Is Clary Sage Essential Oil Safe For Pregnancy?
At Edens Garden, we love sharing the latest and most accurate aromatherapy information. Because of this, our experts have tackled some controversial aromatherapy topics in the past, like whether or not you should ingest essential oils or diffuse them in public. And today we’re tackling another polarizing subject by answering the question – is Clary Sage essential oil safe for pregnancy?
The concern many have is that Clary Sage oil can induce labor. Some choose to use it around the time of their due date to encourage uterine contractions. With this same reasoning, pregnant women who are not full-term also choose to avoid it in order to prevent premature labor.
To help clear things up and ensure safe aromatherapy usage while pregnant, we’ve taken a deep dive into leading research and studies on Clary Sage oil. Read on to learn more.
What is Clary Sage Oil?
In the wild, Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) offers a periwinkle hue that’s both striking and inviting. Yet its benefits extend beyond simple aesthetics. A flowering herb native to the Mediterranean Basin, Clary Sage has historically been extracted from leaves and buds as a remedy for a number of symptoms. As a bonus, it offers a refreshing aroma that’s been adored for centuries.
Clary Sage essential oil is sweet, herbaceous, clean, and likened to earl grey tea. With its softly floral, grape-like aroma, it is ideal for elegant perfumery.
It offers many therapeutic benefits, including:
- Digestive aid
- PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Emotional balance and sleep support
- Restores skin
Clary Sage Essential Oil Safety
Chemically, Clary Sage is quite similar to Lavender oil in that both contain a significant amount of naturally occurring linalool and linalyl acetate. Like Lavender essential oil, Clary Sage is generally regarded as safe to inhale and apply topically when diluted.
But unlike Lavender, Clary Sage is often claimed to be unsafe for males and those with estrogen-dependent cancers because it’s said to be estrogenic. One opinion is often cited as proof of this:
- In 1990, two French aromatherapy researchers, Daniel Pénöel and Pierre Franchomme concluded in their book “L’aromathérapie exactement” that sclareol – a constituent in Clary Sage oil – mimics the effects of estrogen on the basis that it is molecularly similar to estrogen.
However, sclareol is not molecularly similar to estrogen, nor is there evidence that it does cause estrogen-like activity. And if it were to, concern for its safety would still be very low considering Clary Sage often contains a minute amount of sclareol (0.19% in Edens Garden’s current batch at the time of this writing).
In other words, everyone can safely enjoy the benefits of Clary Sage when following essential oil usage guidelines such as these:
- Clary Sage does not have a maximum recommended dilution rate, but in most cases, a 1-3% dilution in carrier oil is effective enough for topical application.
- As with all essential oils, diffusing Clary Sage for 30-60 minute intervals is also recommended.
Is Clary Sage Oil Safe for Pregnancy?
Clary Sage essential oil is safe for most people, but does that include pregnant women? After all, a quick web search asking this question brings up a lot of caution to avoid Clary Sage while pregnant. Let’s look at the facts.
Clary Sage is said to trigger contractions because it increases oxytocin levels – a hormone that stimulates uterine contractions. And it’s true. One preliminary study on pregnant women inhaling Clary Sage concluded that the oil did increase oxytocin levels in some women in the trial. However, despite the increase in oxytocin levels, these women did not experience uterine contractions as a result.
Additionally, a 2019 research study reviewed 17 trials on the use of aromatherapy with low-risk pregnant women. The research included oils of Clary Sage, Lavender, Chamomile- Roman, Frankincense and more. Researchers concluded that the use of aromatherapy with these pregnant women did not affect water breakage, emergency C-section or spontaneous labor stimulation. Aromatherapy did however assist with labor pain management, anxious feelings and nausea.
While there are some who disagree, many doctors, aromatherapists and healthcare professionals stand behind Clary Sage as being safe for pregnancy.
The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy has taken the following stance:
“According to Wildwood, ‘A common myth in aromatherapy is that massage oils containing essential oils such as Clary Sage, Rose or even Rosemary can cause a miscarriage and hence should be avoided throughout pregnancy.’ Authors such as Ron Guba, Kurt Schnaubelt, and Chrissie Wildwood have all pointed out that there have been ‘no recorded cases of miscarriage or birth defect resulting from aromatherapy massage using therapeutic applications of any essential oil.’”
Note here that Clary Sage is not to be confused with Dalmatian Sage (Salvia officinalis) which is not recommended for use in pregnant and nursing women.
So why do so many believe that Clary Sage is contraindicated for pregnancy? Finding the origins of this belief is a little harder to track down.
And if you’re still unsure about using Clary Sage while pregnant, we encourage you to do your own research. Our best researching tip is that when you come across an article stating that Clary Sage is unsafe for pregnancy, check if your source includes research or evidence to support this statement. In all of the articles we looked at that warned against Clary Sage for pregnancy, not one included evidence to support this claim. Many of them did however include unsafe recommendations such as neat or undiluted use of essential oils.
But ultimately, if you do not feel comfortable using Clary Sage while pregnant, that’s ok too. It’s our goal to provide aromatherapy education that empowers essential oil users to feel comfortable and safe when using Edens Garden products.
Luckily, there are even more clinical trials on the use of Clary Sage with pregnancy currently in the works which we hope will further illuminate the safety and efficacy of this essential oil.
Enjoy A Labor-Less Delivery
If you’re looking for an everyday solution to common pregnancy symptoms that combines the therapeutic benefits of Clary Sage and other powerful essential oils, look no further than Labor-Less Delivery essential oil blend.
Some of the studies cited above went into our decision to formulate this blend with Clary Sage because they revealed the healing potential of this bountiful oil during pregnancy. We also added oils of Peppermint, Tangerine, Bergamot Mint, Cedarwood, Lavender, Rose, Chamomile- Roman and Magnolia to create a formulation that helps maintain symptoms of:
- Minor headaches
Carefully formulated with pregnant mothers and their little ones in mind, Labor-Less Delivery is a safe and effective tool that will help you enjoy your pregnancy to the fullest.
When using essential oils while pregnant, be sure to follow essential oil safety guidelines such as the ones found here. Please consult with your doctor before using aromatherapy.
- Is clary sage oil estrogenic? https://roberttisserand.com/2010/04/is-clary-sage-oil-estrogenic/
- Changes in salivary oxytocin after inhalation of clary sage essential oil scent in term-pregnant women: a feasibility pilot study. https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-017-3053-3
- Labor pain control by aromatherapy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S187151921830221X