Rosemary has been used since ancient times for its medicinal properties, especially for having positive effects on the mind. For centuries, rosemary has been used in popular folklore cures for stress management, to enhance mental function and memory, and even for warding off evil spirits. In Ancient Greece, scholars tucked fresh rosemary twigs in their hair when studying to help them to remember what they had learned. A medical text from the 17th century praised rosemary as a remedy for weakness and coldness of the brain, and it was often used in hair rinses to promote vigor and growth.
Today, in modern medicine rosemary is known for its anticancer properties that include a special blend of antioxidants; rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid and carnosol. Together they make rosemary one of the most powerful antioxidants known. Rosemary also supports the liver and immune system, and one study suggested that breathing rosemary essential oil can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Rosemary has been reported to decrease capillary permeability and fragility. It’s also thought that rosemary may be powerful enough to protect the skin from penetrating oxidizers such as the sun. It also has antimicrobial actions against a variety of bacteria, fungi, mold and viruses, and extracts of rosemary have been used in insect repellents.
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Presently, there are numerous clinical studies taking place to further understand the properties of rosemary in medicine.
The health benefits of Rosemary may include:
Improved cognitive performance
Promotes eye health
Anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent
Prevent brain aging
Current commercial uses for rosemary include scenting of colognes, aftershaves, soaps, candles, detergents and disinfectants. It’s often used in hair care preparations for those with greasy hair and dandruff to regulate or decrease oily secretions in the hair follicle. It works as a great regulator in astringents or toners for oily or acneic skin. Aromatherapists use rosemary’s energizing aroma to combat nervous exhaustion and fatigue, however, it’s not recommended for people with epilepsy or high blood pressure.
The evergreen leaves of this shrubby herb are about 1 inch long, linear, revolute, dark green above and paler beneath with an odor pungently aromaric and somewhat camphoraceous. The flowers are small and pale blue. Much of the active volatile properties resides in their calyces or pods. There are silver and gold striped varieties; the green-leafed variety is the kind used medically.
Next time you’re making dinner, throw a few sprigs of rosemary in……for a dose of good medicine!!!