Updated: Oct 18
Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis
common name: Dew of the sea, Sea dew, Elf leaf, Guardrobe, Incensier, Compass weed, Polar plant
Family: Lamiaceae or Labiatae (Mint)
Rosemary, also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, is a beautiful evergreen shrub with 1-inch long, needle-like leaves with clusters of white/pale blue flowers that blossom during winter and spring native to the Mediterranean (1). Rosemary has been used for its many medicinal purposes in the Mediterranean region for many years and has since been cultivated around the world (2).
Benefits of Rosemary
Rich In Antioxidants
Several studies have been done on rosemary’s ability to act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (3). Due to the antioxidant capabilities of rosemary, early studies have found that rosemarinic acid is a great alternative to toxin-filled preservatives and can increase the shelf life of perishable foods thanks to its natural preservatives (4).
An antimicrobial property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can kill or suppress the spread of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi (5). One study compared the antimicrobial activity of rosemary and sage essential oils. Rosemary was effective against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, S. enteritidis, and Shigella sonei (6).
Rosemary is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its antioxidant compounds, which can also reduce inflammation, especially from free radical damage. Chronic inflammation has been linked with many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (7). Several studies, including in vitro and in vivo, found that rosemary has a great source of anti-inflammatory agents and historically documented pharmacological effects (8).
May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Several studies have found that rosemary has compounds called carbonic acid and tamarind acid, which have insulin-like effects on blood sugar (9). In several studies, they’ve found that these two compounds are linked to an increased rate of absorption of glucose into muscle cells, which in turn lowers blood sugar levels (10,11).
May Improve Mood, Memory & Brain Health
Many studies have been conducted around the possibility that rosemary may improve mood, memory, and overall brain health. One study found that taking rosemary orally two times a day for one month significantly lowered anxiety levels while improving memory and sleep quality amongst college students (12). Another study conducted on 66 industrial employees found that drinking two teaspoons of rosemary in 2/3 cup of water felt significantly less burnt out at their jobs (13). An animal study found that rosemary may even support recovery from conditions such as a stroke (14) and may even protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s (15).
⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.
Contraindications & Interactions
The mainstream cautions there isn't enough reliable information to know if rosemary is safe to use as a medicine when breastfeeding, so they recommend staying on the safe side and sticking to food amounts (16). These mainstream claims have resulted in rosemary gaining a negative reputation, but there is no evidence that it will cause harm to the baby or mother.
Actually, respected herbalist Richard Whelan states substantial amounts have been given to pregnant rodents in tests, and it has not caused any harm. In his professional opinion, rosemary is safe to take while breastfeeding and may, in fact, benefit the baby as the oils will pass through the milk and can be nice and calming to the gut.
The only concern Richard Whelan has is to not take strong medicinal teas or extracts of Rosemary at the same time as taking iron supplements, as studies have shown that it significantly decreases iron absorption when taken simultaneously (17).
According to aromatherapist Wendy Robbins, essential oils should never be taken internally or applied undiluted. She warns rosemary essential oil is potentially neurotoxic, depending on the level of camphor present in the oil. They also warn not to use it on or near the face of infants and children. The recommended dermal maximum for Rosemary Camphor is 16.5% and 6.5% for Rosemary Verbenone (18).
Products Recommended with Rosemary Ingredients
Earthley’s Breathe Well Salve helps provide relief from chest congestion, coughs, and stuffy noses. This natural vapor rub is a healthy alternative to traditional OTC medications that aren’t safe for little ones and have potentially harmful side effects.
Earthley’s Castor Oil Detox (Cool Formula) is an herbal-infused castor oil can help detox your liver, relieve the pain of cysts, reduce joint pain, promote lymphatic health, and more.
Earthley’s Herbal Baby Powder combines three natural herb powders blend together to create a healing alternative that still keeps baby dry. This natural baby powder provides benefits for cord care, soothes diaper rash, and lots more.
Earthley’s Milk Flowin’ Salve is an all-natural, herbal salve created to help relieve clogged milk ducts. This salve helps keep lymphatic fluids and milk moving to work out any existing clogs and prevent future ones. Since it’s edible and safe for baby, there’s no need to wipe off before nursing.
Earthley’s Pain Relief Rub (CBD Cream) helps you experience true relief of back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, and more. This synergistic cream combines naturally pain-relieving herbs like St. John’s Wort and yarrow with full-spectrum CBD. Rub a small amount into the sore spot and feel the relief within minutes!
Earthley’s Rosemary-Lavender Dry Shampoo is a gentle, lightly floral-scented shampoo bar that cleans hair without stripping it of its own natural oils. Lavender and rosemary promote hair growth and scalp health. This shampoo bar is also no-waste so it’s great for the environment too!
Earthley’s Rosemary-Lavender Shampoo Bar absorbs excess oils and leaves the hair soft and clean! Many dry shampoos are propane or butane-powered and contain synthetic ingredients that sit on your scalp. Not this one! This all-natural powder comes in an old-fashioned shaker bottle–you-powered, no propellants.
Earthley's Sea Salt Soap combines nourishing oils and gently-exfoliating sea salt to create an at-home spa experience. The Margarita scent smells fresh and clean and is made with all-natural essential oils. Gently rub away dry, dead skin to reveal the glowing skin beneath it.
MaryRuth’s Organic Turmeric Gold Liquid Drops has immune-supporting and neuroprotective properties. With turmeric, black pepper seed, cassia cinnamon bark and more, this formula may be just the blend you’ve been looking for.
Simply Earth's Rosemary Essential Oil can be used to simultaneously relieve sore and tight muscles and provide an uplifting and clearing effect on the mind.