You may wonder why a light blue flower like this is called “rosemary.” Turns out that the name has nothing to do with Mary or roses. Rosemary got its name from the Latin “rosmarinus,” which means “dew of the sea.” Apparently it was so named because of the light blue flowers and the plant's affinity for wet environments.
A popular and almost magical herb, rosemary was often used in weddings, entwined into a wreath and worn by brides. Anne of Cleves, Henry the Eighth's fourth wife, was said to have worn a rosemary wreath at their wedding.
Rosemary was also used historically to offer protection from the bubonic plague and to ease the pain of gout, and was once considered the perfect herb for strengthening memory.
A little bit about the ingredient itself
Scientifically called Rosmarinus officinalis, rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and flowers that bloom white, purple, or blue. Native to the Mediterranean Sea and Portugal, it can grow as tall as 6 feet, yet fans out to look like a bush. It loves humid areas like those by the sea, but it is interestingly drought tolerant and is considered easy to grow.
Many people love rosemary as an ornamental plant in gardens, and can adapt it to create formal shapes, low hedges, and groundcover. It likes soil with good drainage and lots of sun, but will not do well in waterlogged climates.
You're probably very familiar with rosemary in seasoning for meats like lamb, pork, and chicken. It's also often used in bread and biscuit doughs, as well as in potatoes, beans, and lentils. A favorite for flavoring olive oils and cheeses, it's found its way into soups, sauces, stews, sausages, and salads.
Internal health benefits of rosemary
Traditionally used to treat gout and to improve memory, rosemary is still a good choice for soothing muscle aches and pains. It can ease digestive upset, and helps stimulate circulation.
Though research is still preliminary on many of rosemary's potential health benefits, some evidence already exists that it may help prevent or suppress Alzheimer's disease. Scientists believe the antioxidants in the herb are responsible.
Rosemary is also used to stimulate blood flow to the brain, improving concentration and relieving depression and fatigue. In addition, it may give relief to respiratory allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Rosemary for skin benefits
Rosemary's primary reputation in skin care and cosmetics is its ability to balance natural oils. It can help refresh oily skin and hair without causing excess dryness. If you have oily skin or clogged pores, this is also the herb to look for, as it cleans out dirt and other impurities that can clog pores.
In addition, rosemary for skin offers these benefits:
Rosemary is rich in antioxidants like carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, which protect. It can also rejuvenate skin to a more youthful glow.
Appearance of toning & firming
Rosemary is reputed to help give your skin a firmer, tighter look.
You may notice by the list below that we've taken advantage of rosemary for skin in our cleansing and rejuvenating products.
Our Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash contains rosemary and essential oil of peppermint, combined to leave your skin feeling cool, refreshed and uplifted.
One of our favorite uses of rosemary for skin, our Rosemary Toning Mist is a treat for your face. It invigorates the skin with cleansing properties and leaves you feeling fresh.
And find our full list of rosemary-enchanted products here:
Ayurvedic Facial Scrub
Coconut Body Oil
Anti-Aging Facial Oil
Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin
Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin
Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash
Rosemary Toning Mist
Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion
Our Herb Garden, “The History of Rosemary—Origins & Historical Uses,” http://www.ourherbgarden.com/herb-history/rosemary.html.
Jerry Schwartz, “Health Benefits of Rosemary,” Herb Companion, January/February 1999, http://www.herbcompanion.com/health/the-power-of-rosemary.aspx.
Super Foods, “Rosemary Health Benefits and Side Effects,” December 26, 2011, http://theworldbestsuperfoods.blogspot.com/2011/12/rosemary.html.