The Rosey Side of Rosemary

“There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance.  Pray you, love, remember.” ~ William Shakespeare

“Dew of the Sea” Rosmarinus, known as rosemary, is a fragrant sprig connected to remembrance, love, and fidelity.  Perhaps, to you, it may bring to mind the names of loved ones and comforting meals.   On a medicinal level, the mere scent causes surges in energy levels, increased mental clarity, and minimizes certain aches and pains. It’s the reason this specific herb has been a staple woven into traditional life for centuries.  One sprig holds the memory of a favorite family recipe, a household remedy, a tea blend, candle scent, or medicine.  As a source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds and essential vitamins and minerals, the woody perennial is irresistible for overall good health! 

A Cognitive Stimulant 

Smell drives our desire.  Like many herbs in the mint family, Rosemary is a cognitive stimulant.   Studies prove that evergreen leaves offer neuroprotective effects to enhance mental clarity, concentration, memory retention, and wakefulness.  While candles and aromatherapy oils are effective, try adding a few drops of rosemary and lemon essential oil to a spray bottle filled with distilled water, and begin using it as an air freshener.  The result will be infectious! 

Rosemary Tea 

The warm mug held between two hands is a feeling of comfort.  The infusion, steeped for minutes or refilled, leads to diversified medicinal effects.  Two primary active compounds, caffeic and rosmarinic acids, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, strengthening the body against heart disease and cancer. 

Additional healing: 

  • Rosemary loosens overworked muscles and arthritic joints; 
  • Warms chronically cold hands and feet; 
  • Restores balance to hormone levels;
  • Treats indigestion and pain associated with cramps, bloating, and heartburn. 
  • Controls skin conditions like eczema, rashes, and fungal infections;
  • Protects the surface of the skin from harmful UV rays;
  • Relieves headaches and mild migraines; 
  • Can be applied topically as a facial wash or on the scalp to support the growth of healthier and stronger hair.  

Making Homemade Rosemary Tea

For over two thousand years, drinking an herbal infusion has remained fashionable, especially if you love the fragrant, earthy taste.  While a tea bag facilitates the intended result, consider clipping one healthy sprig.  Just remember, fresh leaves have a mild flavor; therefore, consider adding twice the amount, such as two measured teaspoons per cup of water; dried herbs, on the other hand, only require one measured teaspoon. 

  • Elevate the flavors with a splash of lemon or an orange wedge. 
  • Select a natural sweetener, such as honey, versus using a variation of sugar.  
  • Add a splash of milk or a plant-based alternative—for example, almond or coconut milk—for a rich taste.

Steeping is a preference depending on whether you like a standard or deep, herbal, embodied taste.  Start with four minutes and take a sip; continue extending the time until you’ve achieved a cup of perfection! 

Growing Rosemary 

Every garden needs at least one hardy perennial that can tolerate freezing conditions, strong gales, and thrives during drought.  Pesky bugs, such as mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks, will fly far away from the Rosemary plant, whether located near the porch, a child’s sandbox, or along a walkway.  If you need a miracle to effectively keep cabbage loopers, slugs, and cockroaches away from your raised beds, plant rosemary.  Now that you know the secret, consider surrounding your outdoor sitting areas with rosemary, or creating a stunning scent barrier by including additional colorful and fragrant herbs, like lavender, basil, thyme, and sage, that produce attractive flowers to lure beneficial insects and pollinators.   

With ample rosemary sprigs at your disposal for a medicinal need or recipe, hang the woody trimmings in your kitchen or bathroom, or burn them in the fireplace to further boost the senses of mind, body, and spirit!  Herbs need frequent trims for a new generation to carry the tradition of one amazing super herb!

*Lisa is a N.C. State Master Gardener volunteer and a state-certified beekeeper.  

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