Rosemary

Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis

What is Rosemary?
The name rosemary derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, which is thought to mean “dew of the sea.” Rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and flowers variable in color, including white, pink, purple, or blue. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region. The fresh and dried leaves have a distinctive bitter, astringent taste and are used frequently as culinary herbs. Since rosemary is attractive and tolerates some degree of drought, it is also used in landscaping, especially in areas with a Mediterranean climate. It is very pest resistant.

What are the health benefits of Rosemary?
Rosemary has been found to be a stimulant, disinfectant, and mild analgesic. It has been used to treat headaches and poor circulation. In addition, rosemary is a circulatory stimulant that has been shown to increase coronary blood flow, and is useful in treatment of blood pressure problems. Externally, it can be used in hair lotions; a few drops of rosemary oil massaged into the scalp, then rinsed with an infusion of nettles, can revitalize the hair. Used in this manner, it can prevent premature baldness.

Are there any precautions for taking Rosemary?
In some cases, rosemary has been shown to cause autoimmune diseases. Rosemary in culinary or therapeutic doses is generally safe, however precaution is necessary for those displaying allergic reaction, or those prone to epileptic seizure. Rosemary essential oil is a powerful convulsant; if applied to the skin, it may cause seizures in otherwise healthy adults or children. Rosemary essential oil is potentially toxic if ingested. Large quantities of rosemary leaves can cause adverse reactions, such as coma, spasm, vomiting, and pulmonary edema that can be fatal. Avoid consuming large quantities of rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Where can I find Rosemary?

Rosemary can be found in grocery stores and health food stores and online through herb suppliers. Fresh rosemary can sometimes be found at outdoor markets.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.