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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is best appreciated as an aromatic culinary spice that adds distinctive flavor to chicken, breads, and many other foods. Well known to ancient peoples, this plant has also been touted as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, such as improving memory, relieving muscle pain, and stimulating the circulatory and nervous systems.
Native to Portugal and the Mediterranean area, rosemary is now grown in several parts of the world, especially Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and France. The plant takes its name from ros marinus, a Latin term meaning "sea dew." It is an erect evergreen shrub that grows to a height of two meters. Rosemary thrives in somewhat dry soil and a light, warm environment. The woody rootstock bears rigid branches with fissured bark. The long, linear, needle-like leaves are dark green above and white beneath. Both the fresh and dried leaves are pungent. The small flowers are pale blue. The leaves and parts of the flowers contain volatile oil.
The leaves and twigs of the rosemary plant are used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Rosemary is used for treating people with the following types of conditions and symptoms.
Traditionally, rosemary has been employed as a diuretic (for increasing urine production) and antispasmodic, and to stimulate menstrual blood flow, as well as externally as a poultice for wound healing.
Rosemary is available in the following forms.
How to Take It
The following are the recommended doses for rosemary.
Externally, rosemary may be used as follows.
Rosemary is generally considered safe and devoid of adverse side effects when taken in recommended doses. However, there have been occasional reports of allergic reactions. Large quantities of rosemary leaves, particularly due to the rosemary oil, can cause serious adverse side effects, including coma, spasm, and vomiting, and, in some cases, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which can result in death. Do not use rosemary in quantities larger than those used in foods if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Rosemary oil, taken orally, can trigger convulsions; epileptic patients should exercise caution in using rosemary and never ingest quantities larger than those used in foods. Topical preparations containing rosemary oil are potentially harmful to hypersensitive people who may be allergic to camphor.
No harmful drug interactions have been reported.
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