Rosemary: How to Recognise, Health Benefits and Uses

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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is most commonly used in dishes, but actually has many more purposes.

To be honest, I never knew rosemary could be used for anything else than for cooking. And another confession: I used to have a very hard time growing rosemary and keeping it green, until I found out that the rosemary shrub actually prefers to be outside – since then I’ve always kept some rosemary on our patio in a pot, and a whole bush of it on my allotment.


How to recognise rosemary
Rosemary is a shrub with a woody stem. Its bark can vary from gray to brown. The needles, which in length vary from 2 to 4 cm long, are usually a deep dark shade of green. When you turn the leaf, you’ll notice that the bottom is lighter colored, sometimes silver. When flowering, rosemary can have purple, pink, blue or white flowers at the tips of the branches. Most people will recognize this herb by its scent, so the next time you see a rosemary plant at your supermarket, have a go and smell. The scent is usually described as similar to pine, and can have some citrus notes as well.

Medicinal use of rosemary
Traditionally, rosemary has been used to help alleviate sore muscles, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth. It can be used in a hair rinse to add shine to dark hair and to sooth an itchy scalp. As an infused tea, rosemary can help ease headaches.

Rosemary in the kitchen
When cooking, usually the leaves are used. Rosemary is typically prepared as a whole dried herb or a powdered extract, but using fresh rosemary gives your dish a very unique taste. Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6. It’s also rich in antioxidants.

Magical uses of rosemary
Magical properties that are attributed to rosemary include improving memory and wisdom. Bathing in rosemary can improve your memory and also ensures that people will remember you better as a person when you first meet them. With rosemary under your pillow while sleeping, you will be better at remembering your dreams and at the same time keep nightmares away. Other properties associated with rosemary are protection, health and healing. Especially burnt together with juniper, it has magical healing properties.

Arin Murphy-Hiscock, The Green Witch. Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More. 

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