The perennial herb Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus) is a woody evergreen plant. Rosemary has a strong fragrance and needle-like leaves. Its flowers can be blue, pink or purple. The herb belongs to the Lamiaceae mint family and its old name Rosmarinus Officinalis, now a synonym was changed in 2017. Rosemary is derived from the Latin word ros marinus ros means “dew” and marinus means “sea” (dew of the sea). The herb can thrive on just water spray in the air. It does very well along the seashores. Another name for the herb is anthos which is a Greek name meaning ‘flower’. The origins of the Rosemary are believed to be in the Mediterranean and Asian regions.
Rosemary is recorded in cuneiform stone tablets of around 5000 BC. The Egyptians used it during burial rites. During the Han Dynasty, early 220 AD, the herb was introduced to China. In England, it is believed to have been introduced in the 8th century where it was grown in farms and gardens belonging to monasteries. The early European settlers are said to have brought the herb to America during the 17th century.
Rosemary grows best in well-drained loam soil, out in the open where there is plenty of sunshine. A cutting planted directly into the ground or in a flowerpot does well. A rosemary plant can grow as high as 1.5 m (5 ft) tall and sometimes can reach 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are white at the bottom and green on top having dense, short wooly hair. The needle-like leaves of the herb resemble those of the hemlock. Rosemary can live for up to 30 years and thrives in harsh dry climatic conditions even long periods of drought.
Rosemary in Cooking
Rosemary leaves have a bitter, astringent taste and a very distinctive aroma. Dried, the leaves make for a well-cooked food complement. The leaves are used to make herbal tea or roasted together with meats and other barbecue foods including vegetables. Food barbecued with Rosemary exudes a mustard-like aroma and at the same time have a charred wood fragrance. Rosemary extract is said to stabilize Omega 3 rich oils not to become rancid fast. It is also known to prolong the shelf life of such oils.
Rosemary in Medicine
Rosemary contains antioxidant properties carnosic and rosmarinic acids which work to combat the oxidative stress and damage on the brain. The herb is used in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to prevent said brain damage.
The acidic compounds in Rosemary work as well as natural antiviral and antibacterial agents. They have been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiviral, as well as antibacterial properties. The herb is especially effective in fighting yeast infections or candida.
Rosemary inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, the part of the brain in charge of memory and reasoning. The herb helps increase blood flow to the brain which in turn promotes memory function.
The probability of Rosemary taking a role in fighting cancer is growing. In the laboratory, 76% of carcinogens did not develop into cancer in rats while the occurrence of tumors in mammary glands reduced. It is also said to reduce damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, including the risks of developing skin cancer.
Sara Jane Adkins is a health coach, writer, food-lover and mother. Thriving to develop innovative & compelling data-driven stories, Sara has personally penned and ghost-written articles, books and training guides for consultants, authors and organizations in a variety of industries. Currently serving as chief content editor at Wellbeing Facts. Sara seeks to inspire people to become more nutritionally conscious and physically fit while still enjoying the foods that they love to eat and living fulfilling unrestricted lives. Sara also is a contributor on health and fitness blogs as well as lifestyle publications. Sara is a creative and innovative thinker with 10+ years writing for online publications; her work has appeared on Huffington Post, LifeHack, VegKitchen, Calorie Count, Share Care, Healthy Fit Natural, the Chicago Tribune and many other globally-recognized publications.