Edition 17: March 2010
Essential Oil of the Month
Euphoriant oil helps combat addictions
CLARY SAGE enhances a strong mind-body relationship (psycho-soma).
Herbalists have long relied on this essential oil when hormonally based symptoms are present, for example where depression and anxiety affect digestion, sex drive and blood pressure. It is aphrodisiac in that it controls the underlying stress in sexual problems and is beneficial for male and female fertility.
Clary Sage is very uplifting and is known to produce euphoria and joyful feelings.
It is also recommended to aid in convalescence after illness of any kind. It eases a racy mind and panicky states, allowing us to put things in perspective. Its uplifting qualities may well help people coming off drugs, acting as a bridge during times of despair. Blended with orange and chamomile, Clary helps the addict rebuild life with a more positive outlook.
Clary can be used as sedative at times of sleep disturbances due to heartache. It is especially indicated for over sensitive young girls and their gynaecological imbalances as they come to terms with their womanhood.
Clary can also help boost the creative faculty and intuition by widening our horizons and awakening our interest in things previously undreamt of; it is experienced as a cloud lifting us out of the everyday world, inducing euphoria where anything is possible.
This oil increases our awareness of the limits imposed by consciousness and social convention and allows us a means of transcending these boundaries, and take steps beyond our familiar scope of action and thought. It restores clarity, dispelling illusion which is truly helpful on the path of self-realisation.
DID YOU KNOW?
Clary Sage was highly esteemed in the middle ages and was known as 'Oculus Christi' - the 'Eye of Christ' - and used for its digestive properties and as a general tonic.
The mucilage from the seeds was used to clear foreign particles from the eyes, hence the name Clary. (The name is derived from the Latin 'Claris' that means 'clear') In Jamaica, it was used amongst the local people for cleaning and cooling ulcers and for inflammation of the eyes.
Clary sage oil is superb for calming and sedating the nerves and emotions, particularly in cases of depression, stress, insomnia and deep-seated tension. It can help lower too high blood pressure. Clary is a general tonic and strengthens the defence system, especially after illness.
It is a good tonic for the womb and female functions in general, such as painful periods or scanty menstruation. Clary sage encourages a less painful birth, easing aches when massaged into the lower back during labour; it induces relaxation and unwinds muscles. It is very helpful for PMS and also for post natal depression.
During menopause, clary sage oil can help reduce hot flushes, night sweats, palpitations, irritability, as well as headaches and dizziness.
Clary soothes digestive disorders such as wind and gastric spasm and is also a kidey tonic. Massaged into the abdomen, it calms upset stomachs and relieves irritable bowel syndrome and distention.
It is good for muscle pains, back pain and a stiff neck especially where there is spasm involved; it is thus useful for cramps and used for tired, aching legs.
It demonstrates benefits to the respiratory system, helping to deepen the breath, opening the chest when it feels stuffy, tight or constricted. Used with eucalyptus and pine it is helpful for catarrhal coughs and bronchitis.
Clary sage can also be beneficial for skin problems and cooling for inflammation of the skin. It is reputed to contain phyto-hormones with estrogen-like properties and some cell regeneration properties. It is favoured as an ‘anti-ageing’ factor in skin care preparations and can be found in skin care products. It is particularly good for balancing the production of sebum of the skin and to clear greasy complexions.
It is good for puffiness of the skin and fluid retention with tonic and soothing properties. It also helps with skin conditions such as acne, acne rosacea, boils and ulcers. It is deodorising for combating body odours and stems excessive sweating
Clary Sage clears greasy hair and dandruff by reducing excessive production of sebum and is an excellent addition in hair care for scalp problems and encouraging hair growth.
In perfumery, Clary’s herbaceous middle note is highly valued and used as a fixative. It is important to find the right dosage and “less is more” is a good maxim.
To assist in quitting smoking, an essential oil blend of equal parts clary sage, juniper, black pepper at a two per cent dilution (with a carrier oil for massage or water in an oil burner) assists in dissolving residues and counters the anxieties of withdrawal.
Name: Clary Sage
Latin name: Salvia sciaria
What is it? A stout biennial herb that grows up to a metre with large, green and felt-like leaves and small blue flowers. A native to southern Europe; clary sage is cultivated for oil production in France and Russia.
Scent: Herbaceous and nutty. Musky and sweet. Essential oil is distilled from the flowering tops and leaves.
Therapeutic Properties: Anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, Carminative, Deodorant, digestive, emmenagogue (induces uterine contractions) euphoric, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) nerve tonic, sedative, stomachic, general tonic.
Clary Sage oil blends well with: juniper, lavender, coriander, geranium, sandalwood, cedarwood, pine, jasmine, frankincense and bergamot. In aromatherapy, Clary is considered safer to use than ordinary sage.
