I’ve always liked Rosemary – the name that is, mainly because it’s my mother’s and daughter’s middle name. But NOW, the more I’ve come to know this green, I don’t just like rosemary I absolutely LOVE it! It’s such a remarkable herb!
Rosemary’s Days of Yore
To understand how this green has come to have an important place among our favorite herbs, let’s start with a quick look back at how it came to be appreciated in our culture.
rosemary wedding tiaraIn the Middle Ages, believing rosemary was a gift from Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, it was customary for a bride to wear a tiara designed with rosemary as a symbol of their fidelity. The groom welcomed guests by offering a sprig of rosemary. Wouldn’t that make the wedding celebration smell heavenly?!
Here’s something else I didn’t know – rosemary symbolizes remembrance and to this day is commonly used at weddings, funerals and war commemorations. Christians called rosemary the “Holy Herb” and associated it with Mary, who, according to Spanish legend, draped her cloak over a Rosemary bush on the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, turning the colour of the blossoms from white to blue.
Rosemary derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, which is from “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea” because in many locations it needs no other water than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live (I LOVE learning the origins of words)!
As the name suggests, it can be easily cultivated. The plant is propagated by clipping a shoot of around 6 inches, strip it of a few leaves and plant directly into the soil. In a few days a healthy off-shoot appears. Even I could do that!!
When it matures, rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, needle-like foliage and delicate flowers. The plant bears flowers in spring and winter, ranging in hues of white, blue, purple or pink and they grow upright or creep. It is native to the Mediterranean region, Portugal and Spain.
The Many Health Benefits of Rosemary
Rosemary can be used both as a fresh green, a dried herb, an extract, and as a tea. If you intend to use rosemary for medicinal purposes, I’d recommend doing further personal research first. FYI, in researching for this article I read a blog written by a man who was having problems remembering where he put his keys/glasses, etc. He realized that after a few weeks of eating rosemary his memory was vastly improved!
Food for thought! (literally!)
Rosemary – the Herb:
- is high in iron, calcium, and vitamin B6
- contains two important ingredients – caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid – both of which are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that may shield the brain from free radicals, lowering the risk of strokes and diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS
- reduces inflammation (inflammation is associated with contributing to asthma, liver disease and heart disease)
- is a rich source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) a potent antioxidant, which contributes to its free radical fighting powers further still
- helps prevent breast cancer by blocking estrogen
- prevents age-related skin damage
- boosts the functioning of the liver and acts as a mild diuretic to help reduce swelling
- helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and to ease cramps
- helps to lower blood sugar and raise blood pressure
- treats migraines
- stimulates the sexual organs (mmmm, THAT’S worth checking out!)
- stimulates the appetite
- soothes aching muscles and joints and eases arthritis pain when oil or freshly cut sprigs are added to bath water
More information on rosemary tea http://www.rosemarytea.org/
http://www.rosemarytea.org/Migraines/ rosemary tea benefits to migraine
http://www.rosemarytea.org/Hair-Loss/ rosemary tea and hair loss
http://www.rosemarytea.org/Cancer-Prevention/ rosemary tea for cancer prevention