminded of this oil while reading a book by Sri Ram Kaa and Kira Raa. Talking with Archangel Zadkiel about conscious creation, the Archangel says
“The purpose of receiving Angelic Communication is so that one may have an opportunity to first remember and reconnect with their Authentic Soul knowing.
In the reconnection, in the knowing, and in the being-ness of your Authentic Soul, all decisions are readily apparent. They come from a centre of love that can only be expressed from the soul level. It is not the illusionary love that has conditions, boundaries and judgements. It is the love that goes beyond self-service, and the love that says, “I see with clarity; therefore, I am able to be a conscious co-creator.””
Given the herb’s traditional uses we could extrapolate that the energetic uses relate primarily to the brow and sacral chakras. The colour of the oil tends to also suggest solar plexus (kidney). Chiazzari gives the healing colour rays as Magenta and Violet indicating a higher energetic frequency. According to Chiazzari the violet ray activates the central nervous system, the red vibration energises the kidneys enhancing energy flow through the body and helping with grounding. The purple ray balances and harmonises the crown chakra.
Herbs that are considered cooling carry a degree of blue energy (throat/brow).
Loughran and Bull suggest the following for the given chakras:-
General Calms and uplifts
Sixth Increases dreaming. Strengthens our inner eye to “see” more clearly. Inspires.
Valerie Worwood lists the emotional healing uses of clary sage as “to encourage calm, confidence, grounding,regeneration, tranquillity, revitalization, valance and restoration.
Use in massage, burners or for anointing. Apply in dilution over the chakras or to the feet, throat or abdomen. The lower dilution the higher the vibration. If using for breathing work or in a burner, visualise the scent reaching the appropriate part of the body or simply breathe in with intent and watch where the scent/colour goes in your body.
Lawless, J. The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils
Davis, P. Aromatherapy A-Z
Schnaubelt, K. Advanced Aromatherapy
Tisserand R and Balacs T. Essential oil safety
Tisserand R The Art of Aromatherapy
Davis, P. Subtle Aromatherapy
Loughran J.K. and Bull R. Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques
Loughran J.K. and Bull R. Aromatherapy Anointing oils – spiritual blessings, ceremonies and affirmations
Worwood V. The Fragrant Heavens
Chiazzari S. Colour Scents
Cunningham S. Magical Aromatherapy