The most interesting health benefits of rosemary include its ability to boost memory, improve mood, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protect the immune system, stimulate circulation, detoxify the body, protect the body from bacterial infections, prevent premature aging, and heal skin conditions.
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What is Rosemary?
Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary is one of the most commonly found herbs in a spice rack, and for good reason – not only does it have a wonderful taste and aroma, but also a wealth of beneficial health effects if regularly added to our diet. The scientific name of this perennial woody herb is Rosmarinus officinalis. Similar to many other useful herbs, rosemary is in the same taxonomic family as mint, but doesn’t have that characteristic flavor. It has a warmer, bitter, and more astringent taste that gives a wonderful flavor to soups, sauces, stews, roasts, and stuffing. It is particularly prevalent in Italian cultural cuisine.
Although small amounts like those used to flavor food aren’t typically considered large enough to have a major effect on the body, regular addition of the leaves to your food will allow your body to derive accumulated benefits from the organic compounds and unique phytochemicals present in the leaves. There are also uses of rosemary that involve consuming larger quantities or applying the essential oils from rosemary onto the skin directly. Now, let’s take a more detailed look at the health benefits of rosemary.
Health benefits of rosemary include:
One of the earliest documented uses of rosemary for health reasons was as a cognitive stimulant. It was said to improve memory and help to increase intelligence and focus. While many of those claims are still being researched and studied, its effects on the brain do indicate an increase in memory retention. In that same vein, rosemary has been linked to stimulating cognitive activity in the elderly, as well as those suffering from acute cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. This is an exciting alternative or supplement to more modern treatment for these yet uncured conditions.
Mood and Stress
The aroma of rosemary alone has been linked to improving mood, clearing mind, and relieving stress in those with chronic anxiety or stress hormone imbalances. When the plant is consumed or applied topically in some sort of salve of the leaves, it can have similar effects. Aromatherapy also uses rosemary essential oil for this purpose, but the concentration of active components may not necessarily have positive effects on stress and mood.
The active components in rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature. This represents a three-pronged attack against many different diseases and pathogens that could threaten the immune system or damage the integrity of the body. Antioxidant compounds form a secondary line of defense behind the body’s own immune system, and rosemary contains a significant amount of those powerful compounds, including rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, betulic acid, and carnosol.
While the general immune boosting qualities of rosemary are impressive enough, it is specifically powerful against bacterial infections, particularly those in the stomach. H. pylori bacteria are a dangerous pathogen that can cause stomach ulcers, but rosemary has been shown to prevent its growth when consumed. Similarly, it is linked to preventing staph infections, which kill thousands of people each year.
Rosemary has traditionally been used by dozens of cultures as a natural remedy for upset stomachs, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. Its anti-inflammatory and stimulant effects are largely the cause of these effects, so adding it to your weekly diet can quickly help you regulate your bowel movements and your gastrointestinal system.
As a natural antibacterial agent, rosemary works as a wonderful breath freshener that also improves your oral health. Steep rosemary leaves in a glass of hot water and then gargle or swish the water in your mouth to eliminate bacteria, and give you naturally fresh and clean breath all night!
Stimulate Blood Flow
Rosemary acts as a stimulant for the body and boosts the production of red blood cells and blood flow. This helps to oxygenate vital organ systems, ensuring their metabolic activities, in addition to stimulating the movement of nutrients to cells that require repair.
As an analgesic substance, rosemary has been topically applied in a paste or salve for hundreds of years to the affected area of the pain. When consumed orally, it acts as a pain reliever for harder to reach spots, such as headaches and pain from a condition. In fact, a popular use of rosemary is for the treatment of migraines. Applying a decoction to the temples, or simply smelling the aroma of rosemary has been linked to reducing the severity of migraine symptoms.
Perhaps the most important function 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 to reducing inflammation of muscles, blood vessels, and joints. This makes it an effective treatment for many things, including blood pressure, gout, arthritis, and injuries sustained during physical exertion or surgery. It is effective in oral or topical form for these anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, the reduction in inflammation in the cardiovascular system can help to boost heart health and prevent atherosclerosis from appearing.
