A Deeper Look at Rosemary

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. I can never walk by a rosemary plant without running my whole hand through it and breathing in its healing essence. I love it for its stimulating and joy-inducing qualities, and I always have it around the house. It’s an herb I feel is incredibly important to live in your house even if you’re not actively using it, as the living plant emanates these properties (a cornerstone of plant-spirit medicine). Known as the Rose of the Sea and the Herb of Remembrance, rosemary has a sprawling list of medicinal properties.

It’s great for general health, digestion, provides strong antibacterial & anti-fungal properties and is a potent antioxidant. One of its specialties lies in its work as a circulatory stimulant, particularly to the brain, as it holds wonderful antidepressant properties, relieves headaches and helps with memory and general wakefulness. For this benefit, making a strong cup of rosemary tea (recipe below) or using the essential oils around the neck and temples is especially effective.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herb is used to warm the spirit and open and brighten the mind.

It can be used to treat the whole-body system by ingesting it, or it can be used topically on a specific area. Rosemary is a rubefacient, meaning that when applied to small areas of the body, it increases circulation in that targeted spot. Internally, this plant is great addition to your herbal repertoire for cold and flu season as it has an affinity for the lungs and bronchial pathways. Rosemary has a potent ability to reduce systemic aches, especially when connected to psychological tension. Its mind-calming, anti-depression and anti-tension factors are all integrated in helping with physical ailments. It also stimulates the liver and, with its circulatory stimulant properties, helps boost metabolism and relieve the symptoms of sluggish circulation (think cold hands and cold feet making it a great addition to foot lotion). When applied topically as an essential oil, it treats a range of sprains, strains, arthritis and swollen joints but it shines for neuralgia or nerve-based pain relief, making it a perfect addition to a massage or treatment oil for sciatica. Inhaling the essential oil is also helpful for asthma and soothing nasal pathways.

Rosemary oil is not recommended during the first four months of pregnancy or for anyone who has experienced complications during pregnancy.

Around the house, this kitchen mainstay makes a great natural preservative! You can buy oleoresin which is premade, or you can add it dried or fresh to your own home recipes for cooking or canning. If you live in a temperate location it’s an excellent choice to have by the front door/entryway as your plant guardian, protecting and blessing those coming and going. Even though it’s a very robust and stimulating herb, it’s can be sensitive in the way it grows and responds to its environment (at least in Colorado). Here I must really pay attention to it, care for it and not take it for granted in any way.

Hot Tips

Mind-Brightening Tea

Combine peppermint, rosemary, and ginkgo (which perks up brain in a non-caffeinated way). Cover in hot water and let steep five minutes. Strain and drink it hot, or simply let it cool naturally with the herbs to room temperature, strain and pour over ice. This blend is also nice when added to green tea for an extra boost. Great in the morning if you don’t drink caffeine or when you hit an afternoon slump.

Hair Treatment

Topically, rosemary is an excellent treatment for the scalp and hair–it keeps dark hair dark, prevents greys and treats itchy scalp, while also stimulating the scalp and hair growth. For a DIY hair rinse, make a strong brew of rosemary tea and keep it in the shower. Only make enough for 3-4 days since this is a natural homemade product without preservatives. Wash hair, rinse shampoo out, then pour rosemary tea in and let sit for several minutes (this can be while conditioner is being applied). Rinse out.

Midday Pick-me-up

Rosemary essential oil is wonderful for uplifting and stimulating the mind and reducing brain fog, and can be particularly beneficial if you spend long hours working on the computer. Apply several dots to your temple, neck or wrists and inhale for an invigorating refresher. Always be sure to breathe essential oils through the nose.

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