Rosemary: Snapshot


Rosemary is a specific for depressive states with general debility and indications of cardiovascular weakness. Studies show rosemary leaves increase circulation, reduce headaches and fight bacterial and fungal infections. It is considered one of the strongest natural antioxidants. The flavonoid diosmin strengthens fragile blood vessels, possibly even more effectively than rutin. German pharmacies sell rosemary ointment to rub on nerve and rheumatic pains and for heart problems. A traditional European treatment for those suffering from poor circulation due to illness or lack of exercise is to drink rosemary extracted into white wine.

Botanical Name

Rosmarinus officinalis

Part Used

Leaf

Brief History

Rosemary contains many compounds that are reported to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, usually a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Several if not all can be absorbed through the skin, and some probably cross the blood-brain barrier so using a using a final rinse of vinegar with rosemary essential oil added may be beneficial in prevention.

Rosemary is recommended for flatulence, heartburn and as a digestive. It improves food absorption by stimulating digestion and the liver, intestinal tract and gallbladder. It is also used to inhibit kidney and bladder-stone formation. Studies on rosemary conducted in Paraguay show that it almost completely inhibits the enzyme urease which contributes to kidney stone formation. It makes an antiseptic gargle for sore throats, gum problems and canker sores. Asthma sufferers used to smoke it with coltsfoot and eat bread that had been baked over rosemary wood.

As a warming herb, it stimulates circulation of blood to the head, improving concentration and memory. It also eases headaches and migraine, and encourages hair growth by improving blood flow to the scalp. It has been used to treat epilepsy and vertigo. It aids recovery from long-term stress and chronic illness. It is thought to stimulate the adrenal glands and is used specifically for debility, especially when accompanied by poor circulation and digestion.

Cultivation

Soil should be well drained, fairly dry with a pH of 5-8 in full sun. Drip irrigation commercially is ideal. Weed intensely when young. There should be good air circulation. If it is located in a stuffy corner, insider or out, it begins to lose its leaves and soon develops a mildew-like fungus that eventually kills it.

RosemaryCuttings of 4- 6 inches should be taken in early summer from a ripe, flower-free shoot; remove the lower leaves and place the cutting in water or dip in hormone rooting powder and plant in a rooting compound such as vermiculite until the roots have formed. Biggest cause of death is overwatering.

To harvest pick small amounts all year round commercially beginning in the second year. Gather main leaf crop before flowering. Avoid cutting into woody parts as this will hinder development of the plant. First cutting is usually in late spring. Strip off leaves before storing. To release the aroma, crush leaves only just before use. Commercial rosemary fields are trimmed on a continuous basis for fresh herbs.

Constituents

Beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, essential oils (borneol, camphor, cineole, eucalyptol, linalol, pinene, thymol, verbenol), tannins, flavonoids (apigenin, diomin, heterosides, luteolin), rosmarinic acid, rosmaricine, triterpene (ursolic acid, oleanic acid), resin

Edible

The young shoots, leaves, and flowers are all edible raw or cooked. They have a refreshing, pleasant, somewhat bitter-pungent piney flavor. When eaten with food they aid the digestion of fats and starches.

Therapeutic Properties

Carminative, spasmolytic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, circulatory stimulant, hepatoprotective

Vitalist Properties

Flavour: Pungent, Bitter

Temperature: Warm

Moisture: Dry

Polarity: Yang

Dosage (Divided Daily)

Dried Leaf: 2000 – 4,000 mg per day

Tincture: 2 – 4 mL per day (1:2)

Therapeutic Indications

Alzheimer’s disease, amenorrhea, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, cataracts, cellulite, colds, debility, delayed menses, depression, dyspepsia, epilepsy, fatigue, flatulence, gallstones, halitosis, headache, hypertension, hypotension, jaundice, memory loss, menstrual cramps, migraine, pain, palsy, poor circulation, poor vision, rheumatism, stress, and vertigo. It is also considered a cancer preventive.

Primary Uses

Rosemary is a potent antioxidant, antiseptic, and antispasmodic. In European folk medicine, it was used both internally and externally, for ills including nervous disorders, upset stomach, headaches, baldness, arthritis, pain, strains, and bruises. More recently, it has been investigated as a cancer therapy. Benefits of rosemary for specific health conditions include the following:

Alzheimer’s disease

Rosemary contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical that allows the nerve cells responsible for memory and reasoning to communicate with one another. Rosemary also improves circulation to the brain.

Cancer

Research shows that rosemary has strong antioxidant effects. Several animal studies indicate that rosemary can prevent cancer-causing chemicals from binding to and causing mutations in cellular DNA. This was later reconfirmed in human cells. Rosemary has been shown to inhibit the carcinogen aflatoxin from binding to liver cells and to prevent benzopyrene from binding to bronchial cells. These results show that its potential protective abilities go beyond one carcinogen and one type of tissue. Other research has found that whole rosemary extract can stimulate liver enzymes that defuse carcinogens and reduces those enzymes that can enhance carcinogens.

Circulatory problems, eczema, rheumatic disorders, and sore muscles

In European folk medicine, rosemary baths were used to prevent bacterial infection complicating eczema. Rosemary baths also stimulate blood circulation to the skin. This action helps the body to circulate the immune cells that cause eczema away from the skin and to circulate antibodies and other immune cells that fight infection to the skin. Rosemary contains camphor, which increases the blood supply to the skin. Because of this property, using rosemary in the bath helps to reduce pain in rheumatic muscles and joints. Rosemary baths also help to improve disorders characterized by chronic circulatory weakness, such as low blood pressure, varicose veins, bruises, and sprains.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Rosemary relieves intestinal cramps and spasms. It also eases bloated feelings and stops flatulence. The bitter substances in rosemary stimulate the release of bile, aiding the digestion of dietary fat and lowering cholesterol levels. Rosemary also protects the liver from toxins leaking through the bowel.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to rosemary leaf and its preparations, especially those containing carnosol

Cautions: 

Do not administer during pregnancy or lactation without professional advice.

Hot baths containing rosemary preparations should be avoided by patients with large open wounds, large skin lesions, feverish conditions or acute inflammation, severe circulatory disorders or hypertension.

Consuming large amounts may cause stomach and intestinal irritation, as well as seizures.

Interactions overview

No interactions found


Link to Dried Rosemary Leaf @ HerbosophyDried Rosemary Leaf


Bibliography

Balch, P. A. (2002). Prescription for herbal healing. New York: Avery.

British Herbal Medicine Association. Scientific Committee. British herbal pharmacopoeia. (1983)London, The Committee.

Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs : herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI, Churchill Livingstone

Herbalpedia 2011

Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism : The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Mars, Brigitte. The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine : The Ultimate Multidisciplinary Reference to the Amazing Realm of Healing Plants, in a Quick-Study, One-Stop Guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub., 2007.

Ulbricht, C. E., & Natural Standard (Firm). (2010). Natural Standard herb & supplement guide : an evidence-based reference (1st ed.). Maryland Heights, Mo.: Elsevier/Mosby.


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