Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is another popular culinary herb with anti-inflammatory properties. Rosemary's primary effect is to inhibit bacteria and viruses and has analgesic properties.

In European folk medicine, rosemary baths were used to prevent bacterial infection complicating eczema. Rosemary also stimulates blood circulation to the skin helping immune cells migrate to the eczematous skin allowing beneficial antibodies and other immune cells to fight potential infectious organisms.

The camphor in rosemary increases blood supply to the skin and helps reduce pain in the rheumatic muscles and joints.

Traditionally rosemary has been used in funerals and weddings to symbolize remembering departed loved ones and wedding vows.

Modern studies have shown rosemary does improve memory and may prevent Alzheimer's degenerative changes. Herbalists have used rosemary tea as treatment for headaches. It is high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all the electrolytes needed for proper muscle contraction and nervous system transmissions. It is believed the balance of these electrolytes are responsible for rosemary's healing effects on headaches.

Rosemary is indigenous to Spain, Portugal, southern France, and the western Mediterranean region. It does well in pots and prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The seed germination rate for rosemary is very low so it is easier to propagate from cuttings of new growth on established plants. It can be grown as a perennial but is sensitive to frost.

Rosemary Tea recipe from Michael Tierra's The Way of Herbs: ½ ounce of rosemary to 1 pint of boiled water and steep 10 minutes in a covered vessel. The same tea is also used cooled as a hair rinse to stimulate the scalp and skin circulation as well as for hair care.

Dr. Rose