Rosemary is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries as medicine for several ailments. It is a fragrant herb belonging to the mint family and originates from the Mediterranean region. Other members of the mint family includes basil, thyme, oregano and lavender. The leaves and stem of rosemary can be taken in powder form, as a tea, as a spice for cooking, dried in capsules, extracted into oil form and can also be used to make perfume and air fresheners.
Rosemary plant is known to have been used by ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Italians for medicinal purposes. So, what are the health benefits of rosemary to the body and what makes it such a special household item?
One of the top health benefits of rosemary is its ability to boost memory, intelligence, alertness and stimulate the brain. It is used in aromatherapy and taken in low doses (750mg) to help with concentration and age-related brain function. However when taken in higher doses (above 750mg), the quality of memory declines.
Protects the brain
Rosemary contains Carnosic acid, an ingredient which protects neurons from oxidative stress caused by free radicals and protects against overstimulation in the nerve cells. Carnosic acid will protect certain parts of the brain such as the middle cerebral artery from tissue damage (reperfusion injury/ischemia), it reduces brain swelling and blood clots. Rosemary also protect against Alzheimer’s and stroke.
Aromatherapy uses rosemary to improve mood and ease stress. Rosemary lowers cortisol levels in the body and therefore reduces anxiety, depression and stress.
Rosemary contains carnosol, an ingredient that helps detoxify and protect the liver. It lowers the levels of cirrhosis in the liver, it prevents against depletion of liver glycogen, decreases oxidative stress in the liver and prevents distortion of liver tissue.
The carnosol found in rosemary lowers dihydrotestosterone hormone in the body. It also balance the body’s estrogen and androgen hormones.
Studies have shown that rosemary oil can regrow hair lost due to androgenetic alopecia (also called permanent balding). Rosemary oil also slows down hair graying, prevents hair loss from using shampoos, treats dandruff and dry scalp.
Rosemary helps prevent breast, blood, pancreatic, cervical, prostrate, ovarian, bladder, liver, lung and colon cancer cells from replicating. Rosemary extracts like carnosol, manganese, rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid reduces the formation of cancer-causing agents in fish, beef, pork and chicken.
Aids weight loss
Rosemary has anti-hyperglycaemic and anti-inflammatory properties that aids weight loss. Its carsonic acid content also aids indigestion, stomach upset and other gastric Issues.
Rosemary is an analgesic that can be applied externally to soothes aches from muscles and arthritis. It also helps relieve pain caused by headaches, migraines, menstruation, stomach cramps and kidney problems when taken orally.
Protects against UV damage
Rosemary extracts protects the skin from the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Rosemary oil helps to deal with blemishes, reduces anti-aging effect and improves the quality of the skin.
Has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties
Rosemary extracts has antibacterial properties that prevents the growth of infections such as staphylococcus and stops the growth of other gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Other health benefits
Other health benefits of eating rosemary are its ability to fight diseases and infections such as cough, age-related macular degeneration, involuntary muscle spasms in the heart, fluid accumulation in the lungs and ulcer.
Rosemary increases bile flow and helps to fight gut diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis thereby maintaining gut health. It is effective in maintaining blood pressure, treating gout and injuries sustained during physical exertion or surgery. Its anti-inflammatory effect can help fight atherosclerosis. In addition, rosemary has antithrombotic effects that stimulates blood flow and boost the body’s production of red blood cells.
Nutritional values of Rosemary
Rosemary is a hub of many nutrients. It is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine. It contains minerals like potassium, copper, iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
Rosemary is made up of essential oils such as 1,8-cineole, borneol, camphene, α-terpineol, α-pinene and bornyl acetate. It is rich in phenolic acids like rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid. It is equally rich in phenolic diterpenes like carnosol. In addition, rosemary has a high fiber content, rich in protein and carbohydrate.
100g of rosemary contains 4.9g protein, 331 calories, 64g carbohydrate, 15g fat (of which 7.4g is saturated) and 43g of dietary fiber.