An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosmarinus coronarium) - family: Labiatae (Lamiaceae) (Mint Family).
This aromatic evergreen shrub will grow to about six feet high. It has narrow needle-like dark green leaves. In the spring and summer it produces small blue flowers. This is one of the ancient herbs. It is a savory herb that has been used for thousands of years to flavor meat and vegetable dishes. Its leaves and flowers are used as the base for an herbal tea. Traditional Mediterranean area use of leaf tea as a remedy for bad breath, depression, memory loss, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, nervousness and vertigo. It also has been used as a remedy for migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and sciatica. Leaf tea is also employed as a gargle for sore throats. Modern American folk use of essential oil as a topical remedy for sprains. Modern American folk use of leaves to help ward off cataracts. Approved by the German Commission E as a remedy for indigestion, rheumatism (external use) and for a poor appetite. Rosemary oil has been traditionally used externally for arthritis. Traditional external use of oil or leaf in a poultice as a remedy for arthritis and wounds. Traditional external use in bathwater (hydrotherapy) as a remedy for muscle pain and soreness. Modern American folk use of essential oil in aromatherapy for lowering high blood pressure. Under the name Rusmari, Rosemary was used as one of the Ayurvedic medicinal herbs. Note: leaves can be very toxic if ingested in large quantity. Note: due to potential toxicity, do not take essential oil internally. Note: in large quantities, rosemary and its essential oil may cause abortion: do not ingest rosemary oil if pregnant. Listed in the United States Pharmacopoeias from 1820 to 1950. Native to the Mediterranean area. Naturalized in North America. Naturalized in California. Cultivated as an ornamental in North America. At least sixteen cultivars exist. Also grown as a house plant in North America.
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Web page last updated on 22 May 2003.