Rosemary, an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean region, has enjoyed years of popularity among cooks and herbalists alike for its ability to impart its unique flavor to foods as well as many other beneficial effects on human health. In fact, rosemary offers myriad health benefits, from improving digestion to promoting hair growth and strengthening memory. Let’s take a look at various rosemary benefits for your overall health.
It’s one of the easiest to grow and nature from the comfort of your balcony. This allows you to have its fresh version any time of the day or simply home dry your own.
Whether dry or fresh, rosemary is a household spice with numerous health benefits and should definitely be in your kitchen.
Rosemary is generally low in vitamins and minerals, which are in most cases associated with good health. However, it contains phytochemicals, important in fighting disease and maintaining good health.
A single spring of rosemary can offer minimal levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, calcium, iron, and manganese.
Including rosemary in your different recipes will help:
1. Increase your antioxidant intake
In case you don’t know what antioxidants do, they help neutralize and destroy free radicals in the body. If left to accumulate, free radicals may cause oxidative stress leading to cell damage. Cell damage may lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Oxidative stress may also facilitate premature signs of aging, like wrinkles and wine lines.
The antioxidant properties of rosemary are greatly attributed to its two polyphenolic compounds, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic acid.
Rosmarinic acid is such a potent antioxidant that it has been used as a natural preservative to replace synthetic additives and improve the shelf life of perishable foods.
Carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid have also been shown to fight against certain cancers like prostate, leukemia, and breast cancer by slowing their growth and proliferation.
2. It may boost mood and alertness
The smell of rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant because of its ability to improve focus and alertness. Perhaps the reason why rosemary essential oil is often used in aromatherapy.
According to research, inhaling rosemary oil prevents acetylcholine from being broken down. Acetylcholine is a chemical in the brain responsible for concentration and memory retention.
Researchers found that young adults answering math questions in a room infused with rosemary had increased accuracy and speed as long as the room was kept infused.
Rosemary has also been shown to reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol. This may, in turn, reduce stress levels, improve mood, and reduce drowsiness.
3. May help relieve indigestion
Rosemary has been used to treat digestive problems such as bloating, gas, heartburn, and loss of appetite. It’s taught to stimulate the release of digestive juices such as bile, which is responsible for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Rosemary also contains antioxidant tannins and flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in gastrointestinal tissue. In turn, a reduction in inflammation can help improve digestion and reduce discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you suffer from acid reflux, indigestion, or gas due to IBS or a stomach ulcer, rosemary can provide relief. In fact, in one study, researchers found that taking rosemary extract before meals reduced symptoms of IBS by 68 percent and overall improved quality of life.
4. May alleviate pain
As a member of the mint family, rosemary has traditionally been used to alleviate muscle pain, joint pain, and sprains.
Rosemary oil has further been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and you can quickly achieve the benefits by rubbing the oil into the affected area.
Simply mix five drops of rosemary oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil like olive oil or jojoba oil to effectively use rosemary oil.
In one study, combining rosemary oil with menthol was found to relieve and reduce the frequency of musculoskeletal pain in hemodialysis patients.
5. Stimulates hair growth
In the form of rosemary oil, rosemary may promote hair growth and maintain a healthy scalp by fighting dryness and dandruff.
Rosemary oil specifically prevents testosterone byproducts from attacking the hair follicles leading to hair loss or baldness.
In one study, massaging diluted rosemary oil into the scalp twice daily for six months thickened the hair to the same extent that minoxidil, a hair re-growth remedy, would. Rosemary oil further relieves scalp itching more than minoxidil.
6. Rosemary may lower blood glucose levels
High glucose levels in the blood for long periods, if treated, can increase the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, vision and nerve problems, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.
Studies show that compounds in rosemary, such as polyphenols like carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, offer insulin-like effects, which help increase glucose uptake by muscle cells. This, in turn, protects against high glucose accumulation in the blood.
7. May protect vision and improve eye health
Rosemary contains a high concentration of antioxidants that have been shown to protect your eyes from the damage that can lead to vision loss. Thanks to these properties, it’s also been used traditionally as an eyewash. This herb may help reduce cataracts by preventing oxidation in cell membranes, thus helping maintain the proper function of your retina.
It can also help lower blood pressure, which is another risk factor for developing glaucoma. A study from 2014 also showed that rosemary extract is a promising antioxidant to treat glaucoma.
Organic compounds in rosemary have also been shown to reduce cataracts and prevent age-related macular degeneration. According to research, combining rosemary extract with other oral treatments like zinc oxide may slow age-related macular degeneration, which is a common cause of partial or total vision loss.
Studies also show that rosemary improves color vision, which is important because blue hues appear duller as people age.