Detoxifies the Body
Rosemary is slightly diuretic in nature, meaning that it can help flush out toxins efficiently during urination. Furthermore, by increasing the rate at which water leaves the body, it can also help push out pathogens, salts, toxins, and even excess fat when consumed regularly (or when you’re feeling particularly “toxified”). In terms of the particular organ it benefits, it has been linked to lower levels of cirrhosis and a faster healing time of the liver, which is one of the slowest organs to heal.
The anti-aging properties of rosemary are quite well known. Although more commonly thought of in the essential oil form, the leaves of rosemary can also affect the skin internally or topically, and has been shown to improve the quality of the skin, while also healing blemishes and increasing the natural shine and hydrated appearance of your body’s largest organ.
Word of Caution
The essential oil of rosemary is not to be consumed, but normal rosemary is far less potent, and therefore, not dangerous to consume in normal culinary proportions. If you are allergic to other members of the mint family, you may experience discomfort if you consume or apply it, but the reactions are typically mild.
What is rosemary?
Rosemary is a popular herb that is perennial and native to the Mediterranean region. It is actually a member of the mint family, which may explain its very pleasant scent and popularity in certain cuisines around the world. It is also commonly used in natural healing practices, as rosmarinic oil and other active ingredients in this herb can be very helpful for a number of health issues. Rosemary is also widely available and inexpensive.
How to use rosemary?
Rosemary can be used in numerous ways. First and foremost, you can use it in your cooking as a garnish or final spice. You shouldn’t cook with rosemary, as this can cause some of the beneficial components in it to be lost. Topical application of rosemary that has been infused in oil is another popular use. Rosemary poultices and air fresheners are also widely used.
What is rosemary good for?
Rosemary is good for a number of diverse things, both in the home and for human health. Rosemary’s strong scent makes it a deterrent for pests and insects, and is also a popular air freshener. In terms of health, it can be consumed to help with digestion and stomach pain. Mixed into an oil infusion, it can help improve the health of the scalp and hair as a shampoo, and protect the skin from irritation and infection.
Where to buy rosemary?
You can buy rosemary in almost any natural health store if you want untreated or wild rosemary. However, for cooking needs, rosemary is available in every grocery store, as it is a very popular cooking herb. You can also grow your own rosemary, being quite a hardy plant, and then you won’t have to buy any at all! If you can’t make it out to a major chain store, rosemary is also widely available online in different forms.
Is rosemary a perennial?
Rosemary is a perennial herb that is a member of the mint family, Lamiacea. These plants are native to the Mediterranean region, but have now been cultivated all over the globe. Since rosemary is a perennial, it is a popular choice for personal or home herb gardens, meaning that you can have access to fresh rosemary for cooking and health all year long!
What does rosemary mean?
Rosemary is actually derived from the Old Latin phraseros marinus, which means dew of the sea. This could be due to rosemary’s native lands, near the Mediterranean Sea, and its eventual popularity in English-speaking countries. We know the name rosemary because of the words Rose and Mary, two very common names and nouns in the English tongue.
Can you eat rosemary?
Yes, you can certainly eat rosemary, and it remains one of the most popular herbs to use in the culinary setting. The strong aroma of rosemary gives a kick to many different dishes. However, you can also eat rosemary for its health effects, and even consume the essential oil in small or diluted doses. Rosemary has many internal effects, including reducing stomach pain and indigestion.
How to cook with rosemary?
You can cook with rosemary in so many different ways because of the aroma and flavor of this herb. You can place it as a garnish or topping on a fish dish, or cook it inside a poultry meal. You can sprinkle it into soups and stews, and even top your bread with it. Now, if you want to get more flavor, you should cook it with the meals, but if you want to save more of the healthy nutrients contained in rosemary, don’t heat it up too much.
Where to plant rosemary?
You can plant rosemary in well-drained soil that is about 70 degrees on average; you also want to make sure to plant the seeds early, since they can survive the frost for a few weeks, and this will give them a head-start on growth. You should give the plant plenty of room to grow, so don’t crowd it into a busy herb garden. Also, once the plant flowers, be sure to trim the leaves back. As a perennial, you can enjoy this herb year after year!