Rosemary is one of the most popular aromatic plants in Africa and in the Mediterranean, as this shrub is not only used as an ingredient in many dishes, but it also has a number of beneficial medicinal properties for the body. For this reason, more and more people choose to integrate it into their usual diet, as well as use it for specific treatments, using it in different formats.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of rosemary, keep reading this article in which we talk about the properties of rosemary, what it is for and how to prepare it for internal and external use, as well as its contraindications and side effects.
Rosemary Plant Characteristics
The rosemary plant, with the scientific name Rosmarinus officinalis, has the following characteristics:
- It is an aromatic shrub currently used practically all over the world.
- In optimal conditions, the plant can reach heights of up to 2 meters, although the common thing is that it stays much smaller.
- It has the ability to branch out a lot when growing, giving rise to a fairly dense mass, and a large number of narrow, elongated and small leaves grow from its stems.
- The flowers, which sprout in autumn or spring, are white or purple depending on the variety, being very beautiful and giving the plant a touch of color that makes it very valid as an ornamental species.
- It is an undemanding plant with its care, which can grow in a wide range of environments, although the ideal for it is the Mediterranean climate.
- It is quite resistant to both droughts and cold.
- It is grateful to receive a good amount of direct sun and soils rich in organic matter, as well as those that offer good drainage, but it can adapt to somewhat adverse conditions.
But what part of rosemary is for healing? The most common is to use the dried leaves and, sometimes, the flowers as well, in the form of an infusion of rosemary. However, there are several ways to prepare rosemary and some sometimes use whole branches and not just leaves.
As we have said, this plant is highly appreciated, in addition to its ornamental and culinary uses, for the large number of medicinal properties that its active principles give. The active principles of rosemary are:
- Essential oil with borneol, camphor, pinene, camphene and cineole.
- Rosmarinic acid.
- Ursolic acid.
Thanks to these active principles, then, what properties does rosemary have? These are the main properties of rosemary:
- Stimulating tonics.
What is Rosemary Used For?
Due to this large number of pharmacological properties of rosemary, its uses are multiple to improve many aspects of health and well-being. What are the benefits of rosemary? Here we talk about the main ones:
- It acts as a digestive thanks to its carminative properties, reducing the appearance of gas and flatulence when digesting.
- Help reduce fluid retention by acting as a diuretic.
- It is often used in rejuvenating skin treatments thanks to its antioxidant properties.
- It also helps to treat skin lesions or conditions and to keep the skin clean due to its antiseptic, bactericidal, fungicidal and healing capacity.
- Its anti-inflammatory effect helps reduce joint and headaches, such as those caused by arthritis or headaches.
- The application of rosemary for hair loss is common since it improves the health and the scalp.
- It is also very good for improving memory.
How to Prepare Rosemary Plant
The rosemary infusion is very easy to prepare. To do this, simply get yourself some dried rosemary leaves and water. For a single cup, just a tablespoon of rosemary, a glass of water and follow these steps:
- Bring some water to a boil.
- When it boils, add the dried rosemary leaves.
- Let it boil for 3-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan, letting the infusion rest for a few more minutes.
- Remove the rosemary leaves from the infusion by straining the liquid.
You can drink it both hot and cold and always keep in mind that you can consume up to 3 cups a day for a few days in a row, while if you drink a single cup a day or only a few days you can take this infusion more regularly. This infusion or rosemary tea can also be used for hair, although for the latter there are better options that we will see below.
Another way to use rosemary to drink it is to prepare it in oil and eat it in dishes such as salads.
How to Prepare Rosemary for External Use
To use rosemary externally, there are several possibilities. Here we show you two:
Rosemary alcohol is often used in the application of the plant for massage and external applications. To make it, follow these steps:
- Prepare about 200 grams of dried rosemary.
- Store them in a well-covered container, dipped in 1 liter of alcohol.
- Once a day, it is important to shake the container so that the air bubbles rise.
- After 10 days, filter the mixture to keep the alcohol with rosemary without the leaves and store it somewhere in the shade, which is cool and dry.
The rosemary alcohol massage greatly helps reduce joint pain and muscle, both to injuries such as pain points.
Another way to use this plant externally is by applying it to the hair and scalp. In the use of rosemary for hair you can also use sprigs of fresh rosemary as a shampoo enhancer. To do this, follow these tips:
- Add a few sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary to your regular shampoo bottle, but preferably a fairly neutral one.
- Let the small branches macerate inside it. The rosemary will release its substances and the shampoo will be impregnated with its properties.
- Another possibility is that you add the rosemary infusion in the shampoo bottle and shake very well to mix it. In both ways, you can use it regularly.
What is the importance of rosemary for the hair? It improves your hair health and general glistening appearance, both of the hair itself and of the scalp, hydrating it and helping to prevent and avoid hair loss.
Rosemary contraindications and its side effects
Rosemary is quite safe to consume but, like all plants due to its active principles, it has some contraindications that must be taken into account. These are the main contraindications of rosemary :
- Pregnant women, lactating women and children under 5 years of age should avoid its consumption.
- People with liver diseases should avoid its consumption, due to its cholagogue effect.
- People who have any type of allergy to any of the active principles of this plant should avoid its consumption.
In addition, it is convenient to know the possible side effects of rosemary in case of consuming it in excess :
- When consumed in excess can cause vomiting or nausea.
- It can cause hypotension in people with high blood pressure who take medication to regulate this problem.
- It can cause electrolyte imbalance in people taking diuretics.
- It can cause poisoning in people who take lithium.
Now that you have known the properties of rosemary, what it is for and how to prepare it, as well as its contraindications and possible side effects, we encourage you to get a rosemary plant and make use of it to your satisfaction.