Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Clary and brains in one package

"Clary Sage Field" photo by KL Wood
May is the month in which many fields in my part of northeastern North Carolina burst into lovely purple and white bloom. Flowering spikes of blossoms begin to peek above their green leafy bowers and assail the senses with their beauty and pungent scent. The source of this botanical extravaganza is a plant unknown to the fields of my Carolina childhood, one that in many cases replaced tobacco. Welcome to the world of Clary Sage. 
"Salvia Sclarea" photo by H. Zell via Wikimedia Commons

The Clary Sage grown in our neck of the woods is used for extracting sclareol, refined into sclareolide, which is added to scented soaps, cologne, shampoos, detergents, etc to greatly extend the life of their fragrance. It takes the place of ambergris which used to be extracted from sperm whales. Local farmers have embraced this plant which is temperamental to grow and harvest, but well worth the effort, making North Carolina the unofficial Clary Sage Capital of the World! Please read a great article in Our State magazine for fascinating information about its history and processing.

Beyond its use in the fragrance industry, Clary Sage produces an essential oil used for centuries in a variety of treatments. Purchase only therapeutic grade oil for the following benefits:
  • Painkiller – Helps relieve headaches, back pain, muscle stiffness, and cramps.
    "Purple Clary Sage" photo by KL Wood
  • Eye Health –Known in the Middle Ages as "Clear Eyes."
  • Antiseptic – Used to cleanse wounds and may help protect the body during surgery and against other infections.
  • Aphrodisiac – Boosts libido and may improve sexual performance. 
  • Blood pressure regulator – Helps reduce blood pressure by relaxing the arteries.
  • Hair treatment – Believed to stimulate hair growth and can also limit the sebum produced in the scalp to treat dandruff.
  • Skin health promoter – Regulates oil production and reduces inflammation that contributes to dermatitis.
How to use Clary Sage essential oil: 
"Salvia Sclarea" Kurt Stueber via Wikipedia Commons

  • To soothe eye problems, soak a clean cloth in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of clary sage oil. Lay cloth over closed eyes for 10 minutes.
  • To relieve anxiety and emotional tension, inhale with the use of diffusers and burners.
  • To relieve muscle pain and menstrual cramps, mix with a carrier oil and massage into affected areas or add a few drops to your bath water.
  • To regulate the production of sebum in your skin, add a few drops to your moisturizer. 
-A word of caution, Clary Sage essential oil is known to increase the sedating effect of alcohol and other sedatives.-

Clary Sage figures prominently in my work-in-progress novel, Essentially Dead. My main character's beagle, Betty, has an obsession with its highly aromatic scent and likes to stop, drop, and roll in it if given the opportunity!

Have a good couple weeks, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...y'all come back now! 

(As always: this post is for information only for adult use and does not replace medical advice. Тest out an oil first by placing a small diluted amount on your arm as a patch test. In particular, those who are or could be pregnant should always refer to their physicians before using any essential oils.) 

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