I have some rosemary growing in my garden, but besides using it in roasts, what is it good for?

Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs to use both culinary and medicinally.  It grows so well in my garden and is one of my pride and joys! Lately, Rosemary has been spoken about in the media with trials now confirming that the essential oil is now proven to boost memory. The memory enhancing qualities of Rosemary is probably one of the more commonly known attributes. I remember sniffing on a tissue with Rosemary drops during my Leaving Cert! 

But her attributes doesn’t stop there. Rosmarinus officinalis is from the Mint family. We use her leaves and twigs.  Leaves can be gathered throughout the summer, but are best when she’s in flower. The medicinal components that we use are the essential/volatile oils, bitter principles, flavonoids, tannins and resins.  

It’s the bitter principles that aid the livers capacity to detox and to stimulate the flow of bile which aids in the digestion of fats. This is why it would be traditionally used with roast lamb. It has a toning and calming effect on the stomach, and works especially well when the stomach upset is accompanied by psychological tension.

For cold depressive states, Rosemary can act as a warm circulatory stimulant and can also be used for headaches and migraines.  It’s a cerebral circulatory stimulant, and will promote the blood flow to the head to ease any stagnation.  It helps maintain the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the memory centre of the brain.

I find it very useful in convalescing states, where we need to increase the strength in circulation and the nervous system. After a period of stress, it’s also useful to regain focus and reinvigorate the system.

Externally it can ease muscular pain, sciatica and neuralgia. Traditionally it would have been used as a wound herb with its antiseptic properties, and be applied as a poultice. It’s a good choice for clearing the space and can be used a smudge stick or diffused through the air as an essential oil.

We can make a cup of fresh Rosemary tea, and drink 3 cups per day. This can act as a great remedy at the onset of the cold, and to dispel mucus.  I make a Rosemary vinegar and use it as a digestive tonic and in clinic I use it as a tincture, where it is blended with other herbs to suit the individual.

Use with caution in pregnancy as it has a moderately stimulating effect on the uterus, but it is safe to use in cooking.  Consult your herbalist if you need advice, or contact me