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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


    Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)

    Grow zone: 6-9

    Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an aromatic herb that has been used for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties. It is native to the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated and used worldwide. Rosemary is known for its distinct pine-like fragrance and needle-like leaves.

    When it comes to medicinal use, rosemary has a long history of being employed for various health purposes. Here are some potential health benefits and uses of rosemary:

    1. Enhancing memory and cognitive function: Rosemary has been traditionally associated with improved memory and mental clarity. Some studies suggest that certain compounds in rosemary may have cognitive-enhancing effects. Inhalation of rosemary essential oil or consumption of rosemary extract has been shown to improve memory and attention.
    2. Digestive health: Rosemary has been used to support digestive function and alleviate digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, and stomach cramps. It is believed to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and bile, which aids in the digestion of fats.
    3. Anti-inflammatory properties: Rosemary contains several anti-inflammatory compounds, including rosmarinic acid and carnosol. These compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body and potentially provide relief from conditions such as arthritis, muscle soreness, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
    4. Antioxidant activity: The antioxidants present in rosemary, such as carnosic acid and caffeic acid, help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Oxidative stress can contribute to chronic diseases and aging. By neutralizing free radicals, rosemary may support overall health and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
    5. Respiratory health: Rosemary has been traditionally used to relieve respiratory ailments. Inhaling steam infused with rosemary oil can help alleviate congestion, cough, and cold symptoms. It is also believed to have bronchodilator properties, which may help relax and open up the airways.
    6. Hair and scalp health: Rosemary oil is often used in hair care products due to its potential benefits for the scalp and hair. It may help stimulate hair growth, prevent dandruff, and improve overall scalp health. Massaging the scalp with rosemary oil or using rosemary-infused hair rinses are common practices.
    7. Mood and stress management: The aroma of rosemary is known for its uplifting and stress-relieving properties. It may help improve mood, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation. Inhalation of rosemary essential oil or using it in aromatherapy diffusers can be beneficial in this regard.

    Medicinal Effects:

    Adaptogenic (fatigue - reduce; antidepressive; stress - reduce):
    Anti-inflammatory: Alleviate inflammation throughout the body
    Antidepressive (Mental Health - Depression; Depression):
    Antioxidant: A substance such as vitamin C or E that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.
    Cognitive Function and Memory:
    Digestive health - General: Supports digestive health by promoting healthy gut bacteria and reducing symptoms of digestive disorders. When taken in various forms, such as in teas or extracts, may help soothe gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. For example: may help alleviate conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and improve overall gut function.
    Hair - Protect Moisture (Humectant; Skin - Protect Moisture):
    Humectant (Skin - protect moisture; Hair - protect moisture):
    Respiratory Health:
    Skin - protect moisture (Humectant; Hair - protect moisture):

    Here are the steps to grow and harvest rosemary:

    Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a hardy and versatile herb that can be easily grown in gardens or containers. Here’s a guide on how to grow and harvest rosemary:

    1. Choose the right location: Rosemary thrives in full sun, so select a sunny spot in your garden or a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. It prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 6 and 8.
    2. Propagation: Rosemary can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or purchased seedlings. If starting from seeds, sow them indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant the seedlings outdoors once the weather warms up. Alternatively, take stem cuttings from an existing rosemary plant and root them in a well-draining potting mix.
    3. Planting: Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of the rosemary plant. Space multiple plants at least 2 to 3 feet apart to allow for proper airflow and growth. Gently place the plant in the hole, backfill with soil, and tamp it down around the base to ensure stability.
    4. Watering: Rosemary is drought-tolerant and prefers slightly dry conditions. Water the plant deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.
    5. Pruning: Regular pruning helps maintain the shape and health of the rosemary plant. Prune after the blooming period to encourage bushier growth. Remove any dead or damaged branches and trim back about one-third of the plant’s growth. This can be done in early spring or after the last frost.
    6. Harvesting: You can start harvesting rosemary leaves once the plant is established, usually after about 3 to 4 months. Harvest in the morning when the aromatic oils are at their peak. Simply pinch or cut off the desired amount of fresh rosemary sprigs from the plant. Avoid removing more than one-third of the plant’s growth at a time to ensure its continued health.
    7. Preservation: Rosemary can be used fresh or dried for future use. To dry rosemary, hang small bunches of sprigs upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store them in airtight containers away from light and moisture.

    Rosemary is generally a low-maintenance plant, but it may require winter protection in colder climates. Consider covering the plant with a frost cloth or bringing potted rosemary indoors during the colder months.

    By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow and harvest your own fresh rosemary for culinary and medicinal purposes.

