Rewritten in part from the website: Medical News Today.com
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits.
The herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes such as rosemary chicken and lamb, but it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. It is typically prepared as a dried whole herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender. The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning "dew" and marinus meaning "sea" - "sea dew."
The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.
Rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds- these are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals.
Improving digestion - In Europe rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion Germany's Commission E has approved it for the treatment of dyspepsia. However, it should be noted that there is currently no meaningful scientific evidence to support this claim.
Enhancing memory and concentration - -blood levels of rosemary essential oil have been found to correlate with improved cognitive performance, according to research in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, published by SAGE.
Neurological protection - scientists have found that rosemary is also good for your brain. Rosemary contains a compound, carnosic acid, CA, activates a novel signaling pathway that protects brain cells from the ravages of free radicals. In animal models, the scientific group, led by Drs. Takumi Satoh Iwate University, Japan and Stuart Lipton, MD, Ph.D. Burnham Institute, found that CA becomes activated by the free radical damage itself, remaining innocuous unless needed, exactly what is wanted in a drug. The scientists call this type of action a "pathological-activated therapeutic" or PAT drug. A "pat" represents a gentle tap and not the heavy sledge hammer that some drugs produce, including significant side effects in areas of the body where their effects are not needed and not wanted.
This new type of drug works through a mechanism known as redox chemistry in which electrons are transferred from one molecule to another in order to activate the body's own defense system," said Stuart A. Lipton, MD, PhD, the senior author on the paper and Director, Professor, and Senior Vice President at the Burnham's Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research Center. "Moreover, unlike most new drugs, this type of compound may well be safe and clinically tolerated because it is present in a naturally-occurring herb that is known to get into the brain and has been consumed by people for over a thousand years." Dr. Lipton is also a practicing neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, and therefore knows first-hand that such drugs are critically needed for care of the aging and neurologically-ill patients.
Cancer - Research published in Oncolocy Reports found that "crude ethanolic rosemary extract (RO) has differential anti-proliferative effects on human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells."2
Another study, published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, concluded that rosemary may be an effective herbal anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.3
Protection against macular degeneration - a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, led by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D. and
colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, revealed that a major component of rosemary, carnosic acid, can significantly promote eye health.
SPECIAL NOTE: Large doses of rosemary have been known to induce labor and should not be taken by pregnant women.
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.
Rosemary is a shrubby evergreen bush and, according to folklore, takes its name from the Virgin Mary, who draped her cloak on the bush, placing a white flower on top of the cloak. By the following morning, the flower had turned blue, and thereafter the plant was known as the "Rose of Mary." Rosemary, grown in the Alps since the Middle Ages, has became part of European folk medicine, and was thought to help the nervous system and ward off sickness. Until now, however, the exact chemical pathways involved in its beneficial effects have remained unknown.