Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a herb of Mediterranean origin that is generally used for seasoning soups, stews, meat and fish. The essential oil of this aromatic herb is also used in cosmetic products such as skin toners, creams, soaps and hair products, because it strengthens the capillaries and has a rejuvenating effect. It is also a favorite essence used in aromatherapy because it induces restful sleep, feelings of love, optimism and youthfulness.
Rosemary is not just a favourite spice for a lamb roast roast, or a cosmetic or aromatherapy ingredient, but more importantly, it is a medicinal herb with a wide range of therapeutic benefits.
The active ingredients of rosemary are:
- caffeic acid
- rosemarinic acid
- Vitamin-E (alphatocopherol)
- Antioxidants: monoterpenes, phenolic diterpenes and flavonoids
Rosemary can be used to treat stomach upsets, digestive disorders, constipation, colic, and indigestion. It also stimulates bile secretion and destroys micro-organisms in the intestines.
Rosemary has calming effects on the nervous system and may be used to treat fatigue, depression, anxiety disorders, weak memory and insomnia. Its essential oil is used in aromatherapy to evoke positive feelings of protection, love, optimism, vitality, and health.
Rosemary may also help to reduce the risk of breast cancer by blocking the effects of oestrogen in the body. While conventional drugs may also be used to regulate oestrogen levels in the body, rosemary is natural and does not cause unpleasant side effects like hot flashes, vaginal bleeding, headaches and nausea.
Rosemary’s high anti-oxidant content makes it ideal for treating age-related skin damage, fighting free radical damage and reducing risk of cancer. Rosemary contains caffeic and rosemarinic acid which are both anti-inflammatory agents to reduce incidents of asthma in chronic sufferers and prevent liver and heart disease.
Rosemary is also a diuretic, by stimulating the production and elimination of urine, which is effective for treating oedema, relieving swelling and water retention.
Rosemary may also be used for:
- improving blood flow
- treating fatigue
- relieving sore muscles and cramps
- treating asthma, bronchitis , colds, cough and sinusitis ; and
- preventing obesity.
The leaves of the rosemary plant are long and thin and are generally used, fresh or dried, in dishes for marinating and cooking. As a medicinal herb, rosemary comes in the form of tea, tincture, capsules or volatile oil.
Two teaspoons of rosemary tincture may be diluted in one cup of water and taken before meals. On the other hand, a teaspoon of the tincture when diluted in about 100 ml of water may be applied on areas affected by sprain, swelling, and rheumatism. A few drops of the essential rosemary oil in a votive light or in the bath water effectively reduce anxiety, tension headaches, and general weakness.
Rosemary is also available in capsules which are recommended for treating renal and rheumatic diseases, abdominal diseases, anaemia, rheumatism, coughs and minor cardiac disturbances.
Rosemary should not be used when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffer from epilepsy. The rosemary extract is a volatile oil which may cause allergic reactions in some people, or cause vomiting and spasms.
Prior consultation with a naturopath or health professional regarding supplementation or use of rosemary oil is recommended.