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Rosemary Herb and Oil Benefits
SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Rosmarinus officinalis L. Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae. Bog rosemary (Andromeda species) and wild or marsh rosemary (Ledum palustre L.) are members of the family Ericaceae and are not related to rosemary .
COMMON NAME(S): Rosemary, Old Man
Rosemary (rosmarinus) is a Latin term meaning "sea dew." Rosemary belongs to the Labiatae or mint family. Its native habitat is the area around the Mediterranean Sea and Portugal. It is now cultivated in many countries. Rosemary can grow to be as tall as man to about 6 feet and grows out to look like bushes. The leaves are long and skinny like pine needles. Rosemary flowers which are violet in color, bloom briefly in spring on young shoots.
The leaves of this strongly fragrant plant possess a flavor that is a cross between lemon and pine. Translated from Latin, Rosemary means "dew of the sea", and according to an old Spanish legend, returning sea-weary sailors could smell the fresh fragrance of the rosemary leaves from miles afar.
Rosemary is a widely used culinary herb. Tradition holds that rosemary will grow only in gardens of households where the "mistress" is truly the"master." The plant has been used in traditional medicine for its astringent, tonic, carminative, antispasmodic, and diaphoretic properties. Extracts and the volatile oil have been used to promote menstrual flow and as abortifacients. Rosemary extracts are commonly cosmetic ingredients, and a rosemary lotion is said to stimulate hair growth and prevent baldness.
Botany :- Rosemary grows as a small evergreen shrub with thick aromatic leaves.The plant has small pale blue flowers that bloom in late winter and early spring. Although rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, it is now cultivated worldwide.
Uses of Red Rosemary
Rosemary has decreased capillary permeability and fragility, and extracts have been used in insect repellents. The plant may have anticancer properties.
Rosemary also has a calming effect on the nerves, and can stimulate the circulatory system. It is also effective for combating hair loss, as it stimulates growth of hair follicles and promotes blood circulation of the scalp.
Rosemary in Cooking
For culinary purposes, rosemary leaves may be used fresh or dried, and is a popular flavoring herb in traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Rosemary makes an excellent seasoning and marinade for all types of meat such as lamb, goat, chicken and veal. It is also great with beef and fish stew. Rosemary gives zest to otherwise bland potato dishes. It is also savored in bread, rolls, cheese and butter.
Side Effects of RosemaryIngestion of large quantities of rosemary can result in stomach and intestinal irritation and kidney damage.
The German Commission E monograph suggests 3/4 to 1-1/4 tsp (4 to 6 grams) of rosemary leaf per day. A tea can be prepared by adding 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of herb to 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water and allowing it to steep in a covered container for 10 to 15 minutes. This tea can be taken several times per day. Rosemary tincture, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 ml) three times per day, may also be used. The concentrated volatile oil should not be taken internally.
Although the oil is used safely as a flavoring and the whole leaves are used as a potherb, ingestion of large quantities of the oil can be associated with toxicity. Toxicity is characterized by stomach and intestinal irritation and kidney damage. There is no valid role for rosemary oil as an abortifacient. Bath preparations containing the oil may cause erythema, and toiletries can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals.
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