Obtained from the flowering stems of Salvia sclarea L. Clary sage is a biennial or perennial herb that grows up to six feet in height.
Clary sage is thought to have a number of therapeutic benefits, in particular for women’s health. However, it also has known benefits to reduce the symptoms of upset stomach and other digestive disorders, as well as kidney diseases.
Clary sage is used as a flavouring agent in many food and beverage products as well as used in fragrances in particular for cosmetic applications.
Russia is the world's largest producer of clarysage oil after the Chinese removed most of their plantations in 2010. At one time over the past decade this product was a low value item, seen to many as inferior to the French type. However a reduction in global supply has turned the market dynamics for this oil on its head and now the Russian origin product is the most consistent, sought after and most expensive in the market.
Often the flowers are used for the production of sclareol, a concrete which in turn is used for the manufacture of a number of valuable aromatic compounds like ambroxan. Typical sclareol yields range from 0.5-2.5%
The 2017 clary sage harvest began and ended in July and delivered some reasonable results with slightly more oil produced when compared to previous years. Today there is no material left at origin with all oil in the hands of traders.
Global demand has grown considerably, as has the demand for clary sage seeds, so there are plans to increase the plantation acreage over the next few years.
Expect prices to firm a little during the first half of 2018, as stocks are unlikely to see us through until the next season.
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