December Herb of the Month- Rosemary

Rosemary- Rosmarinus officinalis According to folk legend, smelling rosemary on Christmas eve will bring happiness for the coming year. Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance, friendship and fidelity, still used in European weddings and funerals. Rosemary branches were burned to purify the air, ward off evil, illness and the Plague since ancient times. Its aromatic, needle-like leaves are a culinary favorite in Mediterranean dishes and Herbes de Provence seasoning.

Today’s common uses: Rosemary is one of nature’s best antioxidant sources to fight free radical damage; great for cardiac health, with anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol activity. Its antioxidants can provide a shield against carcinogens, preventing cancer causing chemicals from binding to DNA. Its antioxidants help prevent free radical damage to delicate brain tissue. Rosemary is a powerful nerve and brain stimulant. It uplifts your spirits, boosts energy, and sharpens mental focus. It specifically improves memory lapses and menopausal “brain fog,” and counteracts the effects of aging. Rosemary stimulates hair follicle growth and strengthens hair. Rosemary rinses especially add luster, retain hair color, reduce hair loss.

Traditional Herbal Medicine uses: Rosemary has been used for centuries to enhance memory and soothe digestive problems. In ancient Greece and Rome, students dabbed oil on their foreheads or wore rosemary garlands or sprigs in their hair to strengthen memory and boost energy during exams. Shakespeare’ Hamlet refers to “rosemary for remembrance.” Used in many folk remedies for colds, coughs, headaches, heart problems, rheumatic pain, indigestion, gas, muscle and back pain.

Key compounds: Flavonoids, rosmarinic acid, volatile oil, calcium, borneol, camphor, eucalyptol. Gentle, non-invasive, rich antioxidant proanthocyanidins promote healthy veins, arteries and capillaries. Modern research reveals its antioxidants and other compounds help prevent breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, a key brain chemical for memory.

Common doses: You don’t have to heap on the rosemary. Less than a teaspoon, even added to food or wine, has powerful benefits. For dandruff massage a strong rosemary and nettle tea into hair nightly. Wrap hair in a cap and rinse out in the morning. Hair will look and feel squeaky clean. For a conditioning hair rinse, simmer 2 to 3 tbsp. rosemary sprigs in a small pot of hot water until fragrant, let cool and pour through hair.

Safety precautions: Do not take essential rosemary oil internally, it can be toxic, even small doses. Do not take medicinal doses if pregnant or breastfeeding. Test for skin sensitivity for topical application.

Works in synergy with: 1) Depress-Ex uses rosemary with St.John’s wort, kava, lady slipper, American ginseng, ashwagandha, eleuthero rt. to ease mild depression. 2) Muscle Relaxer uses rosemary with cramp brk.,Jamaican dogwood, black haw, kava, St. john’s wort, passionflower to ease headaches, back spasms, cramps, and muscle pain. 3) Beautiful Hair & Nails uses rosemary with seaweeds, nettles, sage, horsetail, oatstraw, alfalfa for healthy hair and nails.

-Sarah