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Edition 9: July 2009

Edition 9: July 2009

What Herb is That?
Rosemary
Edible digestive restores memory

ROSEMARY belongs to the Lamiaceae plant family and is native to Asia Minor and southern Europe (particularly the Mediterranean region). Rosemary is often found growing wild near the seashore, hence its Latin name Rosmarinus which literally translates as dew of the sea.
Rosemary is an evergreen bush or shrub with spiky, silver-green leaves and pale blue flowers. It grows up to six feet in height in warmer climates but no more than four feet in cooler climates.
There are many cultivated species of Rosemary varying in leaf and flower colour, however for medicinal purposes (and culinary), the traditional Rosmarinus officinalis is the most valued species of Rosemary.
Once it is successfully established, rosemary herb plants require very little care and watering to thrive; they tend to like a lot of sun and good drainage, and rarely require fertiliser.
Rosemary has a long history of medicinal use; in centuries past, Rosemary was burned to clear the air of infectious disease during the various plagues of Europe.
It was burned as incense in religious ceremonies for purification, cleansing and healing - often in place of more costly incense, an old French name for it was Incensier.
Both the Greeks and the Romans regarded Rosemary as a sacred herb and decorated statues with wreaths of Rosemary. It became the emblem of fidelity for lovers and was used at weddings, with brides carrying sprigs in wedding bouquets.
It was also a symbol associated with death and a sprig was carried at funerals and thrown into the grave. This is still a custom in Wales.
One legend compares the growth of the plant with the height of the Saviour and declares that after 33 years it increases in breadth, but never in height.
Planted around a home, it was reputed to ward off witches; by the 16th Century this practice came to signify a household where the women ruled. Men were known to rip out the rosemary plants to try and prove otherwise!  
Both Greek and Roman students wore garlands of Rosemary to further learning in their studies, believing it stimulated the memory. William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) and 17th Century herbalist John Gerard agreed.
Rosemary is also reputed to increase hair growth by stimulating the oily secretions of the hair follicles. A water-alcohol tincture of rosemary as a hair rinse strengthens and enhances brown-toned hair. The one-time Austrian Empress Sisi attributed her legendary hair to the use of rosemary tinctures.  A lotion from leafy rosemary branches can be prepared by simmering them in water for 30 minutes before straining and cooling. It can be used as the final hair rinse.
A tea can be made from Rosemary by using the fresh flowering tips; it can be drunk or used as a gargle for throat and mouth infections, gum disease and halitosis.
Helpful for chills and headaches
Rosemary is good for “cold” conditions, including chills and headaches that are eased by warm compress rather than ice packs. Soak a flannel in the hot infusion and use for headaches and sprains.
The tea is useful in treating the nerves and poor circulation. It stimulates blood circulation in the skin, reduces pain associated with sprains and dislocations and helps with rheumatism. It also helps alleviate  menstrual problems, helping to bring on periods.  
Rosemary tea serves as an excellent treatment for digestive maladies and relieves gastric cramps; it has been found useful in atonic dyspepsia -  indigestion and stiffness in the stomach. It benefits the liver and gall bladder.
The rosemary plant can also be eaten with food and as a condiment for flavoring it not only tastes delicious, but it also activates the stomach's digestive processes. It is especially valuable in the digestion of starchy foods and vegetables like eggplant and lima beans besides rich meats such as pork, beef and lamb.
Laboratory studies have shown that rosemary slows the growth of several bacteria such as E-coli and S-aureus that are involved in food spoilage; and may perform better than some commercial food preservatives.
Rosemary’s preservative action may help prevent food poisoning on your picnics. Mix the crushed leaves generously with any meats, tuna or potato salads; its anti-oxidant action helps stop fats oxidising and turning rancid.
NB: The herb Rosemary should not be used medicinally in pregnancy (unless as a flavouring in small quantities in food) or those with epilepsy (it may cause seizures) and by those with high blood pressure.


Fact File

Name: Rosemary
Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Medicinal Properties of Rosemary:  Antispasmodic, emmenagogue, (contracts uterus) stimulant, bitter tonic, astringent, carminative, (settles stomach) diaphoretic, (induces sweating) nervine. Stimulant, anti-bacterial, decongestant, diuretic and anti-fungal.
Useful for:  Pain relieving, circulation problems, restoring memory loss; mental fatigue, nervous exhaustion, cellulite, arthritis, colds, bronchitis, fluid retention and sinusitis. Enhances the central nervous system, aids metabolism, and can help to dispel headaches.
 


