Rosemary is a common culinary herb and a member of the mint family known for its fragrant and distinctive evergreen needle-like leaves. It’s often used in savory dishes or teas but has also long been used for its medicinal and health benefits. Below, I share rosemary benefits
The plant is native to the Mediterranean but can be found all over the world. 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.
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
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.
8. It’s a powerful immune booster
Regular consumption of rosemary may help fight infection and boost the immune system.
This is because rosemary is rich in carnosic and Rosmarinic acids, both of which possess strong antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
Rosemary comes in three forms: dry, fresh, a powder extract, or essential oil.
Dried rosemary leaves are a traditional seasoning common in Mediterranean cuisine.
Rosemary leaves can be steeped to make tea or be added to savory dishes, vegetables, soups, stews, casseroles, and baked goods.
You may also infuse rosemary in your favorite oil, such as olive oil, into a saucepan full of olive oil, add rosemary springs and let it cook on low heat until the smell of rosemary rises from the pan. That’s about 10 minutes of cooking. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool before draining out the rosemary springs. You can store the oil in a refrigerator for up to six months.
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, relieve indigestion, improve immunity, boost 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, and savory dishes.
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