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.
The oil has large amounts of natural linalyl acetate (typically 65%+) and approximately 20% linalool.
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.
Recent production in France is estimated to be of around 20MT per annum after significant growth in 2016. The season starts around late June and finishing within a couple of weeks.
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%
It is understood that France consumes almost all of its annual production internally in the perfumery and aromatherapy markets.
French producers have been investing heavily in their clary sage growing areas over the past few years and with it we have seen a significant increase in production.
If we look back a few years we can see a 3-fold jump in oil volumes, from 10 MT in 2015, 18 MT in 2016 and a figure of around 30 MT in 2017! We now believe there to be around 2,000 hectares of clary sage plantations in the areas surrounding Provence.
Despite the increased volumes, the markets have generally absorbed these increases and prices have even risen as a result. Some put the price increases down to farmers and cooperatives drip feeding the market to ensure prices didn’t fall or even pressure buyers into taking more clary sage at higher prices as part of a package with other products. It’s hard to ascertain what volumes remain at origin as we go into 2018 but we are led to believe that we can expect similar volumes to be produced in 2018 as there were in 2017.
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