Essential Oil of the Month
Rosemary
Rosemary the all-round activator; dispels laziness

ROSEMARY essential oil settles digestive upsets, easing colitis, flatulence and stomach pains and it also counters food poisoning.
It will stimulate the liver to process the toxins being carried from the muscles by the lymph. This will prevent lactic and uric acid build-ups in the joints and muscles. The Detox action is also useful when dealing with toxins that arrive via the stomach. As a liver decongestant it could help hepatitis and cirrhosis as well as gallstones or bile duct blockage.
By improving blood and lymph flow, it is soothing to muscle aches and pains, calming knots and spasms therefore very useful in massage blends. Rosemary oil is ideal for sports people in that it improves muscle function and decreases after work-out burn.
It is also useful for rheumatism, arthritis and gout and healing for sprains and strains. In a massage blend it acts as an excellent nerve stimulant, helping to tone temporarily paralysed limbs.  
Rosemary can be a valuable heart tonic and cardiac stimulant, normalising low blood pressure. It energises the Qi-energy of the heart, strengthening the heartbeat and encouraging arterial flow. It is great for cold hands and feet.
Rosemary helps calm headaches (especially when connected to gastric problems) and ease sinusitis. It counters viral infections and is a tonic for the lungs, calming asthma and breathing difficulties.
Rosemary is wonderful for the skin, helping cellular activity, balancing oiliness, healing acne and acne rosacea. It can be irritating on sensitive or skin that is too dry. It helps sagging skin with its astringent toning action and relieves congestion, puffiness and swelling.
For the scalp it deals admirably with dandruff and helps combat falling hair and scalp irritations; thus is a great additive to shampoos and conditioning treatments. 
Rosemary seems to relieve menstrual cramps and combat scanty periods. Its diuretic properties are useful for fluid retention during menstruation and may be employed as an aid in weight loss and cellulite treatments.
Rosemary oil stimulates the brain and the central nervous system. It revives the senses, improving memory and countering depression.
It is known as cephalic, which means it stimulates mental activity and clarity, in doing so it boosts confidence and energises melancholia. Rosemary assists one in keeping good memories and preventing mental exhaustion, when life puts very heavy loads on our minds.
Rosemary helps in cases of lack of drive by strengthening the will power and promoting the readiness to act and the ability to organise. It is the ultimate activator that seems to cause every cell in the body to increase its rate of vibration. When we inhale the fragrance, something seems to happen on a finer level, as our willpower and willingness to act become extremely acute.
Activate your day's energy
A few drops of rosemary in the bath or wash water in the morning will activate the energy we need for tackling what we have planned, countering the tendency for inner laziness. Rosemary oil can be used when a certain problem causes us feelings of aversion, which prevent us from taking action towards solving difficulties involved right from the start. 
This warm, pungent invigorating oil stimulates yang energy, rectifying both mental and physical malaise. It is suited to the cold, debilitated individual who has a poor sense of self-worth and who lacks a strong healthy ego, an ego that values its place in the world and goes after its own fulfillment.  This oil boosts the morale and emboldens those who lack faith in their own potential.
Rosemary oil helps bring closure to relationships, easing feelings of grief and loneliness; this allows the lung energy to expand and nourish the body. The oil helps you take responsibility for the relationship, by acknowledging how it served you; learning the lesson allows you to move on.
Rosemary’s energy helps restore innocence and promotes a return to wholeness. Incest survivors benefit from the oil’s soothing and nurturing powers, especially during the recovery process. Energetically it transforms their feelings of uncleanness and shame, enabling a recovery of self-esteem.
Rosemary is not tender and enticing like Rose or other oils, yet it inspires with its reviving freshness, the fervent faith and joy of love. It enhances the spiritual dedication of love, rather than romantic ecstasy.
 As the smell of remembrance, it helps us to recall loved ones and to remember our own true path.


Fact File

Name: Rosemary
Latin name: Rosmarinus Officinalis
Steam distilled from the flowering tops
Aroma: A refreshing herbal fragrance, clear and penetrating, camphorous.
Properties:  Stimulant, tonic, quells pain, anti-depressant, anti - rheumatic, antiseptic, anti - spasmodic, astringent, digestive, calms stomach, relieves gastric disorders,  liver and gall bladder tonic, promotes menstrual flow, arrests bleeding in wounds, increases blood pressure, reduces nervous disorders, increases perspiration, stimulates the mind. Avoid during pregnancy, or with high blood pressure or epilepsy.
Rosemary blends well with: Basil, Cedarwood, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lime, lemon-grass, Orange, tangerine.


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