HERB FOCUS: Rosemary
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Lamiaceae)
Parts Used: Leaves
Medicinal Preparations: Culinary, tea, tincture, infused oil, vinegar, herbal steam
- Circulatory stimulant
Medicinal and Culinary Uses: Resinous and aromatic, rosemary sprigs can be bound together with other herbal companions in fragrant smoke bundles for cleansing and purification.
Rosemary is classically known as an aid for memory and concentration in tea or tincture formulas with gotu kola (Centella asiatica) and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). Topically, it is astringent and makes an excellent hair wash for those with oily to medium hair.
Taken tonically, rosemary can improve circulation and quench free radicals through its antioxidant qualities. It can also calm nervous complaints, especially when digestive flair-ups are paired with tension or headache.
Rosemary is a classic kitchen herb used to spice any number of savory dishes—including poultry, fish, root vegetables, stews, and red meat. It has also become a popular ingredient in craft cocktails and mocktails.
Cultivation: Rosemary plants that attain old age are elegant and enticing beyond compare. With soft blue to purple edible blooms and a singular aroma, they are often the herbal pièce de résistance on the patio. Lucky for us, rosemary grows easily and thrives in containers.
Rosemary has a penchant for sunlight and soils that drain easily—imagine the climate and terrain of its native Mediterranean habitat. You can mimic these conditions by stirring plenty of sand into your soil mix and letting the soil dry between each watering.
If you live in zone 7 or colder, you’ll want to bring potted rosemary plants indoors over the winter and place in a south-facing window. Otherwise, you may need to provide artificial light.
Harvesting rosemary frequently will encourage plants to become lush and bushy. Using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, snip off the top few inches of growth from each sprig.
Safety and Contraindications: Avoid using rosemary in large or medicinal doses during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Culinary doses are fine.