They say nature is the art of God and I say rosemary is a gift of nature. Thomas More once said that he let rosemary run throughout his garden walls for the bees and because “it is the herb sacred to remembrance and friendship.” One thing is for sure, I cannot describe the awesomeness of rosemary in a word or phrase. The esteemed nature’s gift fascinates me in a thousand and one ways. From the divine, refreshing herbal aroma to the piney-flavor and complex nature, it delights my spirit like the scent of rain on dry ground.
The allure and mystery of rosemary dates back to the days of the Biblical legends. There are several interesting stories that revolve around the history of the herb. It is widely believed that the blossoms of rosemary were originally white. However, their color transformed into blue when Virgin Mary sundried her blue cloak on the springs of a rosemary plant. However, white flowered species do exist but they are uncommon. Rosemary also goes by the name rose of the sea probably because of its glorious life on the sea shores. Rosemary’s love for the sea shore is unwavering. That is the only place you will see the plant in its most blissful state. In fact, when its Latin name-Rosmarinus Officinallis – is translated into English, it means dew-of-the -sea.
Traditionally, rosemary stands for remembrance, friendship and love. In some cases, it is associated with pureness and righteousness. The English have a traditional custom that signifies the place of rosemary in love and friendship. They believe that a bride can cement everlasting loyalty, love and wisdom with his bridegroom if he gives her a spring of rosemary in the early beam of their big day.
In the medieval times, the Romans used rosemary in their burial rituals. Springs of rosemary were tossed into the grave of the deceased to signify love and remembrance. The practice was carried forward to other historic times but it is unclear if it is still practiced these days. Rosemary was also used to treat plagues and memory problems.
The Rosemary Plant
Rosemary is commonly grown in Europe and South Africa. It is an evergreen shrubby herb that grows to an average height ranging between 1-2 m. It has a camphoraceous undertone and a refreshing aroma. The bark of the rosemary slender branches is scaly and has a shy shade. The leaves appear on the branches in a linear pattern and their texture is thick and leathery. They have a dark green shade. Rosemary blooms in different shades of blue. The rosemary plant is highly adaptive and it does well in places with relatively high temperatures. Interestingly, its ability to tolerate frost is unbeatable.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Essential oil is obtained from the springs and blossoms (flowering tops) of rosemary through distillation. The contents are harvested during bloom. Accordingly, mechanical harvesting is highly encouraged.
The rosemary plant is among the herbs that are highly recognized because of their therapeutic potential. Rosemary essential oil is a biologically active constituent that is associated with antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Accordingly, the oil is commonly used to treat asthma, cold, rheumatism, fever, just to mention a few.
Rosemary oil has three major constituents that are known as 1,8-cineole, camphor and alpha-pinene. However, the total number of the constituents found in rosemary oil is thirty seven. Myrcene, limonene, camphene, borneol, and bornyl acetate are other major compounds that make up the chemical composition of rosemary oil.
Beauty Benefits of Rosemary essential oil
Rosemary is rich in components that lead to hair nourishment and restoration: Its additive, antiseptic, tonic and antimicrobial properties are associated with its popularity as a hair conditioner in the Mediterranean region. Rosemary is used to enhance hair growth. Firstly, direct application of diluted rosemary oil into the hair and scalp promotes hair growth. The components found in rosemary penetrate into the hair follicles thereby leading to increased circulation of blood in the scalp. Rosemary can also be used together with essential oils such as lemon, lavender and geranium to encourage hair growth.
Treats hair loss and related issues: Hair loss is a common problem among men and women. Age, breastfeeding, pregnancy, hair care routine, medical conditions, diet, and lifestyle are some of its main causes. Rosemary oil controls hair loss by stimulating new growth. If you are experiencing increased hair loss, mix rosemary oil with cedar wood and grape seed oil. Apply the mixture on your hair and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off. Repeat the procedure daily for several weeks and you will notice change.
Reduces hair frizziness: Rosemary is mixed with a variety of hair oils to make a blend that reduces hair frizziness. The bend is used a hot oil hair mask. Mix a few drops of lavender and rosemary oil. Use castor oil as your carrier oil. Warm the mixture and massage it on your hair and scalp gently. Leave it on for about an hour and rinse it off with warm water or shampoo. Repeat the procedure twice a week for significant results.
Treats dandruff and other scalp problems: Rosemary oil is an effective remedy for scalp dryness and dandruff. It works more effectively when used together with other essential oils that serve the same purpose. Use it together with tea tree or basil.
Rosemary oil is linked to numerous skin benefits. Most of them are attributed to its antioxidant and antiseptic properties.
Used for skin nourishment and rejuvenation: Rosemary is known for stimulating blood circulation. Accordingly, when applied on the skin, it enhances softness and flawlessness. In addition, it reduces the visibility of wrinkles and pimples. When applied around the eye area, it reduces the appearance of dark circles. Rosemary oil can be added to the various products that are used in facial routines. For example, you can add it to your facial mask or moisturizer.
Removes acne and acne scars: Rosemary oil is associated with anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it used to treat acne pimples and the marks they leave behind. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when excess oils clog the skin pores. Add a few drops of rosemary oil to a carrier oil of your choice and use the mixture to massage the affected areas gently. Rosemary can also be used to treat psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.
Reduces the appearance of stretchmarks: Stretch marks are unattractive and they can lower the confidence and esteem of the affected person. Rosemary is among the natural treatments that are used to eliminate stretch marks successfully. Mix a few drops of rosemary with wheat germ oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil. Apply and massage the mixture on the affected areas daily. Although the stretch marks might take time to disappear, eventually, they fade away completely.
Eliminates cellulite: Rosemary is a very effective remedy for cellulite. Firstly, it is important to note that it is an antioxidant. Accordingly, its application facilitates the elimination of toxins from the body. Secondly, it facilitates blood circulation when applied on the skin surface. Mix a few drops of rosemary oil with almond or olive oil and massage the affected areas with the mixture. Repeat the procedure daily until you achieve your desired results.
Other Benefits and Uses
Food preservation: Rosemary is used to preserve food because of its anti-oxidant properties. The quality of food degrades rapidly and traditionally, people are accustomed to using synthetic additives. However, in the recent times in natural additives has grown substantially. Rosemary oil and extracts are well known for their antioxidant activity. Rosemary contains phenolic compounds with an activity level that can only be compared to that of synthetic phenolic antioxidants.
Relieves stress and anxiety: During stress, the body release a hormone known as cortisol. Inhalation of rosemary regulates the level of cortisol in the body.
Reduces bad breath: The refreshing aroma of rosemary is very effective against bad breath. There people who suffer from bad breath even after brushing their teeth. Chewing a few leaves of rosemary improves the breath significantly.
Boosts the immune system: The antioxidants found in rosemary fight against a variety of diseases and infections. Regular consumption and inhalation of rosemary and its oil strengthens the immune system.
Treats respiratory health conditions. The aroma of rosemary and its extracts provides relief from colds, flu, and asthma and throat problems.
The Dos and Don’ts of Rosemary Essential Oil
Ensure that you buy your oil from a reputable supplier for safety reasons
Rosemary oil is not recommended for children below the age of five
Rosemary oil should not be used by people suffering from high blood pressure
Do not use rosemary oil when you are planning to sleep.
Avoid rosemary oil during pregnancy
Sensitization can occur if rosemary oil is used continuously for more than 3 months
Rosemary oil is not recommended for people who suffer from epilepsy
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Moreno, S., Sana, A. M. O., Gaya, M., Barni, M. V., Castro, O. A., & van Baren, C. (2012). Rosemary compounds as nutraceutical health products. In Food Additive. InTech.
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