Native to Italy, Syria and southern France but grows well wherever the soil is dry enough.
The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the stalks of the plant.
Clary Sage is a member of the mint family. Flowers bloom in year one but the plant is left to grow into year two at which point pink and white flowers grow on stalks up to 5 foot tall. The oil is mostly found in these stalks, so the topmost flowers are removed during harvesting. The plants are picked during late bloom (during late July in Europe) in the morning or evening as the oil yield is at its lowest between midday and 3pm. Distillation is done while the plant is still fresh and should be done immediately to avoid the oil becoming volatised. Unusually, Clary Sage seems to produce better yields when grown on less fertile and drier land.
Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, relaxing, sedative, tonic, uplifting and hypotensive.
In massage Clary Sage is used to alleviate oily skin, relax muscles (including cramps and spasms) and to relieve muscle fatigue. It's regarded as an especially good oil for female maladies and is often found in blends aimed at alleviating the symptoms of PMT and the menopause.
In skincare it's blended with a cream or lotion to offer a general boost to the complexion - especially for those with acne, wrinkled or inflamed skin.
When burned or vaporised it's used to lift the spirits and promote a feeling of well-being, soothe nervous tension or panic and is generally regarded as a calming oil. Additionally it is thought to calm headaches or migraines and may have a positive effect on asthma and other respiratory disorders. Furthermore it's used as a general tonic to strengthen the immune system which makes it a popular oil to use with those who are weak or recovering from illness or surgery etc.
Organic version also available.
You may find that Clary Sage blends particularly well with Lavender, Pine, Juniper, Geranium, Sandalwood and the Citrus Oils.