Sage has gained widespread popularity as a sacred herb that is burned to cleanse a space of negative energy. But have you ever wondered, what does sage smell like? The best way to find out is to smell it for yourself but keep reading to learn more about the history of sage, what benefits sage offers, and what sage smells like.
An Overview of Sage
Sage is an aromatic plant (scientific name Salvia) of the family Lamiaceae, which has been used in traditional medicine all over the world by ancient cultures, including the Greeks and Romans who used sage as an ingredient to make medicine to aid digestive issues and improve memory, among others.
This is not to be confused with what Indigenous American cultures have been using as a sacred plant in purification and prayer rituals for centuries. Referred to as smudging, this practice has been widely appropriated by the New Age movement for commercial purposes and uses sagebrush, which is a totally different plant from sage. This comes from a different family, called Asteraceae (the sunflower family), which grows in arid conditions such as desert and semi-arid mountain areas.
Sage comes in many varieties, with clary sage and common sage being the most popular for aromatherapy purposes. Aside from having a lovely fragrance, there are thought to be several aromatherapy benefits of sage.
The Aromatherapy Benefits of Sage
Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy that involves using aromatic essential oils to improve both physical and psychological well-being. By inhaling scent through the nose, molecules are able to directly enter the central nervous system through the olfactory nerves, which is thought to influence the amygdala, which is the part of your brain responsible for processing emotions.
What are the Benefits of Sage Essential Oils?
The scientific name for sage, salvia, is derived from the Latin word ‘salvere’, which means ‘to save’. This comes from a long history of sage being used to treat a variety of physical and psychological ailments. The word clary is derived from the Latin word claris for 'clear', and by the Middle Ages clary sage was known as Oculus Christi, or the Eye of Christ. During the sixteenth century it was used in England as a replacement for hops when brewing beer.
Although the scientific evidence is limited, sage essential oils are thought to offer several benefits. Further research is needed, but users of sage essential oils claim the following:
- Sage essential oil has antifungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties
- Sage essential oil may help reduce inflammation and help with acne
- Sage essential oil may help with digestive problems by working as a laxative to relieve constipation
- Sage essential oil may help improve concentration
- Sage essential oil may be helpful for the treatment of depression (so far this has only been tested in rats)
Is Sage a Calming Scent?
People who use sage scent for spiritual or psychological purposes claim that burning sage releases negative ions which help rebalance the energy that surrounds us. Sage essential oil is thought to have a calming scent that helps reduce stress and anxiety by acting on the emotional center of the brain. Whether it really has these effects or not, one thing is for sure – sage smells lovely!
What Does Sage Smell Like?
Every variety of sage is a bit different, but overall, sage has an earthy, slightly sweet scent. It’s a popular herb for a reason. How it smells when you burn it may differ from how it smells as an essential oil, but you’ll have to smell each for yourself to know the difference.
What Goes With Sage Scent?
As an herbaceous scent, sage pairs well with herbs that have floral scents, such as lemongrass and lavender.
Does Sage Smell Like Lavender?
Sage has its own unique fragrance, but it does contain some lavender notes as it is also a floral, earthy scent.
Does Sage Smell Like Rosemary?
A fun fact about rosemary is that, as recently as 2019, it was scientifically reclassified as a subtype of the sage (Salvia) family by the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK. So, it should not be surprising then that there are some similarities between the scent of sage and rosemary as they are related, after all!
Final Thoughts on What Does Sage Smell Like
Now that you have a description to answer, ‘what does sage smell like?’, all that’s left to do is experience it for yourself! Though modern science has yet to catch up to document the benefits of sage, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of its benefits. Introduce the scent of clary sage to your shower by trying CleanO2’s Circular Citrus Body Bar.