Precautions: Clary sage oil can be very relaxing and should be avoided when consuming alcohol, since it could exaggerate the effects of alcohol and induce bad dreams. It is a non-toxic, non-sensitising oil, but can in large doses generate a headache and should be used sparingly during pregnancy.
What Herb is That?
Skin specialist herb reigns supreme
IN THE 12th Century, Arminius Macer wrote that just by gazing at the radiant orange flowers of the Calendula flower would improve the eyesight, clear the head and make you happy.
Calendula was known as a herb of the Sun and under the dominion of Leo and Culpeper recommended it to 'strengthen the heart', and to treat smallpox and measles.
Today Calendula is widely prescribed in homoeopathy - for coughs, colds, fever, wounds and chronic infections. The former Soviet Union grows such large amounts of the herb for medicinal use in that it has been called Russian penicillin. The leaves and petals can be eaten in salads, and the flowers are often used in cosmetics. Traditionally the flowers were used to impart a yellow colour to cheese.
As a skin specialist herb, Calendula reigns supreme. It is the most beneficial herb in skin care, soothing inflammation, controlling bleeding and healing damaged tissue and in cases (internally and externally) where the skin is broken.
It is a superb first aid treatment for minor burns and scalds. The herb has been shown to promote blood clotting and to reduce capillary effusion and the presence of carotenoids in its chemical composition, make it ideal for general healing, wound healing and eczema.
Calendula is very effective in cases of physical damage to the skin, for example, crural ulceration (due to venous insufficiency), varicose veins, haemorrhoids, anal fissures, mastitis, sebaceous cysts, impetigo or other inflamed cutaneous lesions. It is also specifically indicated to treat enlarged or inflamed lymphatic nodes. Topical application may be as a lotion, poultice or compress.
Antimicrobial and antioxidising
Although it contains no tannins, calendula is locally astringent, due to its resin component and probably to other water-soluble constituents as well and an infusion of the herb may be used as an eye wash to treat conjunctivitis.
Its antimicrobial and anti-oxidising action, make it the perfect antiseptic for skin infections, such as acne. Its inclusion in cosmetics is well warranted, given how well it fights the signs of ageing. Calendula is ideal for dry, dehydrated, irritated and delicate skin as the saponins and mucilage have humectant properties.
As a lotion or ointment, it is an excellent cosmetic remedy for repairing minor damage to the skin, such as sub-dermal broken capillaries or sunburn. Calendula is highly beneficial in the treatment of nappy rash and cradle cap in babies.
The plant acts very well against fungal, protozoal, bacterial and viral infections and has demonstrated antifungal activity against influenza viruses and suppressed the growth of herpes simplex virus.
Calendula tincture is an effective local treatment for fungal and other infections of the vagina, or for fungal skin conditions such as ringworm, and athlete's foot (particularly when combined with golden seal and comfrey). The sap from the stem is reputed to remove warts, corns and calluses.
Calendula is a bittersweet, salty herb that stimulates the liver, gall bladder, and uterus as well as the immune system. It soothes the digestive system, clears infections and is said to support the heart.
Taken internally, calendula has an anti-inflammatory as well as spasmolytic (muscle relaxant) effect and is very useful for digestive inflammation, such as gastric or duodenal ulcers.
It is indicated in unresolved infection or erosion of the upper digestive tract, particularly where there is evidence of bleeding into the gut. It can also treat small ulcers in the mouth and throat including problems such as gingivitis.
This herb is a cholagogue and thus improves digestion by stimulating the production of bile; this can help relieve gallbladder problems.
Calendula is an emmenagogue with an estrogenic effect which means that it helps regulate menstrual disorders such as delayed or painful menstruation.
Latin name: Calendula officinalis
What is it? Calendula herb comes from the bright yellow flowers of the common marigold. This bushy annual plant stands 30-60cm high and its bright orange or yellow flowers are used medicinally. It is a native of Egypt and the Mediterranean, but has become naturalised throughout temperate regions of the world, often in previously cultivated land. (Many cultivated varieties of marigold come from completely different genera and should be distinguished from Calendula officinalis.)
Actions: Spasmolytic (muscle relaxant), mild diaphoretic, (induces sweating) anti-inflammatory, styptic (stops bleeding), anti-haemorrhagic, non-tannin astringent, vulnerary (local tissue healer), antifungal, antiseptic, cholagogue (liver tonic), emmenagogue (stimulates uterus), menstrual regulator.
Caution: No side effects are commonly reported; calendula is considered safe and non-toxic. Calendula should not be taken internally during pregnancy.