More so than numerous other herbs, Rosemary is considered the cold weather herb, going with just about everything we eat during the fall and winter seasons. So, it’s fair to say it’s an evergreen spice that can be used year-round. This herb is indigenous to the Mediterranean region and is widely used in medicines and perfumes.
It has often been referred to as the “herb of remembrance” because of the many legends and traditions that are tied to it (1). In Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs were buried with rosemary and Greek scholars used this herb to help them focus while studying. Rosemary has also been known to grace the bouquets and wreaths of young brides. This herb is a symbol of loyalty and has been exchanged by friends and tossed into the graves of loved ones (1).
In addition to the legends surrounding this amazing plant, rosemary helps the ecosystem by providing nectar and pollen to pollinators, like bees.
Rosemary oil is extracted from the popular herb through a process called steam distillation. This process divides the aromatic compounds from the herb at a temperature that is beneath rosemary’s decomposition point. Steam distillation is a commonly used on temperature sensitive materials, like essential oils.
The spicy and herbaceous aroma of this oil makes it perfect for the respiratory system when diffused. Therefore, one of Rosemary oil main uses is helping with issues of respiratory and nervous systems. Direct inhalation of Rosemary oil with a nebulizer can treat health issues like asthma, bronchitis, colds, cough, and sinus problems. The main components of this oil contribute to the antimicrobial and stimulatory properties. Of these components are, camphor, pinene, and cineole (2).
Rosemary has always been associated with the improvement of memory. Shakespeare mentions this benefit of Rosemary oil in the play Hamlet. You can also take advantage of this benefit by diffusing this oil at home. It will also help with focus, direction, learning, and overall brain function. 35 people volunteered for a study of this oil and were confirmed to have increased levels of alertness (2). Another study performed at the University of Northumbria revealed that rosemary oil enhanced the quality of memory (3). Diffusing this oil also helps with exhaustion/fatigue, fainting, nervous disorders. A study conducted on dogs concluded that diffusing Rosemary oil encouraged standing and movement in the dogs (2).
Massaging Rosemary oil on the body diluted has been proven to help stimulate blood flow. According to a study, after massaging 35 volunteers with this oil, an increase in blood pressure and breathing rates were measured (2). Massaging this oil on the body diluted with a carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, etc) will help with processing the most out of the nutrients ingested with food.
The inside of your body is not the only thing that benefits of using Rosemary oil. Your skin is your first line of defense against the external environment and microorganisms, and Rosemary oil is the skin ally you can count on for that.
This oil contains antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which can help heal skin troubles such as acne, oily skin, and eczema. Topical application of Rosemary has also been proven to reduce the probability of skin tumors arising on the surface of the skin. To achieve that add a drop or two to your lotions, or mix with coconut oil to create a soothing salve, or dilute in a carrier oil and rub it gently into the skin.
Using this oil for topical application can also repel certain bugs. After a study conducted in a greenhouse on tomato plants, two spider mite populations were reduced by 52% without harming the plants (4). This oil can also keep away bugs that suck the blood and spread bacteria, like mosquitoes.
Rosemary oil also stimulates hair growth, promotes a healthier scalp and improves shine and condition of the hair. Research on this oil showed that after six months of usage on the scalp of 50 people with alopecia, that hair growth was promoted just as much as with the over the counter remedies (5). That is amazing how a plant can do the same thing as chemicals you pay hundreds of dollars for. Just add 5 drops of rosemary oil to 4 tbs of coconut oil or any other carrier oil (coconut oils needs to be melted and then cooled off a bit and mixed with the rosemary oil).
You will need to use your fingertips to apply this mixture and massage it into your scalp. You can leave it on for 30 minutes and wash it out or you can apply it overnight. Wash it off as usual. Apply this remedy once a week, or every 3 days to strengthen your hair.
This oil has painkilling and anti-inflammatory qualities which can help treat headaches, muscle pains and arthritis. There have been multiple studies to test the effects of rosemary oil on inflammation and pain. A study conducted on mice found that Rosemary reduced inflammation (6). It was also found that the exposure to this oil inhibited the production of skin tumors in the mice (6).
Another study was conducted over the course of two weeks on stroke survivors. They each were exposed to the oil for twenty minutes, twice daily, and it resulted in a 30% reduction in pain (7). To activate this benefit for yourself, add a few drops to a warm bath and relax to soothe painful muscles and joints. Headaches can be eased by palm inhalation or rubbing diluted oil into your temples or forehead.
Another way to use this oil is to massage it diluted with a carrier oil to help detoxify the body. Rosemary oil has been proven to have positive effects on the liver and gallbladder. Animal studies show that this oil can cause the body to create more bile, which is an important factor in fat digestion. It also has been proven to stimulate the antioxidant defenses in the liver, which means that it can help remove harmful enzymes in the liver (8).
Rosemary oil is truly a treasure! The variety of health benefits are tremendous, not to mention that Rosemary is already a favorite dry herb to use in the kitchen, but the oil is so much better! The potency of Rosemary oil creates so much flavor and you can use it to substitute the dry herb in every recipe that calls for it. My taste buds are already tingling with excitement thinking about it!
Here are some of our favorite cooking ideas using Rosemary oil that we tried and loved. It goes very well with any soft cheeses and fish. Try marinating fish (especially halibut or salmon) with lemon, rosemary essential oil, garlic, and a little extra virgin olive oil.
And since the holidays are upon us, for Thanksgiving dinner, we’re suggesting rosemary mashed potatoes, which are always a hit; just substitute 1 drop of oil for each 1 TBS of fresh, or for each 2 TBS of the dry Rosemary. Also, gravy with rosemary oil is just divine, in case you haven’t try it yet, it’s so good you will want to put it on everything because you won’t be able to stop eating it! Check our own healthy version of this delicious gravy recipe which is gluten free, soy and fat-free on the blog.
And have you tried yet using Rosemary for baking desserts? The flavor and the aroma of baked treats with this oil are quite exquisite and unique!
We only recommend ingesting USDA Certified Organic essential oils because that is the only way to ensure that they are chemical free and non-GMO. Organic oils are pure, which is truly safe and edible as the plants are grown in organic soil within an organic farm, hence it doesn't contain any pesticides or artificial fertilizers and GMO's like the plants grown on conventional farms. Ingesting chemicals on the long term can cause a multitude of chronic health issues, like a leaky gut,and other auto-immune conditions that are hard to come back from. You get what you pay for, so make sure to seek out a product that has the USDA Organic logo on their label!
For safety, keep out of reach of children and pets. Generally speaking, do not take it directly internally as medicine unless taken under the supervision or recommendation of an aromatherapist professional. Do not use undiluted on the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes; it could cause allergic reactions. Always test essential oils first on a small portion of your skin. If you are pregnant, consult with a healthcare provider/ professional experienced with essential oils as some essential oil are less tolerated while others are well loved by pregnant women.
Rosemary oil blends well with basil, bergamot, black pepper, cedar, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, eucalyptus, frankincense, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, mandarin, marjoram, niaouli, oregano, peppermint, pine, tea tree, and thyme. You can create your own blends for diffusing and correct a lot of health issues with repeated use!
Rosemary oil an overall superhero in a bottle. Its spicy aroma will keep you warm during the cold season and you can use it for a variety of reasons, and now in the winter it’s great for the respiratory system and great for the kitchen. To learn more about the practical uses and application of this essential oil in your daily life, check out this link.