Rosmarinus officinalis, or more commonly known as rosemary, is a perennial herb that is a part of the genus Rosmarinus, within the mint family Lamiaceae. The word rosemary actually derives from the Latin word “ros” meaning dew, and “marinus” meaning sea or “dew of the sea.” The herb is sometimes also called “anthos” which derives from the ancient Greek “ἄνθος”, meaning flower. Rosemary is actually native to the Mediterranean, where its main use is for culinary purposes. This herb has actually been in use since Biblical times. Did you know that supposedly the Virgin Mary is said to have draped her cloak over this plant while she was resting? Her cloak supposedly turned the white flowers blue, and from then on it became known as the “Rose of Mary.”
A rosemary plant is actually an evergreen shrub. It has many different forms, some growing upright, with others trailing. It can range in height from 5 feet tall to up to 6 feet, 7 inches tall. The evergreen leaves are actually similar to pine or hemlock needles, and will grow anywhere from .8 to 1.6 inches long and 2 to 5 mm wide. They are actually green only on the tops, and turn to white on the bottoms and have short, dense wooly hairs on them. The rosemary plant also grows flowers that can range in color from white to a deep blue and also purple or pink.
Rosemary can be used in many different products and industries. While known mainly as a culinary herb, it can also be used for medicinal purposes, skin care, bath and body products, soap making, and even hair care. Common products it can be used in are shampoos and conditioners, soaps, natural herbal waters, bath teas, potpourri, face masks, scrubs, bath bombs, lotions, ointments, creams, bath salts, and eye pillows. Did you know that according to Greek mythology, after the goddess Aphrodite was born and rose from the sea, it is said that she was draped in rosemary?
Rosemary is a perennial herb, and like any other plant, has its own specific conditions needed to achieve its best growth. It grows best in the Mediterranean or in places with similar climates. It is drought tolerant and does best when planted in an open area with maximum sun exposure. It should be planted in moist friable loam soil, meaning that the soil should be crumbly not like clay, giving the roots room and availability to spread out. Rosemary plants also need good drainage.
The rosemary plant needs a frost-free environment with at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun exposure for it to grow properly. Because the roots need room to grow, each seed should be planted about 2 to 3 feet apart during the spring time. The seeds should begin to grow around 14 to 21 days after being planted. You can actually start using the plant and harvesting sprigs of it as soon as it has begun to grow. The leaves of the plant can also be dried. Using the steam distillation process, the dried leaves can be used to make rosemary essential oil.
There are some pests and diseases that can affect the rosemary plant. It is greatly susceptible to powdery mildew that will weaken the plant. It is caused when it is in an area with humid air and not enough air movement. Spider mites, whiteflies, mealy bugs and scale also effect and feed on rosemary. This herb is also susceptible to root rot.
Uses for Industries
Food and Beverages
One of the main and well known uses for rosemary is for its culinary purposes. It can be used as a flavoring agent for bread, or mixed with olive oil and used as a dipping sauce for bread. It is also used as a spice and flavoring for many other foods such as roasts and stuffing. Rosemary can be used as an ingredient for many other dishes as well such as chicken, veal, pork, lamb, and many vegetables, stews, and soups. It can be used to bring a sweet herbal twist to many alcoholic drinks and other beverages such as lemonade, iced tea, and sparkling water. You can even make rosemary tea by steeping the rosemary leaves in boiling water. Take the leaves out depending on how strong you want the tea. The longer the leaves remain in the water, the stronger the tea will be.
Bath and Body Products
Rosemary can actually be used for many different industries and products. Besides it culinary purposes, it can also be used for medicinal purposes, skin care, hair care, soaping, and for many bath and body products. Rosemary is a beautiful decorative element to add into the soap making process and can give it a wonderful aroma.
Many common products that can include rosemary are soaps, face masks, bath bombs, bath salts, potpourri, bath teas, creams, lotions, ointments, shampoos and conditioners, natural herbal waters, and scrubs.
When used for hair care purposes, rosemary is great for stimulating the hair follicles which helps to promote hair growth, thickness, and makes the hair stronger. It also treats dandruff, itchy and/or dry scalp, and can prevent premature baldness. Rosemary oil is also great for darkening hair and can be used as a more natural and healthier hair dye.
For skin care, rosemary helps to treat oily skin, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. It also reduces any swelling or puffiness of the skin, helps to heal burns, reduces wrinkles, bags, and any fine lines on the skin, and helps to tighten loose and saggy skin. Rosemary works to rejuvenate the skin and even lightens blemishes and any dark spots of the skin therefore improving the complexion.
There are many medicinal benefits to rosemary as well. It can be used to treat headaches, toothaches, joint pain, muscle pain, arthritis, coughing, gout, flatulence, heartburn, loss of appetite, and high blood pressure. It contains many important nutrients and minerals for the body such as vitamin A, magnesium, manganese, vitamin C, sodium, potassium, calcium and iron. It also has many antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Rosemary oil helps to enhance cognitive function and boost neural activity, and can be used as a effective way to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It also works to sharpen the mind, working to improve concentration and memory.
The oil can even be used as mood enhancer helping with fatigue, depression, anxiety, lethargy, forgetfulness, and tension.
It can be used as a booster for the immune system which in turn helps to treat or combat things like cancer and heart disease. It works as an anti-tumor agent, and when used to cook beef, it helps to reduce some cancer-causing agents that can form while the meat is being cooked.
Rosemary happens to contain a component called carnosic acid which helps to maintain and promote eye health. This acid can protect the eyes from many diseases like macular degeneration. This acid can also help to fight off brain damage.
For women, rosemary can be used to increase menstrual flow, however the essential oil is not recommended for pregnant women as it can cause miscarriage.
In Australia, rosemary is worn as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. Also, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the character Ophelia mentions that rosemary is for remembrance.
In the Middle Ages, rosemary was seen as a love charm. At weddings, both the bride and groom wore a rosemary sprig. If the newlyweds planted rosemary and the plant grew it was seen as a good omen. It was also said that if a young person tapped another with a sprig of rosemary and the sprig had an open flower, they would fall in love.
It was also believed that if rosemary was planted outside the house, it would repel evil spirits, and if a sprig of rosemary was kept underneath a pillow it would repel nightmares.
Nature’s Garden sells rosemary and rosemary essential oil for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great rosemary is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.