Dawn is the owner of Seattle Hill Soap Company and formulates natural and safe soaps and skin care items that are enhanced by herbs, botanicals, or clays. You can find Seattle Hill Soap Company at www.seattlehillsoaps.com.
A few weeks ago I read a great article in The Herb Companion about sage and it got me to thinking about the essential oil. Although sage (Salvia officinalis), also referred to as Dalmatian sage, is a delicious edible herb, it is also a powerful essential oil and much caution is needed when working with it. Salvia officinalis has very high thujone content and is toxic to the central nervous system which has the potential to cause epileptic seizures and in high doses, paralysis. It is an oral toxin and should be avoided during pregnancy and by persons suffering from epilepsy or high blood pressure. Although it has beneficial uses, it is highly recommended that this oil be avoided for aromatherapy, skincare and internal uses except by skilled practitioners.
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Where skin applications are concerned, there is the friendly clary sage (Salvia sclarea), which has a much lower thujone content and can be safely used in skincare and aromatherapy applications without toxic effects. Women who are pregnant should not use this oil as it is considered an emmenagogue, meaning that it stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus.
Clary sage has a lovely earthy, somewhat nutty, and herbaceous fragrance. It is known to promote the regeneration of skin cells, which helps keep the skin looking healthier and more youthful. It assists oily or dry skin by helping to regulate sebum production, which makes it effective in treating conditions such as, seborrhea, dandruff or acne. Used as a scalp massage, it seems to encourage hair growth and minimizes hair loss.
The emotional effects of Clary sage are valued. It is known to restore emotional equilibrium and alleviates melancholy, as well as, calms nervousness and anxiety. It can increase concentration, memory and mental focus. Because clary sage is emotionally restorative, it is an ideal essential oil in times of extreme stress and life changes.