Yesterday, I bought several herb plants to start an herb garden at my new home. I’m looking forward to growing rosemary as I was unable to successfully do when I lived in northern Utah. It was just too cold, and the plants would die over the winter. Rosemary thrives in this area, however. Before long, I’ll be harvesting my own rosemary. I plan to make some roast chicken with the fresh herb (yummy).
A native of southern Europe, rosemary has been prized as a seasoning and healing herb since antiquity. One of the major benefits ascribed to it traditionally is an ability to improve memory. It was given also as a token of fidelity between lovers, and is mentioned in one of Shakespeare’s plays for both of these reasons. Hamlet tells Ophelia, “Here’s rosemary for remembrance…I pray you love, remember.”
Rosemary does improve blood flow to the brain, which is partly why it helps with memory and concentration. It is also a powerful antioxidant, so it protects the brain and nervous tissue from free radical damage. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary have attracted the attention of modern researchers as the role of oxidative stress and inflammation in the development of degenerative diseases has come to the forefront. Rosemary contains several compounds that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, including a variety of flavonoids, and phenols such as rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid. Because of its antioxidant properties, rosemary is an ingredient in NSP’s Grapine with Protectors formula.
Rosemary is a remedy for the head in other ways, too. It raises blood pressure and improves blood flow to the head to relieve vasoconstrictive headaches, including some migraines. It has also been used to help fainting and weakness due to low blood pressure and poor blood flow to the brain.
Rosemary has also been used both internally and topically to stimulate circulation to the scalp and encourage hair growth. This is why it is found in the HSN-W and HSN Complex formulas for encouraging healthy hair, skin and nails.
Another traditional use for rosemary is as a digestive tonic for weak digestion. It has a carminative effect that relieves gas and stimulates digestive secretions. It is also helpful for the liver and gallbladder. It improves fat digestion, allays nausea and enhances the activity of two liver enzymes (GSH-transferase and NAD(P)H-quinone reductase).
NSP offers rosemary as an essential oil. The oil of rosemary is valuable for respiratory problems, helping conditions like the common cold, catarrh, asthma and sinusitis. It is also used topically as an analgesic to relieve pain in rheumatism, arthritis and tired, stiff or overworked muscles. Like the herb, rosemary essential oil stimulates blood circulation, improving low blood pressure and helping relieve cold feet, tired or weak legs and circulatory problems in the extremities. In the digestive area, it helps to relieve dyspepsia, flatulence and abdominal distention. The essential oil is also found in two blends, Breathe Free and Cellu-Tone.
Emotionally, both the flower essence and essential oil of rosemary help clarify the mind, bringing presence, focus and warmth to a person.
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier
Herbal Therapy and Supplements by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston
Flower Power by Anne McIntyre
Flower Essence Repetory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz
PDR for Herbal Medicines by Medical Economics Company