Rosemary is an aromatic herb that grows on a small evergreen shrub. It belongs to the Labiatae family along with mint, oregano, lavender, basil, and thyme. Rosemary leaves have a deep green color on the top and silver-white color on the underside. They look like flat pine-tree needles. Its notable flavor and exceptional health benefits make it an indispensable herb for each kitchen.
Health Benefits of Rosemary
The plant has been hailed since ancient times for its incredible medical properties. It was traditionally used to help boost circulatory and immune system, alleviate muscle pain, promote hair growth, and improve memory. The possible rosemary health benefits, include:
- Boost Memory
One of the initial documented or reported uses of rosemary for wellbeing was as a cognitive stimulant. It was thought to help to increase focus and intelligence and improve memory. While many of those statements are still being studied and researched, its effects on the brain do show an increase in memory retention; keeping your mind active will help to keep it young 1 . Additionally, rosemary has been associated to stimulating cognitive activities in the elderly, as well as people suffering from more acute cognitive disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s 2 . This is a thrilling alternative or supplement to more contemporary treatments for these as yet uncured health conditions.
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- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Possibly the most significant function of this plant is as an anti-inflammatory agent in our bodies. Carnosic and Carnosol acid are 2 powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds found in rosemary that has been associated with reducing inflammation of blood vessels, joints, and muscles. This makes rosemary an effective remedy for numerous ailments, including arthritis, gout, blood pressure, and injuries sustained during surgery or physical exertion 3 . Rosemary is effective in topical and oral form for these anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, the decrease in inflammation in the cardiovascular system can help to prevent atherosclerosis from appearing and boost heart health.
- Antibacterial Qualities
While the common immune boosting properties of rosemary are remarkable enough, it’s specifically potent against bacterial infections, especially those in the stomach. H. pylori bacteria is a really dangerous pathogen, and the most common reason for stomach ulcers, however, rosemary has been proven to prevent its growth when eaten. Likewise, rosemary is associated with preventing Staph infections – responsible for the death of numerous people each year 4 .
- Boost The Immune System
The active components in this aromatic herb are anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antioxidant in nature. This represents a 3-pronged attack against various diseases and pathogens that can or damage the integrity of the body or threaten the immune system 5 . Antioxidant compounds create a secondary line of protection behind the body’s own immune system, and this herb contains a great amount of those powerful compounds, including caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, carnosol, and betulin acid.
- Relieve Stress and Improve Mood
The aroma of rosemary alone has been associated with clearing the mind, relieving stress, and improving mood in those with stress hormone imbalances or chronic anxiety 6 . When the herb is applied topically or consumed it have similar effects. Rosemary essential oil has an important place in the aromatherapy. However, the concentration of active components is not necessary to have positive effects on mood and stress.
- Fight Bad Breath
As a natural antibacterial agent, this herb works as a magnificent breath freshener that improves the oral health, too 7 . Simply steep a few rosemary leaves in a cup of lukewarm water and swish or gargle the water in your mouth to remove bacteria and give you naturally clean and fresh breath all night!
- Stimulate Blood Flow
This plant acts as a stimulant for the body and boosts the blood flow and production of red blood cells. This helps to oxygenate areas of the body and vital organ systems, ensuring that the metabolic activity in those parts are running smoothly, as well as stimulating the movement of nutrients to cells that need repair.
- Treat Digestive Problems
Rosemary has traditionally been used by many cultures as a natural remedy for bloating, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomachs, and everything in between. Its stimulant and anti-inflammatory effects are largely the reason for these effects, so adding some rosemary leaves to your weekly diet can rapidly help you regulate your gastrointestinal system and your bowel movements.
- Reduce Pain
As an analgesic substance, this herb has been topically applied in a salve or paste for thousands of years to the affected area of the pain. When consumed, rosemary acts as a pain reliever for headaches and migraines. Simply smelling the scent of rosemary or applying a decoction to the temples, has been related to reducing the severity of migraine symptoms.
- Skin Health
Rosemary has fantastic anti-aging properties. The essential oil of rosemary, as well as its leaves, can heal many skin problems and improve the appearance of the skin.
- Detoxify the Body
This pungent herb is slightly diuretic in nature, which means it can help flush out toxins more efficiently through urination. In terms of the specific organ it benefits, rosemary has been related to lower cirrhosis levels and a faster curing time of the liver- that is one of the slowest organs to cure.
How to select rosemary?
Rosemary is commonly grown as a garden plant so that its fresh leaves could readily be available for usage.
If you need to buy from the local grocery, choose fresh rosemary over the dry form of the herb – because it has a subtle flavor and it’s better in quality. Fresh leaves should be free from yellowing and spots. Dried rosemary is pretty pungent in flavor favored principally in meat dishes.
How to store rosemary?
Store the fresh rosemary in the fridge inside plastic bags. Keep the dried rosemary in an airtight container and put in a cool, dark, and dry area where it will keep fresh for a long time.
Wash fresh leaves in running water to remove dirt or any pesticide residues. To keep the scent and flavor intact, rosemary is usually added to cooking recipes at the last moments, because prolonged cooking will result in the evaporation of the essential oils.
Here are some serving tips:
- Rosemary goes well with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchinis, potato. Finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves are commonly used in the preparation of tasty sautéed rosemary potatoes.
- The herb is used to flavor in soups, salads, meat dishes, and baked vegetables.
- Dried or fresh rosemary leaves are part of Mediterranean culinary, employed in the preparation of various recipes.
- Rosemary tea is very popular drink in Mediterranean region.
Rosemary is generally safe when taken in normal, low doses. But, extremely large doses could trigger the following side effects (even though very rare): spasms, vomiting, pulmonary edema (liquid in the lungs), coma.
High doses of this herb could cause miscarriage. Thus, it is not advisable for pregnant women to take supplemental rosemary.
Looking as a little sprig from an evergreen tree the assertively pine-like scent and magnificent smell and strong flavor of rosemary goes a long way to flavor to lamb, tuna, chicken, salmon, and pork dishes as well as many sauces and soups. As an evergreen, this herb is available throughout the year. The unique aroma of rosemary is usually associated with great times and good food, especially in Italy where is very appreciated and used for cooking. However, it can just as easily be associated with great health.
This plant contains substances that are beneficial for increasing circulation, stimulating the immune system, and improving digestion. It also contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which make it suitable for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. Moreover, rosemary has been found to increase the blood flow to the brain and head, improving concentration. Hence, the next time you enrich the flavor of some delicious dish with this remarkable herb, congratulate yourself for a delicious as well as wise choice.