The Amazing Health Benefits of the Humble Herb Rosemary

Submitted by Trinity on Fri, 07/04/2014 - 05:16

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.

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

Trinity

This is wonderful Trinity - thanks for posting.

I can say I had no idea about the capacities of this humble herb. How is it we so easily overlook garden gems like this?

Oh yes, silly me, the system would rather you consume something from the mainstream. And how can something so beneficial possibly be free!

Thankyou

Open *OK*

And, that tip from your Mum you passed on to me, Trin. It's so easy to grow more rosemary from cuttings off a mature rosemary bush. Someone gave me a whole bag of rosemary sprigs recently that were prunings from a large shrub which was about to be moved. I put some aside for the kitchen, then used some of the larger sprigs in a flower arrangement, their rich green needles really showed off the bright orange of some calendula flowers. Then the smaller cuttings I put on the window cill in a couple of jars of water. Just a couple of weeks later they have all rooted, and I have enough to plant up a whole bed of rosemary.

Simply Heavenly !

Ahh, I love Rosemary too - I have some in my herbie garden and find it immensely soothing and centering! Timely reminder as it hasn't been the smoothest of days!

Thank you

very interesting article Trinity. Open, I noticed that you were burning rosemary oil on the retreat. I love the smell and it felt very cleansing. You also used frankincense which I love as well. I'm just off to infuse some rosemary in my little teapot. Love, Lisa x

Very observant Lisa :)
Frankincense & Rosemary are a powerful combination to cleanse the field.

So funny Michelle. I am sure when I was contemplating the spiritual benefits of rosemary for this article (which i didn't really go into in much), you came into my awareness.

In a corner of my garden a lovely rosemary bush resides. I am embarrassed to say that until recently I never used it for cooking. I loved the smell when I brushed by it or pruned it. Now it is going in soups, stews and I will try Lesley's suggestion of growing some more from cuttings. I have a large bay tree and again have not used its bounty until recently. For me it is all part of my awakening and 'seeing' what is right in front of me. ;)
I find the food and gardening postings inspirational and definitely linked to my development.

Inspired again by your article, I decided to make a green juice this morning and used quite a few rosemary 'needles' some of the lemon balm that you gave me , both plants doing very well in my garden. Thank you Trinity :) I added some lemon, a small amount of broccoli, some kale, celery, cucumber and half an apple. Wow! The rosemary worked so well. I plan to add it regularly to my green juices. With love, Lisa x

That sounds delicious - wouldn't you know, I was just thinking of putting rosemary in my juice yesterday. Great minds, ay!
I am working on my juicing section for my new book at the moment... what an awesome and exciting addition that would be.

We enjoyed a very tasty carrot, pear, celery & ginger juice today. Surprisingly out-of-this-world. Rosemary & Kale tomorrow then.