There's something about rosemary that keeps me spell-bound and faithfully infusing it into my diet, in ever more imaginative and different ways. It holds an alchemical key to unraveling a turbulent mind whilst imbuing a calming, yet invigorating energy. All I need do is gently rub the leaves between my fingertips and inhale the rich, pungent aroma and I am transported to a space of easiness, clarity - soothed yet uplifted. Rosemary is an evergreen shrub with intensely scented needle-like leaves that thrives in a warm temperate and Mediterranean climate. Growing into a large woody shrub, this powerful herb displays a gorgeous, bee-friendly fanfare of tiny blue flowers in the spring...
The health benefits of rosemary
Not only is rosemary a delicious addition to healthy cuisine, it supports our health in so many different and unique ways. Some of these benefits have been tried and tested through the ages, passed down from generation to generation. Some benefits have even been tested by science. One thing for sure is that rosemary is a real gift to be embraced by anyone living in a temperate or Mediterranean region...
Super brain food
Rosemary was traditionally associated with strengthening the memory and has been shown to stimulate the nervous system in the brain whilst increasing the flow of blood to the head. It also has been said that it contains compounds that stop the degradation of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter that ensures healthy memory and communication between the cells.
All round energizing stimulant AND relaxant
Rosemary is an all round stimulant known for it's uplifting, energizing qualities. It supports blood circulation, improves digestion, encourages healthy hair growth and the immune system. As if this weren't enough, it also imparts the rather welcomed ability to calm and gently soothe at the same time as energizing.
Rosemary is an amazing anti-oxidant
Potent antioxidants within rosemary protect the body against free-radical damage. I remember reading that rosemary has been shown to contain carnosol and ursollic acid which are known to prevent melanoma and cancer, whilst caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid are well known for their antioxidant (and anti-inflammatory) benefits.
Rosemary has an excellent reputation as an anti-inflammatory and has been reported to relieve asthma, eczema, arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions. There are other herbs and spices that may be even more powerful at reducing inflammation, although, rosemary is certainly beneficial as an all-rounder, especially if it is something you begin to consume regularly in your diet.
Helps against fight or flight, adrenal fatigue and stress
Most of us live in a busy world that all too frequently mimics the 'fight or flight' mode of our ancestors. Fight or flight immediately puts us in a state of stress as the body experiences a cascade of the highly stimulating, cortisol hormone throughout the body. It is thought that rosemary (along with herbs like lavender) has the uncanny knack of being able to lower cortisol levels in the body. I don't know the science of this, yet I can say that if I inhale the pungent scent of rosemary if I'm feeling some degree of internal stress, I experience a rapid re-centering in my body and calming of stress hormones. So this ability to help against adrenal fatigue and stress really does resonate with me personally - something definitely happens!
How to use rosemary
In food: Rosemary can be used fresh or dried in soups, stews and all sorts of food dishes. It has quite tough pine needle like leaves and in most dishes benefits from being chopped finely or cooked for at least half an hour to soften up. Check out my rosemary oatcake crackers for a simple, tasty recipe with a delicate hint of this delightful herb:
As a tea infusion: Make a delicious rosemary tea infusion by placing some fresh rosemary into a tea ball or muslin bag and allow it to infuse in a mug for about 10 minutes. If you have a tea pot just pour boiling water on the fresh herb and then strain off when ready (this allows more of the leave to infuse, which is actually better). Crush or bruise some the leaves beforehand to release more of the oils and allow for a more potent, rich flavour.
Essential oil: Many people love the intense aroma of rosemary essential oil and use it on the skin topically (minimal amount required) or as a powerful inhalant. (BE AWARE however if you are pregnant to avoid the use of rosemary essential oil, due to it's strong stimulant properties).
Rosemary helping the spiritual journey
We certainly have a lot of this herb here in the Openhand gardens as it works powerfully to help ease the challenges of the spiritual journey.
If you feel a resonance with this herb, then embrace it and explore different ways that you can bring it more into your daily life.
Soul to soul