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Rosemary

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  • Botanical: Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Hits: 1859
Rosemary

Botanical

Rosmarinus officinalis

Family

Lamiaceae

Known as

Rosmarin

Old Use

culinary; medicinal

Collection Times

August to October

Parts Used

herb, leaves

Aroma

fresh, sharp

Medicinal

anxiety, anorexia, circulation, colds, colic, coughs, cramps, diarrhea, digestion, difficulty breathing, eczema, exhaustion, flatulence, headache, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, indigestion, menstruation promotion, migraine, neuralgia, neuritis, nervousness, pain relief, restlessness, rheumatism, stomach pain, skin rashes, weakness

Hormone & Sexual Organs

cramps, menstruation promotion, uterine cramps

Mind & Nerves

anxiety, colic, depression, headache, irritability, loss of appetite, migraine, neuritis, nervousness, pain relief, restlessness

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, cough

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, diarrhea, digestion, flatulence, gastrointestinal, indigestion, stomach cramps

Properties

analgesic, antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, fungicide, nervine, relaxant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic

Note

top

Extraction

steam distillation

Description

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub that has leaves similar to hemlock needles. The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods.

Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue.

Properties & Uses

Rosemary is strongly antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Rosmarinic acid has potential in the treatment of toxic shock syndrome, whilst the flavonoid diosmin is reputedly more effective than rutin in reducing capillary fragility.

The whole plant is antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, cardiac, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. An infusion of the flowering stems made in a closed container to prevent the steam from escaping is effective in treating headaches, colic, colds and nervous diseases.

This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women since in excess it can cause an abortion. 

Other Uses

The growing plant is said to repel insects from neighbouring plants. Branches or sachets of the leaves are often placed in clothes cupboards to keep moths away. An infusion of the dried plant (both leaves and flowers) is used in shampoos. When combined with borax and used cold, it is one of the best hair washes known and is effective against dandruff.

An essential oil is obtained from the leaves and flowering stems. One kilo of oil is obtained from 200 kilos of flowering stems. The oil is used in perfumery, soaps, medicinally etc. It is often added to hair lotions and is said to prevent premature baldness. The leaves are burnt as an incense, fumigant and disinfectant. The cultivar 'Prostratus' can be used as a ground cover in a sunny position. This cultivar is the least hardy form of the species.

The plant can be grown as a hedge, it is fairly resistant to maritime exposure, though when this is coupled with very cold weather the plants can suffer severely. Any trimming is best carried out after the plant has flowered. The cultivar 'Miss Jessopp's Upright' is particularly suitable for hedging. 'Fastigiatus' is also very suitable. A yellow-green dye is obtained from the leaves and flowers

Cautions

It is not suitable for people with epilepsy or high blood pressure. Avoid in pregnancy since it is an emmenagogue.

Distribution

S. Europe to W. Asia.

Constituents

antioxidants carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. Other chemical compounds include camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, rosmaridiphenol and rosmanol.