Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

by Dian VanDerVolgen

 

Rosemary belongs to a large family of labiate (Mint) plants; Mint, Clary, Sage, Basil, Thyme, Marjoram, Patchouli, Lavender, Hyssop and Myrtle. Essential oil produced from Rosemary is popular and often used in Aromatherapy. Rosemary's native habitat is the Mediterranean region and is cultivated today in France, Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, Tunisia and the United States. The leaves are stiff and leathery like pine needles. This bushy and branched evergreen grows to about 6 feet. The flowers are light blue and bloom from March to May. The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation and is clear to light yellow. It's beneficial effects are many...antiseptic, strengthening, cramp relieving, uplifting and stimulating...just to name a few. Rosemary contains tannic acid, resin, a bitter principle, and makes a potent oil.

Rosemary has one of the most ancient histories and is one of the earliest plants to be used for food, medicine and magic. Being regarded as sacred to many civilizations, Rosemary is frequently found in Egyptian graves. In Rome and Athens, sacred Rosemary was given as a gift to the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. During the Renaissance, the herb was used to make a plant stone, which was considered a cure-all remedy. Philosopher and Healers, Theophrastus, St. Hildegarde of Bingen and Conrad Gesner, all claimed Rosemary's benefits when treating the liver, brain, heart and eye ailments.

Legends and folktales have been told of Rosemary's ability to attract elves and ghosts. A 14th century Alchemist advised people to heavily spray their homes with Rosemary essential oil...to attract good ghosts. Rosemary was believed to be a reminder of the cycle of life and death, therefore, no feast, wedding or funeral was celebrated without the presence of this herb or essential oil.

Medicinally, Rosemary has been utilized to treat many common ailments. The fragrance of Rosemary is strong, clear and empowering. Rosemary, once used as incense, is better known today as an antiseptic. Rosemary stimulates blood circulation, so it's a good remedy for low blood pressure. Rosemary is also an excellent remedy for headaches, when diluted oil is applied to the forehead and temples. Of all the plants in the plant kingdom, Rosemary contains the highest content of Hydrogen. Applied externally, Rosemary has a warming effect because it stimulates blood circulation. Blended with Juniper and Queen of the Meadow, the oil serves as a very therapeutic detoxifier. Rosemary is both a mental and physical stimulant. It is an excellent oil to use in a morning bath, because it energizes and is also great at night because of it's therapeutic effect on sore muscular conditions. The essential oil of Rosemary is said to be very useful in treating gallbladder infections and gallstones. Warm compresses with Rosemary help to soothe the spastic organ. Rosemary has also been known to lower high blood sugar and strengthen the heart. Pharmacies in many European and Central American cities still sell 'Hungary Water' or 'Queen of Hungary Water' (a toilet water made with Rosemary, used for faintness, as a skin toner and as a treatment for headaches. Queen of Hungary Water can be obtained locally from Jean's Green's). Rosemary is also a natural insecticide and protects surrounding plants from unwanted pests.

Rosemary is a welcome culinary ingredient. Rosemary Chicken is a delicious and somewhat common recipe throughout the world. Rosemary is often used in soaps, detergents, cosmetics, perfumes and colognes. It is also utilized in meat products, as well as alcohol and soft drinks.

Rosemary is believed to improve mental clarity and strengthen the nervous system. In stressful conditions, an inhalation of Rosemary is said to clear the mind by stimulating the central nervous system, enabling clarity in decision making. In ancient times, healers recognized the memory-enhancing benefits of this oil. Students in ancient Greece and Rome wore Rosemary wreaths on their heads while studying. Rosemary aids in concentration and can be used while taking exams or cramming for a test. Because of Rosemary's effect on the central nervous system, it is often used in meditation. Good meditation combinations include Frankincense and Juniper. Essential oils that may be blended with Rosemary to help benefit mental clarity, are Lemongrass, Verbena, Lemon, Grapefruit and Hyssop.

Rosemary's ability to stimulate blood circulation, makes it an excellent antidote for cold feet, circulatory problems, sore muscles, arthritis and gout. The oils penetrate the skin and act as a detoxifier when blended with Juniper and Queen of the Meadow. Rosemary essential oil combined with oils of Orange, Cypress and Juniper, can be used in the bath and is an excellent massage oil for cellulite. Rosemary, an herb that can benefit all of of us. It's beneficial effects on the Mind, Spirit, Skin, Hair and Body are numerous. Whether you need your memory boosted, headache banished, gallbladder calmed or cellulite diminished...the incredible herb Rosemary can help.