Firstly, everyone should plant Rosemary in their gardens! Seriously, it’s a wonderful, aromatic evergreen herb, that even someone with zero gardening skills could grow 😊 But I’m not going to focus on the benefits of the plant, I’m going to wax lyrical about it’s amazing essential oil which is a key ingredient in my “Rocket’s Tail” essential oil blend.
General Information & Characteristics:
Rosemary Essential Oil (Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis – which translates as “Dew of the Sea”) is traditionally extracted from the leaves of the Rosemary plant.
- Aroma: A fresh, herbal fragrance, very crisp.
- Note: Middle.
- Main Qualities: Antibacterial, Anti-Rheumatic, Antiseptic, Cerebral Stimulant, Diuretic, Reduces Pain, Restorative, Stimulant.
- Safety Precautions: Limit use for those with high blood pressure or epilepsy, or in the early stages of pregnancy.
Rosemary is associated with many health benefits, I’ve focused here on those that are particularly important.
Physical & Mental Stimulation: Rosemary has been well documented as a cognitive stimulant; believed to improve memory & focus. For this reason, its great to use when driving long distances or for long hours of study.
Detoxifies the Body: Rosemary’s diuretic qualities means that it helps to flush out toxins from the body, which helps to support the function & health of the liver. Its stimulating effect on the blood circulation also supports the elimination of waste from the body.
Relieves Muscle & Joint Pain: Rosemary has been closely linked to reducing inflammation of muscles, blood vessels & joints, which makes it an excellent treatment for those suffering from arthritis, gout or just tired/over used muscles.
Protects the Stomach & Freshens Breath: Along with immune boosting components of being an antioxidant & anti-inflammatory, it is also particularly effective against bacterial infections that attack the stomach. Which is why rosemary is great to include in food preparation, as it helps to ease an upset stomach. In addition, gargling with rosemary will kill those nasty bacteria in your mouth which causes halitosis and prevents the excess build-up of plaque.
Improves mood & relives stress: This oil has an invigorating and stimulating scent, a real pick me up which helps to fight off physical & mental fatigue and providing a strengthening effect on the emotions. Additionally, applying to the temples can help to relieve tension headaches & migraines.
Skin & Hair Benefits: The anti-aging qualities in Rosemary are great for improving the skin. It is particularly good for those with oily skin, healing blemishes & acne. Also, its stimulation properties extend to hair cells & re-growth – a good tip is to apply it as a final hair rinse, which apart from helping to relieve itchy scalps, will also result in beautiful shining & fragrant hair.
Mythology & Uses throughout the Ages:
To start, throughout the ages Rosemary has been known to symbolize remembrance, and to a lesser degree, as the herb of love. This goes right back to the ancient Egyptians who, it is thought, used to lay Rosemary at burial sites to remember the dead. However, I have also found a less romantic explanation for its use at ancient burials – that the strong, pleasing aromatic scent of Rosemary was used to provide relief from the odor of decomposition!
For now, sticking with the more romantic “remembrance” theme! Greek scholars were known to twine rosemary in their hair when studying for exams in the hope of aiding their memories. The “remembrance” association also appears a number of times in Shakespeare; in Hamlet, Ophelia once said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember” and in Romeo & Juliet, Friar Lawrence references how it was used in funerals, on Juliet’s death saying “Dry up your tears, and stick your Rosemary, on this fair corse”
With regards to the love association with this herb, in the middle ages, young girls would use Rosemary in rituals to discover their future husbands. Supposedly, on finding said husband, brides would wear a Rosemary headpiece on their wedding day – representing faithfulness, love, abiding friendship and remembrance of the life the woman had led prior to her marriage. The newly weds would then plant a branch of Rosemary on their wedding day, and if it grew it would be an omen of good luck. Linked to the marriage theme, is this wise proverb “Where rosemary flourishes the lady rules.” However, the tale warns men that by simply damaging or destroying that same rosemary, he will not find relief from his lady’s rule. A saying to live by 😊
Rosemary also is widely associated throughout history & across countries, for its medicinal values. In France, Rosemary represents the power of rekindling lost energy. It seems that the French were the first to use Rosemary in hospitals and burnt it during epidemics to purify the air & prevent infection. Rosemary was also believed to offer protection from the plague. Its use was so prevalent during the bubonic plague of 1603, which killed over 38,000 Londoners, that its price increased from one shilling for an armful of branches to six shillings for a handful; at the time an entire ‘fat pig’ could be bought for 1 shilling!
So that’s my exploration of Rosemary and all its uses, a versatile herb who’s essential oil is ranked up with Lavender, Tea Tree and Peppermint Oil as one of the most useful & therapeutic Essential Oils.
For these reasons, Rosemary Essential Oil is a favorite of mine, and is a key essential oil in my “Rocket’s Tail” essential oil blend, for moments of renewal & memory boosting and can be found in my products below:
- Aromatherapy Mist
- Bath Bombs
- Body Butter (also great used as a massage balm)
- Goat’s Milk Soap
- Salt Soak
- Beeswax Melts