Scientific Name/Common Name: Rosmarinus officinalis / Rosemary
Part(s) Used: Herb/Aerial portions
Constituents/Active Ingredients: 2-3% rosmarinic acid and other phenolic acids including caffeic, and chlorogenic acids; flavonoids including apigenin, luteolin, nepetin, and nepetrin; 1.2-2.5% essential oil containing several monoterpenes including 15-50% 1,8-cineole, 15-25% alpha-pinene, 12-24% alpha-terpineol, 10-25% camphor, 5-10% camphene, 0.4-2% limonene, linalool, and 1-5% bornyl acetate; diterpenoid bitter compounds including up to 4.6% carnosol, rosmaridiphenol, and rosmanol; triterpenoids including oleanolic and ursolic acids; and resin.
Overview: The leaves of rosemary are leathery and contain numerous oil glands. Rosemary leaf tea was traditionally used as a medicine for stimulating the appetite, as well as for treating gastric-juice deficiency, and to aid digestion. The German Commission E also lists rosemary leaf tea for treating poor digestion due to insufficient bile flow through the action of its bitter substances and essential oil. Rosemary is often used as a flavor enhancer. Rosemary extracts prepared into a salve can be applied externally as an analgesic liniment for rheumatism of the muscles and joints, and as a bath additive to stimulate blood flow under the skin. The antioxidant benefits of rosemary are also applicable to vascular disorders, and Dr. Duke recommends regularly drinking the tea or using generous amounts in cooking. The oil extract of rosemary leaf is among the most popular antioxidants on the market for stabilizing culinary oils.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help relieve flatulent dyspepsia (carminative) and to help ease (gastric) headaches. Topically in preparations to help relieve muscle and joint pain and support peripheral circulation.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.