Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region and reason it not only has a wonderful warm taste and aroma, but also an abundance of beneficial health effects if added to our regular diet. It is a perennial woody herb. The scientific name of rosemary is Rosmarinus officinalis, but most people know it by its common name. The active components in rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature.
One of the earliest documented uses of rosemary for health purposes was as a cognitive stimulant. It is said to improve memory and increase intelligence and focus. Many of those claims are still being researched. Its effects on the brain do indicate a rise in memory retention. Keeping the mind quick will also help to keep it young.
Similarly, rosemary has been associated with stimulating cognitive activity in elderly people, as well as those suffering from more serious cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. This is an exciting alternative modern treatment for these as they are still incurable conditions.
Rosemary fights against many different diseases and pathogens that threaten the immune system and damage the body. Antioxidant compounds behave like a secondary line of defense behind the body’s own immune system. Rosemary contains a significant amount of such powerful compounds, including compounds like rosmarinic acid, betulic acid, caffeic acid and carnosol.
Rosemary is particularly powerful against bacterial infections, especially those in the stomach such as the H. pylori bacteria which is a common and extremely dangerous pathogen that can cause stomach ulcers. Rosemary has been shown to counter and prevent its growth when consumed.
Similarly, rosemary is linked with prevention of Staph infections, which kill thousands of people each and every year.
Rosemary has been used as a traditional remedy by numerous cultures, for upset stomachs, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and everything in between. This is because of its anti-inflammatory and stimulant effects. Adding it to your weekly diet can quickly help regulate your bowel movements and your gastrointestinal system.
Rosemary acts as a stimulant and boosts the production of red blood cells and blood flow in the body. This helps to oxygenate vital organ systems of the body, ensuring that metabolic activities in those areas are running smoothly. It also helps in stimulating transfer of nutrients to cells that are in need of repair.
Rosemary also has analgesic properties. It is consumed orally to soothe pain in areas that are harder to reach. This is why it is so commonly used for headaches, pain due to a specific condition and migraines. Simply applying rosemary oil to the temples and even inhaling the aroma can help relieve migraines.
One of the most important functions of rosemary is as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. Carnosol and carnosic acid are two powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds found in rosemary that have been linked with the reduction of inflammation of muscles, joints and blood vessels. This makes it an effective treatment for blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and injuries caused by physical exertion or surgery. It is effective in oral form for these anti-inflammatory effects. Further, reducing inflammation in the cardiovascular system can help to boost heart health and prevent atherosclerosis.
Rosemary also works wonders on the skin. It has anti-aging properties and also helps add a healthy shine to skin. It removes blemishes and marks.
Rosemary is often used as a mouth freshener because of its anti-bacterial properties.
Rosemary is used fresh and dried as a herb for flavoring food. As an essential oil, it is used for skin and pain. Due to its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-stress properties, it is largely used as a medicine.
Rosemary can be infused into oil and used externally for skin irritations like eczema and joint problems like arthritis. It has also been reported to speed healing of wounds and bruises when used externally. Internally, it is best added to foods as a cooking spice, though a mild tea of Rosemary Leaf can help fight illness when sipped. A strong infusion of Rosemary and Nettle leaf is an excellent herbal rinse for hair and can help get rid of dandruff and speed hair growth when used after each washing. Rosemary infused oil is an intensive treatment for bad dandruff of hair loss and can be rubbed on hair, left for at least an hour and washed out- this really improves scalp condition. Rosemary Oil can be used externally in times of illness to speed recovery by rubbing on the feet or any areas that are sore. My favorite natural air-freshener is to put a small handful of Rosemary Leaf, 1 sliced lemon or orange, and a splash of vanilla into a sauce pot and simmer on low all day (watch the water levels)- It smells amazing and freshens the house for days. Though I haven’t tried it, Rosemary supposedly deters small pests like mice. Several people have recommended tucking small sprigs of dried Rosemary into the backs of cabinets to ward of mice and rats during the winter. Rosemary is also helpful in warding off smaller pests like mosquitoes and is an ingredient in my Homemade Bug-Off Bars. Rosemary Antioxidant Extract is a very effective natural preservative that can extend the shelf life of homemade lotions, cosmetics or other homemade body products.
The undiluted oil is unsafe to take by mouth. Taking large amounts of rosemary can cause vomiting, kidney irritation, uterine bleeding, spasms, increased sun sensitivity, skin redness, coma, and even pulmonary oedema. Rosemary consumed in very large amounts may also cause allergic reactions.
Rosemary originated in the Mediterranean region but is also native to Asia. Due to its attractive and drought-resistant abilities, rosemary is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and for xeriscape landscaping, especially in regions of Mediterranean climate. It is rather easy to grow and is pest-resistant. Rosemary can grow quite large and retain attractiveness for many years, can be pruned into formal shapes and low hedges, and has been used for topiary. It is easily grown in pots. Rosemary grows on friable loam soil with good drainage in an open, sunny position. It will not withstand water logging and some varieties are susceptible to frost. It grows best in neutral to alkaline conditions (pH 7–7.8) with average fertility.