It’s hard to believe I haven’t covered rosemary yet for the Herbs & Their Uses category. One of my favorite herbs, I have some growing fresh indoors all year round. It’s easily accessible to most of us, either dried or fresh, and with so many uses it’s the perfect addition to your natural medicine cabinet.
Found: Europe; kitchen windowsills and herb gardens the world over
Identifying: Shrubby with evergreen leaves that are dark green on one side, light green on the other. Strong, rather camphoraceous smell, especially when the leaves are rubbed or pressed. Small pale blue flowers.
Parts Used: Leaves, flowers
Medicinal Uses: Often used for clearing the mind, depression, postpartum depression, nervousness, anxiety. Headaches due to stress, eyestrain; hair loss (external as an oil), weak circulation, vertigo, fainting, poor memory, headaches from weak liver function. Good for young children with head colds, ear and throat issues. Sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis. Bloating vomiting, dry heaves. Bad breath, poor appetite. Cold extremities, low or high blood pressure. Menopause and mild hot flashes. Rheumatoid arthritis. Muscles tired from exercise (use externally as an oil rub). Mental overactivity.
Preparation: Can be used as a tincture or brewed as a tea using either fresh or dried rosemary. If using fresh, pinch off the tops of several branches; I usually go about 2 inches back. Coarsely chop the leaves using a sharp knife. For either dried or fresh, place 1 tablespoon of the herb into a tea ball and bring a cup of water to almost boiling. Take water from heat, place tea ball into water (towards the top of the cup so it’s suspended if possible), and cover the water. Leave to steep anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes for medicinal use. Add honey if preferred.
Allergic Reactions/Warnings: Here I’d like to quote Matthew Wood, a favored herbalist of mine. From his book The Earthwise Herbal, he discusses a few ideas on warnings for rosemary: “High blood pressure and headaches with hot, bursting symptoms (Mailhebian). However, Juliette de Bairacli Levy (1973) recommends it for high blood pressure. The essential point is to get the constitutional type correct. Rosemary is contraindicated in full-blooded, hot sanguine persons where a stimulant would be irritating. Also observe care in nervous persons.”
Note: These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview. Consulting an herbal specialist is always recommended.