Rosemary is a hardy bushy perennial shrub with aromatic, evergreen leaves and
pale-blue flowers around the stem.
Its leaves look like flat pine-tree needles, deep green in color on top while
silver-white on their underside.
As an evergreen, Rosemary is available throughout the year.
Rosemary belongs to the Labiatae family that is related to mint.
The leaves and flowers as well as the essential oil are used.
Found in abundance near seashores, the Rosemary herb gets its name from the Latin
words meaning "dew" and "of the sea".
Although Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, it now grows throughout much of
the temperate regions in Europe, Asia and America.
Looking like a small sprig from an evergreen tree the wonderful smell and assertively
pine-like fragrance and pungent flavor of Rosemary goes a long way to flavor to
chicken, lamb, pork, salmon and tuna dishes as well as many soups, salads and sauces.
It is most often used in cooking but has a wonderful woodsy scent and is also great
in air fresheners and aromatherapy mixes.
Concentrated extracts like Rosemary Oil should be used externally, though the
dried herb can be taken internally when used in cooking.
Some research suggests that it has anti-cancer properties.
It is also a super antioxidant food that can ward off disease, and help
you live a long, active, and healthy life.
Its memorable flavor and unique health benefits makes it an indispensable herb
for every home.
Rosemary's history as a symbolic and medicinal herb goes back for thousands of years.
Since ancient times it was a symbol of friendship, loyalty, and remembrance.
Rosemary plant and its extract were used by the ancient Egyptian civilization
Part of Rosemary's popularity came from the widespread belief that Rosemary
stimulated and strengthened the memory, a quality for which it is still
In ancient Greece, students would place Rosemary sprigs in their hair when studying
for exams, and mourners would also throw the fragrant herb into the grave of the
deceased as a symbol of remembrance.
The Romans gave special importance to the Rosemary plant and used it frequently
in religious ceremonies.
It was also used during wedding ceremonies, food preparation, cosmetic care, and
medicinal herbal care.
Brides wore Rosemary wreathes as a symbol of their love and fidelity, believing that
this beautiful herb was a gift from the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.
In the thirteenth century, Queen Elisabeth of Hungary who suffered from crippling
gout and rheumatism claimed at 72 years old that drinking Rosemary water helped her
regain her beauty and strength.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Rosemary became popular as a digestive aid in
The Rosemary herb was burned in sick chambers to purify air, and during the Plague
of 1665, it was carried and sniffed to protect against contamination.
Reinforcing its antiseptic uses, Rosemary was burned in French hospitals to kill
germs during World War II.
In olde England, Rosemary's ability to fortify the memory transformed it into a symbol
of fidelity, and it played an important role in the costumes, decorations and gifts
used at weddings.
Rosemary is a good source of the minerals iron and calcium, as well as dietary fiber.
Fresh Rosemary has 25% more manganese (which is somehow lost in the process of
drying) and 40% less calcium and iron, probably due to the higher water content.
Recently, as modern research focuses on the beneficial active components in Rosemary,
our appreciation for this herb's therapeutic as well as culinary value has been renewed.
Rosemary is such an extremely useful herb, with so many culinary, medicinal and
aromatherapy attributes that it is an indispensable herb for your home.
Even the twigs, stripped of their leaves find use as kindling and as a aromatic
addition to barbecue fires.
It is not surprising that the taste and aroma of the herb Rosemary, historically used
for strengthening the memory, is unforgettable.
Rosemary has a unique pine-like fragrant flavor that is balanced by a rich pungency,
a combination that evokes both the forest and the sea.
Cooking with Rosemary
Rosemary is used widely in Mediterranean cooking and the fresh or dried leaves
are used to flavor meat (especially lamb and kid), sausages, stuffing, soups, stews
and to make tea.
The flowers can also be added to salads.
Unlike milder herbs, Rosemary can withstand longer cooking times, and lends itself
well to roasted meats, chicken and hearty stews.
Rosemary leaves are often added to meat dishes because it is particularly helpful
in digesting meat, particularly lamb, beef and pork.
A few teaspoons of chopped Rosemary lends a tangy taste to biscuits as well.
Rosemary vinegars are an excellent and healthy way to dress cold vegetables and salads.
The wonderful smell of Rosemary is often associated with good food and great times.
But it could just as easily be associated with good health.
The Rosemary herb can be used for:
circulation problems and improvements,
nerve and sciatic pain,
blocked menstrual flow,
enhancing and stimulating the immune system because it increases the rate of
perspiration and toxin removal,
digestive upset, bloating, cramping,
fungal infections including candida.
Rosemary is a tonic, astringent and restorative herb that relaxes spasm and
stimulates the liver and gall bladder.
It improves digestion and circulation and controls pathogenic organisms
It has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, smooth muscle
modulating, analgesic and venotonic properties.
Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for
reducing the severity of asthma attacks.
Help for the Mind
Rosemary probably became known as the herb of remembrance because of its stimulating effects on the mind.
It's a warming, stimulating herb that increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to
your head and brain, which may be one reason why it improves concentration and is
such a good memory booster.
In addition, the compounds in Rosemary herb are said to prevent the breakdown of
which is a chemical that induces the brain cells that are responsible for memory and
reasoning to communicate with one another.
Because it is a well-established antioxidant, you will definitely want to include this wonderful herb in your arsenal against disease!
