Clary sage essential oil comes from the botanical family Labiatae (mint) via steam distillation from the flowering plant. Nicknamed “clear eyes,” clary sage was famous during the Middle Ages for its ability to clear eye problems. It was also widely used for kidney/digestive/skin disorders, inflammation, sore thoughts, wounds, and female complaints. Today, the benefits of clary sage essential oil are used for cramps, emotional stress, endometriosis, estrogen balance, hair health, infertility, hot flashes, hormone balance, insomnia, lactation, mood swings, postpartum depression, premenopause, and muscle fatigue.
We can thank clary sage’s potent properties for its extensive benefits and uses.
- Nerve tonic
Clary sage is most popularly used topically and aromatically. For aromatic use of the oil, direct inhalation or five drops in the diffuser, will do the trick. Clary sage blends beautifully with bergamot, citrus oils, cypress, geranium, and sandalwood.
6 Benefits of Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage is one of the best essential oils for hormone support, especially for women. Because clary sage contains natural phytoestrogens (dietary estrogens) derived from plants, the oil has the ability to regulate estrogen levels and ensure long-term health of the uterus.
Today, we are seeing an increase in health issues like infertility, estrogen-based cancers, and polycystic ovary syndrome—all which are caused by excess estrogen in the body. Clary sage can help balance out estrogen levels, helping prevent disease caused by too much estrogen.
The Journal of Phytotherapy Research published a study in 2014 looking at the efficacy of clary sage in post-menopausal women in their 50s, some of whom were diagnosed with depression. The study found that aromatic use of clary sage reduced cortisol levels by 36 percent and improved thyroid hormone levels. Researchers concluded that “clary sage oil had a statistically significant effect on lowering cortisol and had an antidepressant effect improving mood.”
Relieves Menstrual Pain
Throughout history clary sage has been praised for its ability to relieve menstrual discomfort. But how?
Clary sage can regulate the menstrual cycle by balancing hormone levels naturally, as we learned above. It can also help with common PMS symptoms like mood swings, bloating, cramps, and even food cravings.
Do you ever get migraines or headaches during your cycle? Clary sage’s antispasmodic properties allow it to treat spasms like muscle cramps, headaches, and stomach aches by relaxing nerve impulses.
One study looked at the effects of aromatherapy as a pain reliever during the menstrual cycle of high school girls. Half of the group took acetaminophen (pain killer) while the other half used aromatherapy massage. The aromatherapy group used a combination of clary sage, marjoram, cinnamon, geranium, and ginger oils with a base of almond oil.
After 24 hours, the study found that the reduction of pain was significantly higher in the aromatherapy group than the acetaminophen group.
Another study done by Oxford Brooks University looked at the efficacy of aromatherapy on women in labor over the course of eight years and involving 8,058 women.
The study found that aromatherapy of certain oils is effective in reducing maternal anxiety, fear, and pain during labor. Of the 10 essential oils used, chamomile and clary sage were the most effective in reducing pain.
Clary sage is a natural sedative that produces feelings of peace and calm. Insomnia can be a result of a lot of things, but most of the time it is a result of stress and hormonal imbalance. As we’ve learned, clary sage has the ability to balance hormones and lower cortisol levels. If you suffer from insomnia due to stress and hormone imbalance, clary sage may be a good natural alternative to prescription sleep medications.
In 2017, the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study that found topical use of clary sage, lavender oil, grapefruit extract, and neroli oil improved sleep quality in nurses working night shifts.
Supports Cardiovascular Health and Increases Circulation
As an anti-inflammatory, clary sage oil can naturally protect cardiovascular health and in some cases improve it, and lower cholesterol naturally. And because of clary sage’s ability to decrease emotional stress and improve circulation, clary sage is a great natural choice for protecting heart health.
A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial looked at 34 female patients’ blood pressure. One group inhaled lavender oil, another inhaled clary sage oil, and the last group inhaled almond oil (placebo). The study concluded that clary sage significantly decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure and improved respiratory rate compared to the other groups.
There is a decent amount of research showing clary sage’s potential benefits of an antidepressant. One study looked at menopausal women and the effect of clary sage on cortisol levels. The study found that clary sage reduced the stress hormone and produced an antidepressant like effect.
Another study done on rats, found that clary sage could act as an anti-stressor and help with depression.
Clary Sage Uses & How-Tos
Natural Antidepressant and Stress Reliever
Add 5 drops to a diffuser and inhale deeply. Add a couple drops of lavender or bergamot for the ultimate relaxing mood boost.
Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
Inhale directly from the bottle or mix one to two drops with coconut oil and apply to the bottom of feet.
Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Mix 2-3 drops of clary sage with a teaspoon or so of coconut oil and massage onto areas of discomfort.
Add two drops of clary sage to the pillow before drifting off to sleep. Or diffuse 5 drops and inhale deeply before hitting the hay.
- Modern Essentials Handbook. AromaTools, 2019.