Thursday, May 08, 2008

Spice : Rosemary

Latin Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

Alternate Names: Sea Dew, Our Lady's Rose, Rosemarine

Family: LAMIACEAE

Parts Used: Above ground portion.

Properties: Anodyne, Antibacterial, Antidepressant, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Astringent, Cardiotonic, Carminative, Cholagogue, Circulatory Stimulant, Decongestant, Diaphoretic, Digestive Tonic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Hypertensive, Nervine, Rejuvenative, Stimulant, Stomach Tonic, Tonic.

Internal Uses: Anxiety, Asthma, Debility, Depression, Dyspepsia, Epilepsy, Fatigue, Flatulence, Food Poisoning, Headache, Rheumatism, Stress, Vertigo

Internal Applications: Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

A study done at Rutgers State University found that Rosemary had preservative qualities more powerful and safer than the common food additives BHA and BHT. It helps prevent food poisoning.

Topical Uses: Balding, Canker Sores, Capillary Weakness, Dandruff, Gingivitis, Gray Hair, Headache, Insect Repellent, Muscle Soreness, Neuralgia, Sciatica, Sore Throat

Topical Applications: Skin toner as a rejuvenative. Important ingredient in Queen of Hungary water, a popular beauty tonic. When used on the skin it helps to strengthen the capillaries. Sachets of dried Rosemary are placed in a pillowcase to stimulate dreams. Bath herb acts as a rejuvenative and helps sore muscles. Gargle for sore throat, gum ailments, canker sores and breath freshener. Eyewash. Used in shampoos and conditioners for dandruff, dark hair premature graying and hair loss. It is a potpourri ingredient that repels moths. Essential oil is used in perfume, toothpaste, insect repellants and massage oil, as well as a liniment for neuralgia, sciatica and sore muscles. Add a few drops of Rosemary oil to a freshly washed hairbrush for delightfully aromatic hair.

Culinary uses: Add to vegetables, soups, breads, biscuits and jellies . Used to flavor tofu, eggs, seafood and meat dishes. Cooking with Rosemary aids the digestion of fats and starches.

Energetics: Pungent, Bitter, Warm, Dry.

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil (borneol, camphor, cineole, linalol, verbenol), tannins, flavonoids (apigenin, diosmin, luteolin), rosmarinic acid, rosmaricine, heterosides, triterpene (ursolic acid, oleanic acid), resin.

Contraindications: Avoid excessively large doses which can cause miscarriage, convulsions and -- if one really pushes it - death.

Comments: The genus and common name are derived from the Latin ros marinus, meaning 'dew of the sea' as the plant grows profusely near the Mediterranean sea coast and sea foam sprays upon it. Rosemary has long been considered a symbol of friendship and loyalty -- 'Rosemary is for remembrance'. Ancient Greek scholars would wear laurels of Rosemary on their heads to help them when taking examinations. In weddings, brides would wear a wreath of Rosemary and carry it in their bridal bouquets so that they would remember their families and their marriage vows. It was also used at funerals and religious ceremonies as protection from evil and to remember the dead. It was often buried with the dead as well. Indeed its antiseptic aroma could help prevent the spread of infection. During the sixteenth century, Europeans carried pouches of Rosemary to ward off the plague. The branches were strewn in legal courts to prevent the spread of typhus. It has been burned in sick rooms and placed in books to deter moths.

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