Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

An herb as pungent as garlic but with a more floral scent is the resinous evergreen rosemary.  It’s native habitat of the Mediterranean coast is reflected in its name: “rose” derived from the latin “ros” meaning dew, and “marinus” referring to its marine affinity6. Rosemary is easily recognized as a woody shrub with narrow leaves that are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Its paisley flowers bloom in early spring and can be enjoyed for several weeks. Historically in Europe, rosemary was used for memory, and was consequently used in weddings as an emblem of remembrance and fidelity, as well as funerals to indicate that the deceased would not be forgotten. Furthermore, the ancient Greeks and Romans put rosemary in their hair when they were studying to help retain information. In addition to juniper, rosemary was also burned in sick chambers in Europe to purify the air and prevent further infection 9.

Rosemary, a pungent warming herb, boasts a multitude of medicinal uses. In addition to its natural camphor, which invigorates the circulatory and nervous systems, rosemary is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as stimulating the appetite and combat headaches. Moreover, it has been used to start menstrual flow in cases of amenorrhea3,10. Other constituents of rosemary include monoterpene hydrocarbons, camphene, limonene, the flavanoids diosmetin, diosmin, genkwanin, luteolin, hispidulin, and apigenin, amongst others.

These lead to rosemary’s use as an astringent, tonic, carminative, antispasmodic, and diaphoretic herb. Like garlic, rosemary’s proven antimicrobial properties suggest it may be used as support prior to antibiotics. It has also been effective against candida, and may even have anti-cancerous benefits due to its anticarcinogenic enzyme quinone reductase5.