To get your daily dose of rosemary, try adding it to your diet by using it in various recipes.
8. It’s a powerful immune booster
Regular consumption of rosemary may help fight infection and boost the immune system.
Certain compounds in rosemary, like rosmarinic acid—the compound thought to have medicinal properties can help increase immunity. About two teaspoons of dried rosemary will give you about 150 milligrams of rosmarinic acid.
Rosemary also contains thymol, a phytochemical with strong anti-inflammatory properties. It also has high levels of carvacrol, an antioxidant that can help boost your immune system and guard against common colds and flu.
Research suggests that rosemary oil fights bacteria, viruses, and inflammation. Some studies have even suggested it has an anti-inflammatory effect on neurons in your brain. In addition to helping fend off infections, it may also lower your risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia by protecting brain cells from damage.
In some cases, rosemary has even been found to fight certain types of cancer. The benefits of rosemary go beyond its antioxidant content, however. It contains a number of different phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that can improve digestion and reduce pain associated with menstrual cramps.
If you want an extra immune boost, try pairing it with other powerful ingredients like garlic or turmeric.
9. Lowers cholesterol
One easy way to reduce bad cholesterol levels is to add rosemary to your diet. It contains high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are effective at lowering bad cholesterol.
Studies have shown that including rosemary in your diet can reduce your levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, by up to 16 percent over a period of 12 weeks. For anyone suffering from high cholesterol and other cardiovascular problems, adding rosemary to their diet may help them manage symptoms.
10. Enhances mood
Scientists have found that rosemary contains a compound called 1,8-cineole, which is responsible for its invigorating scent. A 2012 study from researchers at Louisiana State University and Lehigh University showed that rats exposed to 1,8-cineole regularly were less stressed and had lower levels of anxiety overall than those who weren’t exposed.
And when we’re happier and less anxious, it’s easier to stay on track with our daily lives, including healthy eating habits. In another study, volunteers who inhaled 1,8-cineole showed an immediate increase in overall mood.
11. Helps you sleep better
Making sure you get a good night’s sleep is essential to your mental and physical health. While you might think that alcohol, caffeine, or a healthy snack before bed are just what you need to drift off at night, there’s actually something much better: Rosemary. This herb may help promote restful sleep, soothe anxiety, and reduce pain during menstruation.
If you struggle with insomnia, rosemary oil may help. According to a 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers evaluated both aromatherapy massage and inhaling a blend of rosemary essential oils prior to bedtime. Those who used these techniques slept better than those who did not.
Aromatherapy massage also helped improve the quality of life among women experiencing menopause symptoms. To reap these benefits, simply place a few drops of rosemary essential oil on your pillowcase or rub it on your temples and wrists before bed.
You can also try making infused oil by combining one cup of olive oil with one tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary leaves; let sit overnight in a glass jar and then strain out the herbs when ready to use. The oil will keep for up to two weeks stored in a cool, dark place.
12. Makes your skin glow
Rosemary’s astringent properties make it perfect for oily skin and acne. Its mild antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties also help keep skin blemish-free.
If you want to look your best, rosemary can be used in a number of ways to improve your skin. You can use it as an exfoliant by rubbing fresh rosemary on skin that has been washed with warm water.
In a study performed by Italian researchers, people who rubbed rosemary on their skin twice daily for two weeks experienced a significant reduction in sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance that contributes to acne and blackheads, so less sebum means smoother skin.
You can even add rosemary essential oil to face and body scrubs, or make up a toner with warm water and rosemary to help get rid of excess oil and dirt.
The rosemary essential oil also has anti-aging benefits that will help tighten your skin and give it a healthy glow. It’s also an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that can help soothe sunburns, insect bites, and other irritations.
13. Supports your joints and muscle mass
Research has shown that rosemary might reduce inflammation, a major culprit in joint conditions like arthritis.
Rosemary contains a chemical called carnosol, which helps support healthy joints and muscle mass. For healthy individuals. You may not notice any effect. However, if you have weak or injured joints and muscles, rosemary oil can make them stronger and healthier.
A study from Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that those who chewed fresh rosemary leaves daily were more able to maintain their muscle mass than those who took a placebo. Even better, rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that supports your joints.
14. Prevents kidney stones
Kidney stones form when a person’s urine contains higher than normal amounts of certain chemicals, including calcium, oxalate, and uric acid.
Rosemary contains ursolic acid, a compound that reduces calcium oxalate crystallization in kidney stones.
In animal studies, ursolic acid has been shown to decrease urine concentrations of calcium and oxalate while increasing urine concentrations of citrate, which inhibits stone formation.
