The rosemary herb has fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers.
Derived from the Latin word ros ‘dew’ and marinus ‘sea’, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) means ‘dew of the sea’. It is a perennial herb grown in many parts of the world for its multiple medicinal, aromatic and cosmetic properties.
Archaeologists and anthropologists have found evidence that rosemary herbs were used for medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic purposes in ancient Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, and India. In ancient Rome and Greece, rosemary was believed to strengthen the memory which accounts for it being known as the herb of remembrance and fidelity. Rosemary was also an essential part of the apothecary’s repertoire during the Renaissance period. Elizabethan sweethearts carried a twig of rosemary and is still used in bridal bouquets in England and Germany until today. The leaf of rosemary is an indispensable flavoring agent and spice of the French, Italian and Spanish cuisine.
The plant is very rich in polyphenols and flavonoids with high antioxidant properties is used for problems involving the central nervous system, cardio vascular system, liver treatments, and respiratory systems among many others. Rosemary leaves have been traditionally used to treat a variety of conditions including dyspepsia, headache and nervous tension.
Based on obtained scientific results, volatiles from the plant induced apoptosis at cytotoxic concentrations and indicate that consumption of the natural compounds might be valuable in the prevention of lifestyle diseases.
The herb is mainly produced in Spain, France, Portugal, Egypt, Germany, Romania, England, Russia, and the Balkans
Rosemary oil is obtained by steam distillation of the fresh leaves and flowering tops of the plant. It is a colorless to pale yellow liquid having the characteristic odor of the herb and camphoraceous taste. The volatile oil consists of borneol, camphene, bornyl acetate, cineol, pinene and camphor.
Uses for Rosemary Essential Oils
The market demand of the plant is growing, as it is used in several commercially available products in the cosmetics and medical industry.
Externally, it can be used to treat bites, stings.
In aromatherapy, the essential oil is used as a decongestant and as an inhalant for exhaustion, headaches, loss of concentration, and memory loss. It also has a reviving effect when tired or lethargic. The essential oil also improves the blood-circulation of the limbs, has anti-rheumatic effect and relieves neuralgic pains.
Besides its therapeutic application, the essential oil is also widely utilized in the cosmetic industry. The oil is infused in creams, ointments, cologne waters, bathing essences, shampoos, and soaps.
Health Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oils
Results of relevant studies show that there are biologically active compounds in rosemary essential oils that exhibit cytotoxic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and cognition-enhancing properties depending on their type and concentration. They also have the potential to influence glucose levels in diabetic patients and enhance bone resorption.