    How to use as medicine:

    Rosemary can be used as medicine in various forms, including as an essential oil, dried herb, tincture, or tea. Here are some common ways to use rosemary for medicinal purposes:

    Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has a long history of traditional use as a medicinal herb. Here are some common ways to use rosemary as medicine:

    1. Herbal Tea: Rosemary tea can be made by steeping fresh or dried rosemary leaves in hot water. This tea is often consumed for its potential digestive benefits and as a general tonic. It may also have mild calming effects. Steep a teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes, strain, and enjoy. You can add honey or lemon for flavor, if desired.
    2. Aromatherapy: Rosemary essential oil can be used in aromatherapy to promote mental clarity, focus, and relaxation. Diffuse a few drops of rosemary oil in a diffuser or add it to a carrier oil for massage or inhalation. Please note that essential oils should be used with caution, following proper dilution guidelines and considering individual sensitivities.
    3. Topical Applications: Rosemary-infused oil or salve can be applied topically for various purposes. It may be used for massage to ease muscle tension and promote circulation. Some people find rosemary oil helpful for scalp and hair health. However, always dilute essential oils properly before applying them to the skin and perform a patch test to check for any adverse reactions.
    4. Culinary Use: Including rosemary in your cooking is another way to enjoy its potential health benefits. The leaves can be added to various dishes, such as roasted vegetables, soups, stews, marinades, and sauces. Rosemary is known for its aromatic and flavorful properties and can enhance the taste of many recipes.
    5. Herbal Preparations: Rosemary can be used as an ingredient in herbal preparations, including tinctures, capsules, and extracts. These are often available commercially or can be prepared at home with guidance from a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional.

    rosemary tincture recipe

    Here’s a simple recipe for making a rosemary tincture:


    • Fresh rosemary leaves
    • High-proof alcohol (such as vodka or brandy)
    • Glass jar with a tight-fitting lid
    • Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
    • Amber glass dropper bottles for storage


    1. Harvest fresh rosemary leaves from your plant. Ensure they are clean and free from dirt or debris.
    2. Chop or crush the rosemary leaves to help release the beneficial compounds. You can use a mortar and pestle or simply chop them with a knife.
    3. Place the chopped rosemary leaves into a glass jar. Fill the jar about 3/4 full with the rosemary.
    4. Pour the high-proof alcohol over the rosemary leaves until they are fully submerged. Ensure there is enough alcohol to cover the plant material completely.
    5. Seal the jar tightly with the lid and give it a gentle shake to mix the ingredients.
    6. Store the jar in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, for about 4 to 6 weeks. Shake the jar gently every few days to help with the extraction process.
    7. After the recommended steeping period, strain the tincture. Place a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer over a clean bowl or container and pour the tincture through it. Squeeze the plant material in the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible.
    8. Transfer the strained tincture into amber glass dropper bottles for storage. Label the bottles with the date and contents.

    Dosage and Usage: The dosage of rosemary tincture can vary depending on the individual and the specific tincture strength. It’s recommended to start with a small dosage and gradually increase if needed. A general guideline is to take 1 to 2 dropperfuls (approximately 30-60 drops) of tincture diluted in water or juice, up to three times a day. However, it’s best to consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional for personalized dosing instructions.

    Remember to store the tincture in a cool, dark place to maintain its potency. If stored properly, the tincture can last for several months to a year.

    Note: This recipe is for educational purposes only. If you are new to making herbal tinctures or have any specific health concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable herbalist or healthcare professional for guidance.


    rosemary salve recipe

    Here’s a basic recipe for making a rosemary salve:


    • 1 cup of dried rosemary leaves
    • 1 cup of carrier oil (such as olive oil or coconut oil)
    • 1 ounce of beeswax pellets or grated beeswax
    • Optional: a few drops of rosemary essential oil (for added fragrance)


    1. Place the dried rosemary leaves and carrier oil in a double boiler or a heat-safe glass jar placed in a pot of water. Heat the mixture over low heat for about 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. This process allows the oil to infuse with the rosemary’s beneficial properties.
    2. After the infusion period, strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Squeeze the herb material to extract as much oil as possible.
    3. Return the infused oil to the double boiler or heat-safe jar and place it back on low heat. Add the beeswax pellets or grated beeswax to the oil and stir until fully melted and incorporated.
    4. If desired, add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to enhance the fragrance and benefits of the salve. Stir well to combine.
    5. Carefully pour the mixture into clean, sterilized jars or tins. Allow the salve to cool and solidify completely before sealing the containers.
    6. Once solidified, the salve is ready for use. Apply it topically to the desired areas of the skin as needed.

    Please note that this recipe is for external use only. Avoid using the salve on broken or irritated skin. If you have any allergies or sensitivities to the ingredients, perform a patch test before applying it to a larger area.

    Feel free to adjust the recipe based on your preferences or consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional for personalized guidance.