Rosemary is a flavorful, easy-to-grow herb native to the Mediterranean. It has a strong woodsy flavor that can be slightly bitter and astringent, meaning it can overpower other ingredients if not used sparingly, and is a common ingredient in savory meat and poultry dishes. In addition to its culinary applications, Rosemary has long been used for healing purposes in folk medicine and ayurvedic practice. 1
Health Benefits of Rosemary
Keeps Your Mind Sharp
Studies show that rosemary can increase the cognitive function of older adults. 2 More research needs to be conducted, but consuming rosemary may help to prevent memory loss and slow the deterioration of cognitive function as we age.
Rosemary has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are due to the fact that rosemary contains the compounds rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid.3, 4 Increased consumption of antioxidants helps protect the body against chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. 5
Multiple studies have shown that the compounds in rosemary, whether consumed orally or inhaled through aromatherapy, can help to reduce feelings of stress and increase calmness. 6 7 Adding a regular cup of rosemary tea to your routine or scenting your workspace with rosemary essential oils are simple ways to decrease feelings of stress in your daily life.
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have high blood pressure should avoid consuming large amounts of rosemary.
How to Use Rosemary
Add it to Savory Dishes
Rosemary makes a delicious addition to most savory dishes. Try adding it to marinades for meat and poultry, sprinkle it on vegetables before roasting them, and use it to add flavor to your favorite sauces.
Add it to Sweet Dishes
Rosemary can add a satisfying fresh flavor to desserts as well as to savory dishes. Add a bit of fresh rosemary to fruit pies, use it to garnish gelato and other frozen desserts, or infuse honey with rosemary and use it in your favorite sweet recipe.
Inhaling the scent of rosemary can help to clear your mind and improve mental focus because it decreases drowsiness, stimulates brain activity, and boosts mood. 8 When you need a little help focusing, such as while you work or study, try adding a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a diffuser or apply essential oil blended with a carrier oil directly to your skin on pulse points such as the temples, the insides of your wrists, and the balls of your feet.
Use a sprig of rosemary as a garnish in your favorite cocktail or mocktail. Rosemary is especially complementary to tart beverages like lemonade, cranberry or grapefruit juice, or add it to warm beverages like apple cider or mulled wine for a festive flavor during the colder months.
Brew a Tea
Add fresh or dried rosemary leaves to a tea infuser, add boiling water, and allow the tea to brew for at least 5 minutes. Add a sweetener if desired. Some people prefer to blend rosemary with other herbs, such as mint or lemon balm, to create a tea customized to their tastes.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the healing capacity of food and other natural health practices, naturopathic medicine may be a good fit for you.