By Sarena-Rae Santos, Natural Health Blogger
What is Rosemary
Rosemary is sometimes called Dew of the sea, Sea dew, Elf leaf, Guardrobe, Incensier, Compass weed, Polar plant, or its scientific name Rosmarinus officinalis. Rosemary is a beautiful evergreen shrub with 1-inch long, needle-like leaves with clusters of white/pale blue flowers that blossom during winter and spring native to the Mediterranean (1). Rosemary has been used for medicinal purposes in the Mediterranean region for many years and has since been cultivated worldwide (2).
Health Benefits of Rosemary
Rosemary, commonly known as a cooking spice, has been used for medicinal purposes worldwide for many years. Some excellent medicinal benefits of rosemary include:
Rich In Antioxidants
Several studies have been done on rosemary’s ability to act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (3). Due to the antioxidant capabilities of rosemary, early studies have found that rosemarinic acid is an excellent alternative to toxin-filled preservatives and can increase the shelf life of perishable foods thanks to its natural preservatives (4).
An antimicrobial property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can kill or suppress the spread of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi (5). One study compared the antimicrobial activity of rosemary and sage essential oils. Rosemary was effective against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, S. enteritidis, and Shigella sonei (6).
Rosemary is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its antioxidant compounds, which can also reduce inflammation, especially from free radical damage. Chronic inflammation has been linked with many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (7). Several studies, including in vitro and in vivo, found that rosemary has a great source of anti-inflammatory agents and historically documented pharmacological effects (8).
May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Several studies have found that rosemary has compounds called carbonic acid and tamarind acid, which have insulin-like effects on blood sugar (9). Several studies have found that these two compounds are linked to an increased glucose absorption rate into muscle cells, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels (10,11).
May Improve Mood, Memory & Brain Health
Many studies have been conducted around the possibility that rosemary may improve mood, memory, and overall brain health. One study found that taking rosemary orally two times a day for one month significantly lowered anxiety levels while improving memory and sleep quality among college students (12). Another study of 66 industrial employees found that drinking two teaspoons of rosemary in 2/3 cup of water felt significantly less burnt out at their jobs (13). An animal study found that rosemary may even support recovery from conditions such as a stroke (14) and may even protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s (15).
The mainstream cautions there isn’t enough reliable information to know if rosemary is safe to use as a medicine when breastfeeding, so they recommend staying on the safe side and sticking to food amounts (16). These mainstream claims have resulted in rosemary gaining a negative reputation, but there is no evidence that it will cause harm to the baby or mother.
Actually, respected herbalist Richard Whelan states substantial amounts have been given to pregnant rodents in tests, and it has not caused any harm. In his professional opinion, rosemary is safe to take while breastfeeding and may, in fact, benefit the baby as the oils will pass through the milk and can be nice and calming to the gut.
The only concern Richard Whelan has is to not take strong medicinal teas or extracts of Rosemary at the same time as taking iron supplements, as studies have shown that it significantly decreases iron absorption when taken simultaneously (17).
According to aromatherapist Wendy Robbins, essential oils should never be taken internally or applied undiluted. She warns rosemary essential oil is potentially neurotoxic, depending on the level of camphor present in the oil. They also warn not to use it on or near the face of infants and children. The recommended dermal maximum for Rosemary Camphor is 16.5% and 6.5% for Rosemary Verbenone (18).
How to Use Rosemary
You can find rosemary in dried bulk, teas, capsules, powders, extracts, essential oils, and even herbal tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs. Teas are also an option.
Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:
- Earthley’s Breathe Well Salve helps relieve chest congestion, coughs, and stuffy noses. This natural vapor rub is a healthy alternative to traditional OTC medications that aren’t safe for little ones and have potentially harmful side effects.
- Earthley’s Castor Oil Detox (Cool Formula) is an herbal–infused castor oil that can help detox your liver, relieve the pain of cysts, reduce joint pain, promote lymphatic health, and more.
- Earthley’s Herbal Baby Powder combines three natural herb powders blended together to create a healing alternative that keeps baby dry. This natural baby powder benefits cord care, soothes diaper rash, and much more.
- Earthley’s Milk Flowin’ Salve is an all-natural, herbal salve created to help relieve clogged milk ducts. This salve helps keep lymphatic fluids and milk moving to work out any existing clogs and prevent future ones. Since it’s edible and safe for babies, there’s no need to wipe it off before nursing.
- Earthley’s Pain Relief Rub (CBD Cream) helps you experience true relief from back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, and more. This synergistic cream combines naturally pain-relieving herbs like St. John’s Wort and yarrow with full-spectrum CBD. Rub a small amount into the sore spot and feel the relief within minutes!
- Earthley’s Rosemary-Lavender Dry Shampoo is a gentle, lightly floral-scented shampoo bar that cleans hair without stripping it of its own natural oils. Lavender and rosemary promote hair growth and scalp health. This shampoo bar is also no-waste, so it’s great for the environment too!
- Earthley’s Rosemary-Lavender Shampoo Bar absorbs excess oils and leaves the hair soft and clean! Many dry shampoos are propane or butane-powered and contain synthetic ingredients that sit on your scalp. Not this one! This all-natural powder comes in an old-fashioned shaker bottle–you-powered, no propellants.
- Earthley’s Sea Salt Soap combines nourishing oils and gently exfoliating sea salt to create an at-home spa experience. The Margarita scent smells fresh and clean and is made with all-natural essential oils. Gently rub away dry, dead skin to reveal the glowing skin beneath it.
- Earthley’s Silky Smooth Leave-In Conditioner is the perfect pair to Earthley’s Rosemary-Lavender Shampoo Bar. It smoothes, nourishes, and detangles hair while also toning the scalp.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.