It’s thought that many people with kidney stones don’t actually experience symptoms. However, when you do have symptoms, they can be extremely painful and debilitating. So, preventing them is always a good idea
15. Improves fertility
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, rosemary can actually improve a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Women who ate rosemary every day while they were trying to conceive had a higher rate of conception than those who didn’t.
This could be due to the reduced oxidative stress, which has been linked to hormonal imbalances in women with infertility issues. In addition, one animal study found that it could even protect against testicular damage and increase sperm count.
16. Can be used to soothe toothache
Did you know that rosemary can help relieve toothache? The oil and leaves from rosemary contain natural anesthetics and antibacterial properties, making it a great option to freshen breath, fight bad breath, eliminate plaque, and relieve toothaches.
To use as a mouthwash, simply soak a cotton ball in rosemary essential oil and then hold it on your gums for 15 minutes. Repeat as needed. You can also add ground rosemary to your next batch of homemade toothpaste. Your teeth will thank you!
17. Strengthens bones
Studies have shown that regular consumption of rosemary can help strengthen bones. In a study published in 2010, researchers from University Hospital Galway found that rosmarinic acid (RA), a compound found in rosemary, effectively reduced bone resorption and promoted new bone formation.
When participants took RA supplements for three months, markers for bone resorption decreased by as much as 50%. A reduction in resorption means less breakdown and more strengthening. Bone loss is a natural part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. By adding rosemary to your diet on a regular basis, you may be able to keep your bones strong well into old age.
18. Rosemary may be good for your lungs
A study published in April 2015 in Respiratory Research found that people who took a daily dose of rosemary extract for four weeks had improved lung function. The research also suggests that rosemary could be helpful for people with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who often experience impaired lung function as a result of chronic bronchitis or emphysema. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results.
Creative ways to Use Rosemary
Looking for a new way to enjoy potatoes? Try roasting them with rosemary. To make these rosemary roasted potatoes, first, preheat your oven and line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss one medium head of peeled and quartered red potatoes with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast in a 425°F oven until tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves (or one tablespoon dried). To enhance the taste further, stir in 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press. Serve immediately.
Add in Pizza Dough Before Baking
Chopped fresh rosemary can be added to homemade pizza dough before it goes into the oven. The aromatic oil of rosemary will add flavor and keep flies away from your food. Baked rosemary can also be used in a number of creative ways. Adding fresh or dried rosemary leaves in your homemade bread recipes is a great way to add flavor and texture.
Drink it as a tea
Herbal tea is a delicious addition to many meals, and rosemary tea is no exception. However, it’s very important that you take care when you brew your rosemary herbal tea; over-steeping herbs like rosemary can make them bitter. To prepare a tasty cup of rosemary tea, put two teaspoons of dried herb in a mug, add boiling water and let steep for five minutes. Try adding a little honey or lemon to sweeten your cup!
Use it as an aromatherapy spray
Rosemary has a wonderfully fresh, clean aroma that helps relieve stress and headaches. To create an aromatherapy spray, fill a glass container with rosemary leaves. Pour in one cup of boiling water and cap. Let it steep for 24 hours, then strain out the plant matter.
Spray around your home or office for a sweet-smelling environment. You can also spray rosemary on your pillows and sheets before bed. Not only will it give your sheets a pleasant scent, but you’ll also be getting a dose of essential oils that will help you get a more restful night’s sleep.
Keep in mind that essential oils are very potent; you’ll only need a few drops to reap their benefits. Store leftovers in a dark glass bottle, tightly capped, and use within two months.
Use it as an ingredient in smoothies
Getting more fresh herbs into your daily diet can help improve digestion and prevent disease. Adding a bit of rosemary to your morning smoothie is an easy way to infuse it with more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients you need for better health. The rosemary oil in your smoothie will also help kill off harmful bacteria in your gut that contribute to poor digestion.
Rub it to soothe bug bites and sunburns
Rubbing rosemary essential oil onto your skin is a natural way to soothe bug bites and sunburns. A 2015 study conducted by Baylor University found that topical applications of rosemary oil reduced skin redness and swelling after UV radiation exposure in test subjects.
To prevent sunburns and bug bites, add 2–3 drops of rosemary essential oil into an unscented lotion or carrier oil, then apply as needed. If you have sensitive skin, dilute with one drop of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of the base. For even more soothing relief from burns and insect bites, try rubbing rosemary leaves directly onto affected areas!
Rosemary is an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean and has been popular in traditional medicine.
It can be used fresh, dry, powdered, or as an essential oil
Health benefits of rosemary include antioxidant protection, improving your mood and focus, relieving indigestion, improving immunity, boosting eye health, stimulating hair growth, regulating blood glucose levels, and fighting inflammation and pain.
You can enjoy rosemary in different recipes, including tea, stew, soups, smoothies, aromatherapy sprays, and savory dishes.
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