“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember.” This line from Hamlet depicts that Shakespeare, the renowned writer, knew of some of rosemary’s magical benefits.
Long after Shakespeare’s time, various studies also have confirmed many health benefits of rosemary, whether it is used in fresh, dried or oil form.
Rosemary has potent antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and disinfectant properties.
It also contains several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and C, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper.
The woodsy, citrus-like fragrance of rosemary essential oil is also found in beauty products and used in aromatherapy.
Apart from its health and beauty uses, rosemary is also a popular culinary herb. Fresh or dried rosemary can be added to soups, sandwiches, salads, dips, and even for making infused oil. Plus, rosemary tea is a popular beverage.
Here are the top 10 secret health benefits of rosemary.
1. Boosts Memory
Rosemary works as an effective cognitive stimulant, helpful for improving memory and mental focus. It is even good at increasing brain-wave activities and protecting against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
In a 2012 study published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, researchers found that exposure to rosemary aroma can improve cognitive performance and mood.
A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience also highlights the memory-boosting properties of rosemary.
- Breathe in the aroma of rosemary oil by adding a 2 or 3 drops to your handkerchief or a room diffuser.
- You can also start drinking rosemary tea made from fresh or dried leaves. To make the tea, add 1 or 1½ teaspoons of the herb to a cup of hot water, cover it and let it steep for 5 minutes.
2. Stimulates Blood Flow
Rosemary is an excellent herb for improving blood circulation. This, in turn, helps supply vital nutrients to all the vital organs and boosts metabolic activities in your body.
- Drink rosemary tea on a regular basis to promote circulation.
- If you frequently suffer from cold limbs due to poor circulation, massage the affected limbs with rosemary infused oil.
3. Fights Stress and Anxiety
The sweet aroma of rosemary is effective in clearing your mind and providing relief from stress. Its calming nature even helps relax tense muscles.
In a 2013 study published in the Scientia Pharmaceutica journal, researchers studied the effects of inhaling rosemary oil on subjective feelings and activities of the nervous system.
Researchers found that exposure to rosemary oil for about 1 hour helped the participants feel fresher and become more alert and cheerful.
To fight stress and anxiety, add a few drops of rosemary essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.
4. Alleviates Headaches
Rosemary contains analgesic as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it can help treat headaches. It can even help reduce the pain and severity of migraines.
- Simply massage your forehead and temples with a few drops of rosemary oil mixed in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.
- Even smelling its aroma may provide relief from headaches.
- For headaches associated with a cold or nasal congestion, add a few drops of rosemary oil to a tub of hot water and inhale the steam.
5. Stimulates Hair Growth
This wonderful herb also stimulates hair growth. It improves blood circulation to the scalp, which allows more nutrients to reach the hair follicles and encourage hair growth.
A 1998 study published in the Archives of Dermatology points out that rosemary aromatherapy can be used for treating alopecia areata. Furthermore, its antibacterial quality gently cleanses hair and prevents itchiness and dandruff.
- Add a handful of fresh rosemary to 2 to 3 cups of hot water and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the herb and let the liquid cool down. Use it as a hair rinse a few times a week.
- Alternatively, add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to warm olive or coconut oil and massage your scalp with it 2 or 3 times a week. You can even add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to your shampoo before washing your hair.
- Combine 4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil, ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil, 3 drops each of rosemary and drops of lavender oil, 2 drops each of thyme and cedarwood oil. Massage your scalp with this mixture. Wrap your hair with a warm towel. Leave it on overnight or for at least 40 minutes. The next morning, shampoo your hair as usual. Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
6. Reduces Inflammation
Rosemary is beneficial for reducing pain and inflammation, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
It helps relieve arthritis pain, sciatic nerve pain, gout pain, back pain and stiff neck. Due to its antispasmodic properties, this herb also helps reduce menstrual pains.
- Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a microwave for a few seconds. Mix 2 to 3 drops of rosemary oil in it. Massage the affected area with this oil for 5 minutes. Repeat 2 to 3 times daily until you get relief.
- Make 1 to 2 cups of rosemary tea, soak a washcloth in it and place it on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this a few times daily to treat muscle soreness.
7. Strengthens the Immune System
Rosemary provides you with a powerful defense against different diseases and pathogens that may adversely affect your immune system.
It contains phytochemicals like rosmarinic acid, betulic acid, carnosol and caffeic acid with antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds play an important role in neutralizing free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and cellular damage.
Drink 1 to 2 cups of rosemary tea daily to keep yourself healthy and free from the common cold, coughs and other health problems.
8. Treats Respiratory Problems
You can also use this aromatic herb to treat respiratory infections like cold and flu, sinus infection, and bronchial asthma due to its soothing, antibacterial, and antispasmodic properties. It also helps relieve bad breath.
- Mix a few drops of rosemary oil in 2 tablespoons of olive oil or any carrier oil. Massage your chest with this oil a few times a day.
- Put 2 or 3 drops of rosemary oil on a tissue and inhale the aroma to get relief from respiratory issues.
- Another option is to add a few drops of rosemary oil in a bowl of hot water and take in the steam 2 or 3 times a day.
9. Improves Digestion
Rosemary is great for your stomach as it regulates the release of bile and inhibits food-borne pathogens. Also, it stimulates appetite; treats indigestion; and relieves flatulence, bloating and constipation.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary in a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep for 5 minutes. Drink this herbal tea 2 or 3 times a day.
- To relieve constipation, you can also mix a few drops of rosemary oil in 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil and massage your abdominal area with it.
10. Backents High Blood Sugar
Diabetic people can use rosemary to regulate their blood sugar levels. Rosemary extracts can lower fasting plasma glucose and cholesterol levels, which helps manage Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry points out the anti-diabetic property of herbs like rosemary and oregano. These herbs inhibit the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase IV that promotes the secretion of insulin.
Drink a cup of rosemary tea daily. When taking this herb to control diabetes, make sure you keep monitoring your blood sugar levels. Also, keep taking your prescribed medicines as directed by your doctor.
- Avoid using rosemary essential oil during pregnancy or if you have epilepsy, hypertension or bleeding disorders.
- Do not take this herb while taking homeopathic medicines.
- Before using rosemary oil on the skin, do a patch test to rule out the possibility of an allergic reaction.
- Do not consume large amounts of rosemary, as it may cause stomach and intestinal irritation as well as kidney damage.
- Store dried rosemary in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place.