The Many Benefits of Rosemary
If you’ve ever walked through someone’s carefully plotted fragrant garden, you will likely recall the smell of fresh Rosemary. For me it conjures up not just good food but warm bath tubs filled with lavender and a couple sprigs of Rosemary. It was not only one of the most important plants in ancient Greece but it remains so today. The name comes from the Romans who called it rosmarinus- Latin for “dew of the sea”. What a lovely thought.
But, in spite of its culinary and relaxation uses, it is perhaps best known to help our memory. Yes Shakespeare mentioned this little herb in Hamlet (“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.”) but even before that, students in ancient Greece would braid rosemary into their hair to help during exams. It’s good to remember that just because something is old, doesn’t mean it isn’t true or worth our attention.
Throughout time, herbalists worth their salt, recommended it to their patients for failing memory. According to our friends at Epoch News, Nicholas Culpeper, English botanist, herbalist, and physician, wrote that rosemary was for, “cold diseases of the head and brain,” including “dullness of the mind,” as well as “stupidness, the dumb palsy, or loss of speech.” I believe the following quote, far less clinical, is also attributed to him, “As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul”.
Because its association to memory became so strong throughout Europe and Asia the plant became a symbol of remembrance and could often be found on the graves of the dead, or in the pockets of traveling men (women think of everything).
From the article:
“Rosemary’s memory enhancing reputation remains strong today. One study from 2013 found that simply sniffing rosemary improved memory as much as 75 percent. Other research has found that rosemary prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine—a neurotransmitter connected with memory and learning. One aspect of rosemary’s memory enhancing power comes from its ability to increase circulation, particularly to the head. Rosemary is warming and stimulating. In other words, it makes blood move.”
But that’s not all it does. The plant is easy to grow and if you live in a warm climate it will be green all year long. For those of you who live in the north, just bring it inside during the winter months and you’ll still be able to enjoy it. With so many uses I didn’t even mention, you’ll want to follow the links below for much more information!
PS Here are 5 benefits of rosemary oil too!
- Indigestion – Rosemary oil is often used for this relieving flatulence, stomach cramps, constipation, and bloating. The essential oil is also deemed helpful in stimulating appetite. Research shows that rosemary essential oil can help detoxify the liver and help regulate the creation and release of bile, a key part of the digestive process.
- Stress relief – Aside from its aromatheraupeutic benefits, rosemary oil is seen to decrease the level of cortisol, one of the hormones released during the body’s flight-or-flight response to stress, in the saliva. According to the 2007 study,9 inhaling rosemary and lavender oils for five minutes significantly reduced cortisol levels in the subjects’ saliva, potentially decreasing the dangers of chronic stress.
- Pain relief – Rosemary essential oil is promoted for its ability to relieve pain, which is why it’s widely used in treating headaches, muscle pains, and even arthritis.10 Massage the affected area with the essential oil, which you can also add to vapor baths for the treatment of rheumatism. Its anti-inflammatory qualities make it a good way to address pain from sprains and joint aches.
- Immune system boost – The same 2007 study that found reduced cortisol levels after simultaneous massage and inhalation of rosemary essential oil found that the free radical-scavenging activity in the subjects’ bodies also significantly increased. Antioxidants are a valuable weapon to fight off infection and disease, so this benefit of rosemary oil is welcome news – regularly using or inhaling it can support your immunity and help you fight off diseases linked to free radicals.
- Respiratory problems – The scent of the oil has been shown to provide relief from throat congestion, and in treating respiratory allergies, colds, sore throat, and the flu. Its antiseptic action also makes rosemary oil useful for respiratory infections. Because of its antispasmodic effect, it is also used in certain treatment programs for bronchial asthma.