Key uses:
Lifts the spirits
Improves the circulation
Supports memory and improves concentration
Improves digestion

Rosemary has a long history of medicinal use and is one of my favourite herbs this time of year.  Rosemary is great for lifting the spirits on wet winter days.  It is considered by many herbalists to be specific for melancholy during the winter months.  Rosemary has always been associated with memory and rememberance, and featured at weddings and funerals for hundreds of years.  It is a warming herb and helps to improve the circulation, particularly to the head; it is thought to improve concentration, memory and zest for life.

Rosemary has traditionally been added to roasted meats to improve their digestibility.  Rosemary is mildly bitter and stimulates the secretion of our digestive juices, helping us to break down our food and digest it well.  It is also an aromatic herb which will help to ease bloating associated with poor digestion.

Rosemary, like many kitchen herbs, contains excellent levels of antioxidant chemicals which help to protect cells from free radical damage and thereby slow the ageing process and inhibit the development of many chronic illnesses.  Adding rosemary, fresh or dried to your cooking or drinking rosemary tea is an easy way to increase your antioxidant intake.

You can make rosemary tea by simply picking a sprig of rosemary and chopping it up and putting it in a tea cup or pot and pouring on boiling water.  Don’t let it steep for too long or it will become too bitter.   It makes a great alternative to caffeinated tea.  You can also take Rosemary as a tincture, and have 15-25 drops in a little water before meals two or three times daily.

Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil is the concentrated extract of the aromatic oil found within the  plant.  Two drops of rosemary essential oil may be added to a teaspoon (5ml) of base oil such as sweet almond or grapeseed and used in massage.  It is an excellent  antispasmodic for tight and overly contracted muscles and it will also warm the body and improve the circulation.  In massage it combines well with Lavender, Sweet orange or Juniper.

A quick sniff of Rosemary essential oil will enliven the senses and help with concentration and memory when studying.  (The ancient Greeks used to burn Rosemary sprigs in the house to help their students to learn better.)

The oil is also antiseptic and will help to reduce the spreading of germs in the air.  Rosemary sprigs and juniper berries were traditionally burnt in French hospitals to purify the air.  If you have someone poorly at home you could put a few drops of Rosemary essential oil and some water into an oil burner and let the oil evaporate into the air.

Now I’m off to make a nice cup of Rosemary tea….