Rosemary Leaf Benefits the Brain

Rosmarinus officinalis is a Latin name for rosemary. It means dew-of-the-sea. Rosemary is a small evergreen shrub that can be found growing in Portugal and the Mediterranean areas of Spain, Morocco, France, and Tunisia. The woody plant has rigid branches and a fissured bark. The valuable leathery leaves are needle-like and dark green and it has flowers that are a pale blue. Both the flowers and leaves contain volatile oil. Rosemary grows best in dry, warm soil in areas with lots of sun.

An ancient legend tells us that in the beginning rosemary flowers were white. When Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus fled into Egypt, Mary spread her blue cloak on the white flowered rosemary bush. Immediately the flowers turned blue and have been so ever since. The Spanish must have liked the story because they call it romero, meaning ‘pilgrims plant,’ a reference to this legend.

The list of uses of rosemary are so many, one starts to believe the legends about it! But rosemary’s main claim to fame is its ability to improve the brain function. This includes Alzheimers treatment. Some superstitious people think that a sprig of rosemary stuck in a buttonhole of their coat will not only bring good luck, but will also improve their memory. Rosemary has a long history of use as a memory-enhancing herb. It has in fact been called the ‘herb (or spice) of remembrance.’ This is not based on legend for rosemary leaf contains dozens of powerful antioxidant compounds and a number of compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. It has similar structural and chemical properties to ginger. A favorite recipe to improve cognitive impairment is to mix rosemary with St. John’s wart and ginkgo.

Rosemary also aids blood flow with both internal and external treatment. An increase in urine production results from its antispasmodic and diuretic properties that also stimulate menstrual blood flow. Rosemary leaf tea has been used for centuries to increase the appetite, to treat gastric-juice deficiency, and to aid digestion in general. One study says rosemary leaf tea’s compounds stimulate the production of bile.

In the form of a salve, rosemary can be used in the treatment of mild spasms, wounds, eczema, neuralgia, muscle pain, sciatica, rheumatism, and even parasites. Rosemary was used in Roman burial rites and for centuries after rosemary branches were laid on the coffin at funerals. Rosemary oil taken from the flowers and leaves mixed with almond or olive oil has been an age old treatment as a massage for the scalp. It keeps the hair lush and healthy, and supposedly prevents baldness.

Rosemary contains at least four known anti-cataract compounds. Rosemary is a useful anti-aging herb as well, treating bone and joint conditions. Its aromatic compounds are useful in treating depression and as a sedative. In addition, Rosemary treats dyspepsia, menstrual disorders, nervous exhaustion influenza, flatulence, and dropsy.

Rosemary leaf makes a delicious tea. The recommended dosage is one cup of hot tea three times a day, a half hour before meals. Internet articles include these additional ideas: boil a handful of rosemary in two cups of water for 10 minutes and you have an antiseptic solution for washing kitchens and bathrooms. Place a fresh bough in a room to cool the air.

Strip the leaves and burn the rosemary stems for a lovely aroma. The flowers can be tossed into salads, and crystallized to make a garnish. Try adding the leaf sparingly to a wide variety of foods such as breads and beans or pasta dishes. Rosemary can be used to flavor baked potatoes and to make an herb butter to spread over vegetables.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 8th at 4:52 pm and is filed under Bulk Herbs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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