Native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia, Salvia Rosmarinus, commonly known as Rosemary is widely known for its refreshing fragrance. This woody, perennial shrub, with needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers are widely used in the culinary world as condiments and in health and beauty products as well. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other aromatic herbs like basil, sage, hyssop, and oregano. Besides its refreshing aroma and taste, Rosemary is known to have numerous health benefits as well. Rosemary has been praised for its medicinal properties since the ancient times and has been used to relieve muscle pain, boost the immune system, and for hair growth. The first recorded mention of Rosemary in history dates back as early as 5000 BC in a stone tablet and later in their burial rituals by the Egyptians.
Recent studies show how rosemary is an essential addition to the diet, as it is believed to possess numerous nutrients that are vital to our health. It contains a good amount of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and B-6 and is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which play a crucial in neutralizing harmful particles in our body called free radicals. It is also high in manganese content which is an essential nutrient for metabolic health. Manganese also helps the body to produce blood clots, allowing a quicker heal from injuries. The leaves of this herb can be eaten fresh or dried and are usually consumed as a tea or infused oil in many parts of the world.
Apart from its taste and aroma, Rosemary has a wide range of health benefits essential to our body.
- Improves Blood Circulation: Studies have shown that rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants which are essential in neutralizing harmful particles in our body known as free radicals. This high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the plant helps in boosting the immune system and in improving blood circulation.
- Boost Immune System: According to recent studies, the rosmarinc acids and carsonic found in rosemary have potent antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties which boost the immune system to fight any potential infections such as staph infections and also in lowering the risk of infection.
- Reduces Stress: The sweet and refreshing aroma of rosemary has been associated with improving mood, reducing anxiety, and in relieving stress especially for people with chronic anxiety or stress hormone imbalances. Studies have also concluded that rosemary can improve a person’s sleep quality and lower their anxiety level tremendously.
- Reduces Risk of Cancer: The carsonic acid found in rosemary have the ability in slowing down the growth of cancer cells in the body. Research also shows that “crude ethanolic rosemary extracts (RO)” can slow down the spread of breast carcinoma cells and leukaemia. The anti-inflammatory compound found in rosemary can also act as an anti-tumour agent and have the potential to lower the risk of developing tumours.
- Improves Memory: Since ancient times, rosemary has been used to help improve memory and concentration. The aroma of the plant can improve cognitive performance and quality, boosting alertness, focus, and intelligence.
- Promotes Hair Growth: Rosemary oil has been linked with hair growth in many cultures since ancient times. Studies have shown that regular use of Rosemary oil can be as effective as minoxidil for improving hair growth especially in people with androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness). It is also known that rosemary oil is used to prevent slow greying of hair, hair thinning, and in treating dandruff and dry scalp.
- Helps Indigestion: Rosemary leaf, in particular, is used in treating indigestion and other gastric issues in many parts of Europe and has been approved by the German Commission E concerning its efficacy and safety. It is also known to be used in treating intestinal gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, and liver and gallbladder issues.
- Aids Muscle Pain: According to early studies, a combination of rosemary, hops and oleanolic acid shows tremendous effect in easing muscle and arthritis-related pain and also in improving circulation.
The health benefits of Rosemary are endless and the above mentioned are just some of it. Rosemary is completely safe as long as it is consumed in low doses. Although rare, serious side effects may be triggered, such as spasms, vomiting, or even pulmonary oedema if taken in very large doses. It is advised to consult a physician before incorporating rosemary or its product into your diet.