Scientifically known as Rosmarinus officinalis Linn, Rosemary is a native of the Mediterranean coastlines. Also found in Uruguay, Europe, North America and Mexico, the herb grows on a small evergreen shrub. It belongs to the mint family of Lamiaceae and appears as a woody, perennial fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves, with flowers of various colors (white, pink, red, blue, purple). The name rosemary has been derived from the Latin name rosmarinus, which means 'dew' (ros) 'sea' (marinus) or 'dew of the sea', reason being it is grown near the sea. Rosemary was considered a sacred herb in Ancient Greece, where people burnt its branches on the altars of the gods.
In India, rosemary is known as 'rusmary' in Hindi and 'rosemary' in Bengali. The herb has been considered as one of the most used and loved plants in aromatherapy. It is been used for culinary purposes as well as in medicines, not to forget perfumes (because of its aromatizing properties). Rosemary also find a use in curing many ailments, such as headaches, stomach upsets, neuralgia, mild spasms, rheumatism, depression, cancer, age-related skin damage and digestive disorders. Read on to know more about the diverse health benefits of rosemary.
Health Benefits Of Rosemary
- Rosemary contains two important ingredients, caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid, which are responsible for various therapeutic actions. Both these acids are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. They help reduce inflammation that contributes to asthma, liver disease and heart disease.
- The natural acids present in rosemary help in protecting the body's cells from being damaged by free radicals like monoterpenes, phenolic diterpenes and flavonoids.
- A rich source of Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), another potent antioxidant, rosemary helps in fighting free radicals further.
- Scientists from Cancer Research Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic, have found that rosemary helps in protecting DNA against free radical damage.
- Rosemary inactivates oestrogen hormones like oestrone and oestradiol, which are responsible for breast cancer, by stimulating liver enzymes.
- Italian researchers have found that rosemary extract safeguards a protective protein called HSP70 that helps in reducing damage caused to the skin due to stress, free radicals and other toxins.
- Rosemary extract helps prevent age-related skin damage, such as wrinkles, by protecting the individual components of skin cells.
- French scientists from National Institute of Agronomic Research, Dijon, say that extract of rosemary encourages detoxifying enzymes, like cytochrome P450, glutathione transferase and quinone reductase, flush out harmful toxins from the liver, out of the body.
- Rosemary extract, when consumed on a daily basis, improves kidney functions, increases urine flow and preserves essential minerals such as sodium, potassium and chlorium.
- Rosemary oil is used to stimulate hair growth, boost mental activity, relieve respiratory problems and pain, and reduce disorders in menstrual cycle, menstrual cramps, peptic ulcers, urine flow, prostate, gall bladder, intestine, sperm mobility, leukemia and kidney stones
- Doctors recommend only two 400 mg rosemary capsules up to three times a day. This dose should not be exceeded.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid large quantities of rosemary. Excessive dosage can lead to miscarriages or even affect the fetus.
- People suffering from high blood pressure or epilepsy should not take rosemary supplements.
- Rosemary oil can be allergic, thus, it should be consumed only when prescribed by a doctor.
- Rosemary leaves, when taken in large quantities, have serious adverse effects, such as coma, spasm, vomiting and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).
- Fresh and dried rosemary leaves can be used to complement a variety of foods. For instance, you can add rosemary sprigs to soups, stews, meat and fish, to add flavor.
- Add a few rosemary leaves to meat dishes, especially lamb, beef and pork, to speed up digestion.
- You can even add rosemary leaves to lemon tea, for extra flavor.
- Savor your omelets and frittatas with fresh rosemary leaves.
- Season your chicken and lamb with rosemary for that fantastic aroma.
- Marinade lamb with finely chopped rosemary, oil garlic and lemon.
- Make your tomato soups sauces and soups even more delicious by adding rosemary.
- Blend fresh rosemary leaves with olive oil and use it to butter your bread.