by Elizabeth Renter
February 6, 2013
Rosemary is a staple in any well-stocked kitchen.
it's great for rubs and everyone knows how good it is with garlic on
roasted potatoes. But like thyme and mint, this herb has benefits
that go far beyond culinary. Rosemary has a wealth of healing
properties and you can grow it yourself.
Here's some essential
information on rosemary health benefits and how growing rosemary at
home can be one of the easiest things to do. Enjoy!
Rosemary is a woody herb with needle-like leaves.
Its scent is
unmistakable and it can be found in many herb gardens. In some
southern locales, rosemary can grow year-round and the plants
develop into glorious-smelling shrubs that can be used even for
A Brief History on Rosemary
Historically, the herb has always been seen as a mental booster.
is said that Greek students would wear rosemary while sitting for
tests, believing the plant's scent would boost their brain power.
It's also been used in remembrance since ancient Egypt, when the
tradition of putting sprigs or wreaths of rosemary on the tombs of
the dead first began.
But, rosemary's power of remembrance doesn't
stop there - recent studies have found it to actually boost memory and
stave off age-related cognitive decline.
Rosemary Benefits for Health
According to studies found in the Journal of Neurochemistry and
Nature Reviews Neuroscience, rosemary's active component carsonic
acid (CA) can actually protect the brain from damage, including that
caused by strokes and degeneration due to toxins and free radicals.
The Greeks may have also realized the stress-busting powers of the
plant. Modern research has shown that nurses exposed to rosemary oil
scent before taking exams exhibited far less test anxiety. It's been
suggested that the smell of rosemary essential oils can actually
reduce cortisol levels; cortisol is known as the stress hormone.
But, it isn't only the smell of rosemary that is healing; rosemary
health benefits even dip into the topical-arena.
Infused in an oil and applied to the skin, there is evidence that
rosemary can stop hair loss. It can also be used to treat muscle
pain and arthritis, reducing inflammation while improving
circulation. It is useful on skin afflictions like bruises and
Finally, rosemary preparations (like tea) can be taken internally.
Digestive problems and headaches can easily be soothed with this
simple stove-top remedy.
Many of rosemary's medicinal benefits are due to its antioxidant
qualities, protecting the cells from damage by toxins and
The health benefits of rosemary include:
Reducing anxiety, elevating mood
Protects against DNA damage
Arthritis treatment, anti-inflammatory
Detoxifying the liver
Cancer prevention (due to containing carnosol, a compound found to
have anti-cancer properties)
- The "How To"
Rosemary is a little trickier than some garden herbs, but it's
certainly a beginner-level plant.
You can grow it outdoors in the
growing season and year-round in warmer climates. If you're unsure
of how it will tolerate the weather in your part of the world, put
it in a pot. Rosemary is a great container-plant.
It can be difficult to start rosemary from seed. For this reason,
many suggest you buy a small plant from a local greenhouse. This
gives you a head start and leaves less room for failure. Just make
sure the plant you buy is from an organic greenhouse. Store-bought
plants are often doused with chemicals several times before they
make it to the racks.
Your rosemary doesn't require a whole lot of water, though it does
like humid conditions. Keep this in mind if you think you might move
your plant indoors through the winter. It loves the sun and heat and
will only flourish when it gets a lot of sun, throughout all hours
of the day, so don't plant it in shade.
Start by planting rosemary seeds or buying a small plant from a
local greenhouse (preferably an organic greenhouse).
Plant it in a location where it will receive plenty of sunlight;
rosemary flourishes in the sun. Be sure it doesn't overheat in hot
Water it occasionally, but be sure not to over-water it; the plant
doesn't require a lot of water for growth. Allow the soil to dry in
between watering the plant.
You can grow it outside during the spring and summer if you live in
a location with cold Autumns and winters.
Harvesting rosemary is easy and you can do it as soon as you have
enough to spare.
Simply cut a sprig about 3 to 6 inches down. Using
the tips of several sprigs won't benefit your plant like cutting
If you want to dry your rosemary, tie bundles with twine and hang
upside down until completely dry. Alternately, you can use a food
dehydrator. Rosemary dries very easily and maintains its potency
through the drying process.
For topical applications a rosemary-infused oil is best.
leaves from the sprigs and bruise them slightly to release the oils.
You can do this with a rolling pin. Pack a jar loosely with rosemary
leaves and cover with olive oil. Place the jar in a window and let
infuse for 3 to 5 weeks; the heat of the sun will help release the
rosemary oils. Strain the leaves off and pack the oil in a clean
To boost the healing powers even more, add several drops of
rosemary essential oil.
A rosemary tea is even easier and can be used for everything from
headaches to indigestion. Simply steep a sprig or two of rosemary in
a pot of boiling water for several minutes. Strain and enjoy. A
great hair rinse can be made in this manner; just remember to cool
it before pouring it on your head.
The benefits of rosemary are many and because you can grow it
yourself, there is really no excuse to let this healing plant pass