Its Latin name is Rosmarinus officinalis, “dew of the sea” in translation. It sounds tender and romantic, in fact the flower itself is exactly the same. And the romantic name is probably inspired from the fine light blue colors or from rosemary’s habitat – near the sea. The bush that is between 20 and 100 cm. high has sharp light green leaves which release a pleasant aroma that we know from some typical Italian meals when they are rubbed. The Mediterranean cuisine definitely wouldn’t be the same without the rosemary’s typical aroma and the spicy slightly pungent taste!
But rosemary isn’t only a spice. They said that it had special, almost magic qualities – in ancient Egypt they thought that it attracted happiness, in ancient Greece they wore wreaths of rosemary when they had to increase their ability to learn and memorize. It was thought to be a symbol of Aphrodite (the goddess of love). The rosemary gets very popular with this meaning when it was brought to Central and West Europe. The plant was thought to be a sign for love and a hope for happiness. That’s why there was rosemary in each wedding bouquet.
The plant’s healing qualities weren’t also a secret for the ancient people. In the Middle Ages it was used against gout and rheumatism and at the time of the terrible plague epidemics the people carried bags with rosemary to protect themselves from contamination. Later they recommended it to help calm nerves, overcome physical and mental fatigue, stomachaches etc.
What does the pharmaceutical science think for the rosemary’s healing potential?
It is a herb from Libiate Family which means that it is very close relative of the mint and the thyme. It contains 2% essential oil, tannins, vitamins, alkaloids and flavonoids. The rosemary’s composition is the reason for its efficiency in the cases described by the ancient authors and its popular applications in the traditional medicine of the Mediterranean and Central European countries.
The rosemary has proved analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic and diuretic effect. It stimulates digestion, improves blood circulation and helps in cases of lower blood pressure, enhances immunity. Inhalation with oil of rosemary is successfully applied in cases of cold, bronchial asthma and cough.
When applied locally the herb tones the skin and activates the processes of cell regeneration. It fights the acne, the oily skin, the dandruff and the different types of dermatitis. It reduces the secretion of the sweat and sebaceous glands. It is included in the composition of products against joint and muscle pain.
The contemporary cosmetology appreciates particularly the anti-cellulite activity of the rosemary. Its ability to destroy the fat deposits which impede blood circulation and the movement of the lymph makes it a preferred ingredient of the contemporary products against cellulite.