It's been shown to prevent mutations in your DNA (particularly in the liver and the
bronchial cells) that are caused by disease causing chemicals and toxins which can
lead to cancerous growths.
What's more, in spite of the increased awareness and media attention that skin cancer
has been getting in the last decade or more, few of us know that the Rosemary herb
helps protect your skin.
Well over a decade ago scientists confirmed that the antioxidant components of Rosemary
called carnosol and ursollic acid were effective in preventing the deadly skin cancer
As an antibacterial, Rosemary is really special because it cleanses the blood
and helps control the growth of many pathogenic bacteria without killing the good
microflora (beneficial bacteria and yeast) in your body and therefore does not
throw off the balance of your inner ecosystem.
It prevents the growth of fungal infections like candida and kills yeast infections
maintaining true vitality.
Here are a few different ways to use Rosemary herb:
Internally, it is best added to foods as a cooking spice, though a mild tea of Rosemary Leaf can help fight illness when sipped.
- It is used with great success for dyspeptic complaints, flatulence and to stimulate appetite and the secretion of gastric juices.
- It is also used as supportive therapy for rheumatism and circulatory problems.
- Furthermore it is used for headaches, as well as for nervous complaints.
- Headache caused by mental fatigue: mix 1/2 tsp each of sage, peppermint,
Rosemary and hops.
Pour 2 cups boiling water over herb mixture and let steep for 10 minutes.
Add a pinch of ginger and sweeten.
Drink warm before going to bed.
- Sleep Inducer: mix 2 T dried peppermint with 1 T each of Rosemary and sage.
Pour 1 c boiling water over 1 tsp of the mixture.
Cover and steep 10 minutes.
Strain and sweeten.
This soothes the nerves and allows you to relax enough to go to sleep.
- A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
- Add fresh Rosemary to omelets and frittatas.
- Rosemary is a wonderful herb for seasoning chicken, lamb or salmon dishes.
- Add Rosemary to tomato sauces and soups.
- Make herb butter by adding Rosemary to your butter, and double your brain
nourishment since healthy fats are essential to keeping your brain sharp.
- Even better than butter, puree fresh Rosemary leaves with olive oil and use
as a dipping sauce for bread or for zestier salads.
Steep one teaspoon of Rosemary in 1 cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes, then strain
Drink before meals for better digestion and liver support.
Rosemary tea should not be used regularly but only for a few consecutive days,
- For colds and to fight infections: Rosemary Tincture - add 1/2 c Rosemary
needles to 2 c of
vodka and allow to sit for 2 weeks.
Strain and use 1/ dropperful every 2 hours for a couple of days.
Then use 2 time daily for about 2 weeks.
This treats colds and infections and is also good to clean cuts and scrapes.
It removes bacteria and prevents infections.
- Externally, Rosemary is very often used in
hair care products and lotions as it stimulates the hair follicles to renewed activity
and to prevent premature baldness and its antiseptic qualities helps with scurf
- 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
- Rosemary infused oil is an intensive treatment for bad dandruff or hair loss and
can be rubbed on hair, left for at least an hour and washed out.
This really improves scalp condition.
- It has two important properties - it is an outstanding free radical scavenger
and therefore has amazing antioxidant properties, and secondly has an remarkable
stimulating effect on the skin.
- Rosemary infusion for tightening sagging skin:
- Using a glass container, pour 1 1/4 cups of boiling water over 3-4 T fresh
Rosemary or 1 tsp dried Rosemary. Steep for 30 minutes and strain.
Bottle the mixture in a screw top container and refrigerate.
Keeps about 1 week, use cold.
Use the infusion at least twice weekly for best results.
- It has rubefacient properties helping to increase circulation and therefore
is most useful when an increase of
blood flow is required or when below-par circulation needs to be rectified.
- It can also be used in mouth rinses and gargles.
- Mouthwash: mix 1 tsp each of peppermint, Rosemary and lavender.
Use 1 tsp of the mixture to 1 cup of boiling water.
Steep 15 minutes, strain and use as a mouthwash.
- Rosemary can be infused into an 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
- A favorite natural air-freshener is to put a small handful of Rosemary Leaf, 1
sliced lemon or orange, a splash of vanilla and 1 cup of water into a sauce pot
and simmer on low all day (watch the water levels).
It smells amazing and freshens the house for days
- 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 mosquitos.
- Rosemary Antioxidant Extract is a very effective natural preservative that can extend the shelf life of homemade lotions, cosmetics or other homemade body products.
Because of its effect on menstrual cycles, women who are pregnant are advised
against using Rosemary.
Rosemary is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.
How to Select and Store
The sprigs of fresh Rosemary should look vibrantly fresh and should be deep sage
green in color, and free from yellow or dark spots.
Fresh Rosemary should be stored in the refrigerator either in its original packaging
or wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel.
You can also place the Rosemary sprigs in ice cube trays covered with either water
or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews.
Dried Rosemary should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and
dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.
Tips for Preparing Rosemary
Quickly rinse Rosemary under cool running water and pat dry.
Most recipes call for Rosemary leaves, which can be easily removed from the stem.
Alternatively, you can add the whole sprig to season soups, stews and meat dishes,
then simply remove it before serving.
- The Great Encyclopaedia of Healing Stones, Fragrances
and Herbs, published by Methusalem, 2008.
Herbal Home Remedies, published by Llewllyn Publications, 1992 and 2004.