A Mediterranean culinary herb that is often used in Italian dishes, rosemary has a long history of tantalizing the tongue. It has also been used in religious ceremonies, Thanksgiving recipes, shampoos, perfumes, medicinally, and as
rosemary essential oil.
Rosemary was used in religious ceremonies by the Romans, who would burn rosemary with the belief that the smoke would purify their flocks. Students often wore a crown of rosemary when it came time for exams. (4)
Author Margaret Picton states “Rosemary has long been associated with both weddings and funerals. It was traditional to dip sprigs of the herb in scented water for the groom and bridesmaids to carry at a wedding ceremony. The bride wore a wreath of the herb…” (3)
Ancient Egyptians used Rosemary as incense. In ancient Greece, the herb was used to strengthen memory. In the Middle ages, it is believed that rosemary was used to keep away evil spirits and the plague. Shakespeare wrote about rosemary and its uses in a handful of his plays.
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” –Hamlet
“There’s rosemary and rue. These keep Seeming and savor all the winter long. Grace and remembrance be to you.” –Winter’s Tale
Of course, there is no scientific proof that rosemary did any of those things it was believed to have done in ancient days. However, recent studies have shown scientifically shown some of the benefits of rosemary. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center: “Rosemary leaf is used in Europe for indigestion (dyspepsia) and is approved by the German Commission E, which examines the safety and efficacy of herbs.” (1) Essential oil is made when rosemary oil is extracted from the leaf.
Adding Rosemary to a Dish
Rosemary is great in Italian food, but it can add a wonderful taste to many non-Italian dishes. In 17th century England, rosemary was used – along with sweet marjoram and thyme – as an ingredient in pumpkin pie. You can also add rosemary to breads, like is done in this rosemary scone recipe.
8 oz self-rising flour
2 oz butter
1 oz superfine sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 beaten egg
A little milk
Rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the sugar and rosemary. Add the egg and milk and mix until it forms a soft dough. Knead lightly and roll out on a floured board until ¾ in thick. Cut out circles of dough, and place them on a baking tray. Brush the tops with milk. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 10 -2 minutes. Split the scones in half, spread with butter and eat while hot. (3)
Rosemary is relatively easy to grow in your own herb garden, so try growing some and add fresh rosemary to your list of ingredients. If your growing season is short, dry or freeze the herb so that you have a stash for winter. If you dry the herbs they’ll lose more flavor than by freezing them.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil was first created nearly 700 years ago “and has been used therapeutically ever since.” (4)
Rosemary Essential Oil Recipes
Bathroom and Kitchen Tile Cleaner and Disinfectant
2 capfuls Sunshine Concentrate
10 drops thyme essential oil
7 drops rosemary essential oil
15 drops bergamot essential oil
2 gallons hot water
Pour Sunshine Concentrate into a large bucket. Begin adding hot water from the faucet, and then drop in the essential oils. This recipe is effective for tile and linoleum (vinyl) floors and tile and solid surface countertops. For laminate countertops, reduce the amount of essential oils.
Rosemary Lavender Milk Bath
½ Cup powdered buttermilk
½ cup nonfat powdered milk
¾ cup fine sea salt
½ cup Dead Sea salt
25 drops lavender essential oil
12 drops rosemary essential oil
Combine essential oils with fine sea salt in a glass bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon to distribute oils evenly through the salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in a glass container. Use about 1/3 cup of the mixture for each bath. Add dried lavender for additional color. This recipe makes bath salts for 6 or 7 baths.
- Stimulates memory
- Helps combat emotional fatigue
- Rosemary is used in scalp and hair treatments and is often used in shampoos and conditioners.
How It Works:
Clear and Refreshing
With a unique herbal, cooling scent Rosemary has long been revered by healers for its versatile properties.
Rosemary essential oil is meant to be diffused or applied to the skin with a carrier oil but should never be ingested. Do not use rosemary essential oil if you are pregnant or nursing, have crohn’s disease, ulcers, or high blood pressure.
“Rosemary contains a chemical that is very similar to aspirin. This chemical, known a as salicylate, may cause a reaction in people who are allergic to aspirin.” (2)
1: Rosemary | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/rosemary#ixzz3fPKWhD9p
3: Margaret Picton in “The Book of Magical Herbs”
4: “The Northwest Herb Lover’s Handbook: A Guide to Growing Herbs for Cooking”