Herb Reference Guide

Rosemary

History

Here we have another very popular member of the mint family. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean regions near modern Greece. Poets, and physicians from antiquity through the present day have lauded Rosemary. The name derives from the Latin for "Dew" (ros) and "Sea" (marinus). It can indeed survive with just the sea mist and ambient humidity in its native range. It has been long associated with memory, youth, fertility, romance, and was even thought to protect people from the plague. In 1603, when bubonic plague killed 38,000 Londoners, the demand for this plant was so high that the price increased from one shilling for an armful to six shillings for a handful. At that time you could buy 18 gallons of ale for 3 shillings. In Christian Mythology, The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the ‘Rose of Mary’. The culinary uses are many and it was also used as a preservative for meat prior to refrigeration along with Oregano and Thyme.

Function

Rosemary is a very chemically complex plant, and one that is loaded with antioxidants. Most antioxidants support a healthy inflammatory response, and so this seems to be the case with Rosemary. To obtain high amounts of these antioxidants without having to use harsh solvents like acetone or hexane, Rosemary leaf is put through a supercritical carbon dioxide extraction process. This method helps to maintain the integrity of the base constituents of the oil and produces a highly concentrated finished product. Rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and labiatic acid, all constituents of the rosemary plant are commonly used as a natural preservatives in the food industry in place of BHT and BHA. It seems that the ancient people who used it to preserve their meats were on to something. Rosemary also encourages healthy digestion and supports liver health. Rosemary has also been used in conjunction with Feverfew in support for occasional headaches. Because of its potent antioxidant properties, Rosemary and its various constituents have been the focus of numerous scientific studies and clinical trials. See the resources and references for further information. (copy and paste the references into your favorite internet search tool)

Uses of Rosemary

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

1,8-cineole, acetic acid, camphor, carnosol, carvacrol, carvone, caryophyllene, chlorogenic acid, geraniol, hesperidin, limonene, luteolin, rosmarinic acid, and salicylates.

Parts Used

  • Leaf-Super Critical Extract

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

Christine Tschiggerl, Franz Bucar
Sci Pharm. 2010 September 30; 78(3): 483–492. Published online 2010 June 16. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1004-23

Il-Suk Kim, Mi-Ra Yang, Ok-Hwan Lee, Suk-Nam Kang
Int J Mol Sci. 2011; 12(6): 4120–4131. Published online 2011 June 21. doi: 10.3390/ijms12064120

Christine M. Kaefer, John A. Milner
J Nutr Biochem. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 November 2.
Published in final edited form as: J Nutr Biochem. 2008 June; 19(6): 347–361. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2007.11.003