Herbal action: cognitive enhancer, thymoleptic (improves mood), sedative, tonic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-platelet
Common name: rosemary
Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Family name: Lamiaceae (Mint family), genus Rosmarinus
Parts used: mostly leaves, but the stems and roots are also used
NOTABLE PHYTONUTRIENTS IN ROSEMARY AND THEIR FEATURES
- Terpenes (mainly carnosol, carnosic acid, oleanic acid, and ursolic acid) have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as significant antioxidative potential. Carnosol and carnosic acids are terpenes exclusive to the mint family of herbs, and studies indicate they have anti-cancer and immunomodulatory properties (it boosts the immune system’s power).
- Phenolic acids (caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid being the most prominent) are major antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage, have anti-inflammatory and bacteriostatic (suppress the growth of bacteria). Rosmarinic acid is also responsible for the cognitive boost that rosemary provides, and some other studies indicate it could help in fighting liver fibrosis,
- Flavonoids (luteolin, genkwanin, diosmetin) are another class of antioxidants, and many of them have additional health benefits. For example, luteolin is able to protect the nervous system from neurodegenerative disorders (like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases), genkwanin has anti-cancer properties against colorectal cancer and diosmetin is able to suppress prostate cancer.
MEDICAL USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF ROSEMARY
Rosemary has been used since ancient times to treat a great number of conditions and diseases, but the most popular of this herb’s uses always has been cognitive enhancement.
In other words, rosemary may help with everything related to brain function, for example:
- Improve memory
- Prevent cognitive decline in the elderly
- Improve mood, fight off anxiety and depression
- Boost perceived energy and reduces fatigue
- Improve sleep quality
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Additional Benefits of Rosemary
Prevents free radical damage: A lot of the active compounds found in rosemary have significant antioxidative properties, meaning that they prevent free radical damage to the cells and tissues. In turn, this leads to decreased inflammation too.
Has anti-cancer properties: The main active compounds of rosemary (carnosol, carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid) seem to have significant anti-cancer effects. Studies show they can inhibit the proliferation of ovarian cancer and boost the effectiveness of conventional chemo drugs like cisplatin.
Protects from UV damage to the skin: A blend of rosemary and citrus flavonoids taken by mouth was confirmed to decrease the harmful effect of ultraviolet radiation to the skin. Basically, rosemary tea is like a drinkable bonus sunscreen! (But don’t forget to use your regular sunscreen as well.)
Shows strong antimicrobial potential: Multiple active compounds found in rosemary have fabulous antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial potential. When applied topically, rosemary oil is effective even against such pesky bugs like Propionibacterium acne, the direct cause of acne.
Improves asthma symptoms: Although rosemary doesn’t cure asthma, studies indicate it could significantly improve its symptoms, particularly cough, sputum production, chest pain, and wheezing.
Decreases weight gain and accumulation of fat: Rosemary leaf extract seems to inhibit the enzyme of the pancreas that metabolizes fat. The result is that most of the dietary fat you eat will just be excreted, not absorbed and accumulated. Keep in mind that it won’t burn any fat that’s already stored, though.
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