Sage (Salvia species) is a plant with medicinal effects. A number of different sage plants have been investigated and the medicinal effects of these plants seems to extend across different species. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a form of sage that is native to the Mediterranean region. Like all sage plants, clary sage produces an essential oil, and this can be used for its therapeutic benefits. Evidence suggests that clary sage may have mood elevating effects in humans and this may result from changes to the hormonal system of the individuals. For example, in one study researchers investigated the effects of the inhalation of clary sage oil on post menopausal women with depression. Inhalation of clary sage caused significant reductions in plasma cortisol levels and significant increases in serotonin levels. The reduction in cortisol levels was significantly greater in subjects who had greater levels of depression at baseline. Inhalation of clary sage oil therefore may have significant antidepressant effects and may reduce stress hormone release.
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