Excuse the play on an old standby, but kids going back to school reminded me of the three Rs and that led to substituting Rosemary for ‘rithmetic (I was never very good in math anyway). You see, I read about Rosemary and I am ‘riting about Rosemary, so for me, that makes it Reading, ‘Riting, and Rosemary!
Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. I love it’s piney/cedar scent and love to use a Rosemary “tree” as a Christmas decoration because of its scent, its texture and its shape. As a small child we always had cedar Christmas trees and that scent more than any other takes me back in time and creates the exciting anticipation of Christmas! The Rosemary aroma is a great substitute for cedar and for me, always creates a happy, smiling feeling. But there is more to this “feel good” herb than that–Rosemary’s delightful, soothing aroma is also associated with relieving stress and anxiety!
I often use Rosemary in cooking for the wonderful flavor it gives meats, soups and stews. Whenever I bake a chicken, I loosen the skin and stuff Rosemary in between the skin and the breast. I also toss a couple of sprigs into the cavity.. I always add Rosemary to grill meat not just for the great flavor, but also because it inhibits the formation of the nasty cancer-causing compounds that are created when meat is grilled, pan-fried or broiled (From the Journal of Food Science). And not only is it good in foods, it is also good in our bodies because it is a great source of iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and some very powerful anti-aging phytochemicals! And…
Rosemary is brain food and has been used to boost memory for thousands of years. It improves memory, recall and focus (especially for us older folks), and is a helpful aid for study, learning and exam performance. And if you tend to study too long and hard, it can be used to ward off metal exhaustion. For these benefits, you could make a head wreath of Rosemary like scholars did in Ancient Greece (and wear a toga), or you can just use the oil in a diffuser, hold a sprig near your nose as you study or most simple, just keep a potted Rosemary in your study area and inhale as you feel the brain fog approaching. My favorite way is to place Himmalayn Pink Salt in a small jar and add 10-30 drops of Rosemary essential oil. Place the lid on the jar, shake, and set the jar aside. The next time you need brain power, just take the lid off the jar and set it beside you. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive…and it works! FYI: As I write this, I am drinking green tea with fresh Rosemary and I have Rosemary EO wafting through the air from my diffuser.
But Rosemary is talented in so many other ways. One study reported that a key ingredient in Rosemary “specifically targets free radical damage in the brain…can actually protect the brain from strokes and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and normal brain aging” (from a study published in Cell Journal). Another study showed that one of the components in Rosemary helped raise cognitive performance. And we know that as we age, we need all the brain power we can get! And to that end, a study published in Psychiatry Research found that inhaling Rosemary increased free radical scavenging–a very good thing–while decreasing cortisol levels.
But that’s not all folks (I sound like an info-mercial), Rosemary is also considered “highly effective against cancer…and may inhibit…cell growth in leukemia and breast carcinoma cells” (published in Oncology Reports). Another study showed that Rosemary…”reduced the formation of cancer cells by preventing the replication of cancerous cells…”. “It is also considered an “herbal anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent” (study from Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry).
You can use fresh Rosemary, dried Rosemary or Rosemary Essential Oil. Rosemary EO is considered a valuable oil for respiratory problems and therefore is helpful for colds, catarrh, asthma and sinuitis. It is an anti-inflammatory agent and therefore may be helpful for everything from gout, arthritis and sore muscles to sports injuries. But its anti-inflammatory benefits doesn’t stop there. It also helps reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and may help prevent heart disease and strokes.
As a pain reliever, Rosemary may relieve common headaches, migraine headaches, joint pain, surgery pain and spasms. It is also helpful in managing Type 2 diabetes blood sugar levels.
As an herbal digestive aid, Rosemary has been used for upset stomach, nausea, constipation and diarrhea, and indigestion. It’s anti-bacterial properties also help with stomach infections which cause ulcers and staph infections.
Again for us older folks, the carnosic acid in Rosemary can “curtail” the degenerative progress of macular degeneration (from a study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science) because Rosemary promotes eye health and age-related eye disorders. It also stimulates the nervous and circulatory systems and gives the immune system a boost. It improves blood flow and is considered good for high blood pressure on one hand, but may also be too stimulating for blood pressure on the other. See the warning below and check with your doctor before using!
Rosemary is a very talented and versatile herb. As you can see, it can be used for dozens of health issues and in hundreds–if not thousands–of recipes. I used to consider myself lazy until a Chinese Qigong Master told me “You not lazy, you just efficient.” I look at Rosemary the same way; it just sits in the pot resting until you pluck a sprig for tea or cooking and then boy is it efficient!
Warnings: Rosemary’s stimulating action is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, epilepsy, pregnancy or breast feeding mothers. Also, be aware that very large doses can cause vomiting and spasms and may interfere with certain medications (i.e. anticoagulant drugs, blood pressure drugs, diuretics to lithium).
Important Note! The information in Wholistically Speaking is for educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose and/or treat diseases. If you have a health problem, I highly recommend you consult a competent health practitioner and educate yourself before embarking on any course of treatment.