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Impressive Health Benefits of Rosemary

In This Article
What is Rosemary?
Rosemary Nutrition
Health Benefits of Rosemary
Precautions & Side effects

Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits.
The most interesting health benefits of rosemary include its ability to boost memory, improve mood, treat Alzheimer’s, heal cancer, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and protect the immune system. The herb also helps stimulate circulation, detoxify the body, protect the body from bacterial infections, prevent premature aging, and heal skin conditions.Other benefits includes providing support for the liver and lungs, providing relief from pain and promoting respiratory function.

 

What is Rosemary?

Rosemary is a very popular plant, a perennial herb of the mint family that originates from the Mediterranean region. It has fine needle-like leaves with a silver touch and pink, purple, white, or blue flowers. It is one of the most commonly found herbs in a spice rack. The herb has a warm, bitter, and astringent taste but yet it gives a wonderful flavor and aroma to soups, sauces, stews, roasts, and stuffing. It can be used in dried powder form or as fresh leaves. Its leaves can be used to prepare tea, essential oil, and liquid extract.

The Greeks used this plant to improve memory and stimulate brain function since it is rich in antioxidants that can help slow down or prevent oxidative damage to important cellular components. 

Scientifically, Rosemary is known as Rosmarinus officinalis and is often found in gardens for its ornamental purposes, while its leaves are used as a flavoring agent.

Fast facts on rosemary

  • Rosemary is a perennial plant (it lives more than 2 years).
  • The leaves are often used in cooking.
  • Possible health benefits include improved concentration, digestion, and brain aging.
  • Very high doses may cause vomiting, coma, and pulmonary edema.

 

Rosemary Nutrition
Fresh rosemary has a very high reserve of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, folate, as well as minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, and manganese.It has abundant antioxidants in its phenolic compounds such as diterpene, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid, as well as in its essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, α-terpineol, and α-pinene.

The herb has high dietary fiber. It is low in cholesterol and sodium but high in saturated fats.

Nutrition Info of Rosemary (per 100g)

  • Calories- 131
  • Total Fat-  6g
  • Dietary Fiber- 56% RDI
  • Protein- 3.3g
  • Vitamin A- 58% RDI
  • Vitamin C- 36% RDI
  • Vitamin B-6 – 15% RDI
  • Calcium – 31% RDI
  • Iron – 37% RDI
  • Sodium – 1% RDI
  • Potassium – 19% RDI
  • Magnesium – 22% RDI

 

Amazing Health Benefits of Rosemary

The top health benefits of rosemary include:

  • Promotes Immune Function
    The immune system and indeed every other system functions at its best when they are provided with the right nutrients to keep these systems functioning. Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds thus, it may assist the body to boost the functions of the immune system as well as improve the circulation of substances that fight infections around the body. Some studies show that the anti-oxidants found in Rosemary play an important role in neutralizing the harmful or damaging results that excessive free radicals cause in the human body and improve the immunity of the body to pathogenic microbes. In turn, the health of the body is preserved much more efficiently than hoping it carries out its mandate on its own.
  • Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
    Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.

    Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals.

  • Improving digestion
    In Europe, rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion. In fact, Germany's Commission E has approved rosemary for the treatment of indigestion. However, it should be noted that there is currently no meaningful scientific evidence to support this claim.

  • Hair Growth
    The oil of rosemary promotes hair growth, prevents baldness, slows graying, treats dandruff, and dry scalp. Studies show that the herb can androgenetic alopecia (permanent balding) cases by boosting hair growth. [3] It also promotes healing by increasing microcirculation of scalp and decreases hair loss after shampooing.

  • Prevents Indigestion
    Indigestion is usually the sign of an underlying ailment and is characterized by discomfort in the upper abdominal region. To ease this discomfort, the Rosemary extract may prove to be helpful. This extract can effectively aid complete digestion of ingested food particles and is also suitable for treating stomach disorders that involve excessive acid production, or dysfunction, such as acid reflux.

  • Protects The Skin And Nourishes The Hair
    Rosemary may stimulate free blood flow to the skin and help in management of conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and even fungal infections thanks to its antiseptic properties. Rosemary has also been used to support healthy hair growth and prevent hair conditions like alopecia (the partial or complete loss of hair from the hair growing regions) and can be used to support the management of dandruff on the scalp, especially when it is combined and used in anti-dandruff lotions.

  • Enhancing memory and concentration
    According to research outlined in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, the aroma from rosemary can improve a person's concentration, performance, speed, and accuracy and, to a lesser extent, their mood.

  • Prevents Alzheimer’s
    Rosemary prevents beta-amyloid plaques and suppresses acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which are primary causes of Alzheimer’s, ataxia and dementia.It has also been linked to stimulating cognitive activity in the elderly as well as those suffering from other acute cognitive disorders. 

  • Provides Protection To The Brain
    Rosemary contains important constituents which give it the ability to buffer the effects of free radicals on the brain. Rosemary may also offer protection from premature brain ageing, prevent brain damage as a result of it and can improve recovery in patients who suffer from neuro-cognitive disorders. Other important components in Rosemary may even protect the brain from tissue inflammation and damage and reduce clotting of blood in the brain, reducing likelihood of stroke.

  • Cancer
    Research published in Oncology Reports found that "crude ethanolic rosemary extract (RO)" slowed the spread of human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells."
    Another study, published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, concluded that rosemary might be useful as an anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.
    Also, a report published in the Journal of Food Science revealed that adding rosemary extract to ground beef reduces the formation of cancer-causing agents that can develop during cooking.

  • Liver Detoxification
    Rosemary has been linked to lower levels of cirrhosis and a faster healing time of the liver, which is one of the slowest organs to heal. It also reduces plasma liver enzymes, which may cause type-2 diabetes. Carnosol prevents liver tissue distortion. It also prevents depletion of liver glycogen, the energy storage molecules.

  • Enhances Concentration And Retention
    Rosemary may be able to stimulate the brain thus, enhancing cognition. When used in aromatherapy, the fragrance of Rosemary passes directly to the brain via the epithelium in the nose and increases attentive span, concentration and retentive memory. As it works its way to improving the functions of the brain, Rosemary may also help improve mood and alleviate depression and anxiety as well as brining about a greater sense of accomplishment and wellbeing.

  • Protection against macular degeneration
    A study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, led by Dr. Stuart A. Lipton, Ph.D. and colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, revealed that a carnosic acid, which is a major component of rosemary, can significantly promote eye health.

    This could have clinical applications for diseases affecting the outer retina, such as age-related macular degeneration - the most common eye disease in the United States.

  • Reduces Stress
    The aroma of rosemary alone has been linked to improving mood and clearing the mind. It has a calming effect on those who suffer from chronic anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it reduces salivary cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, which helps ease tension in the body.

  • Provides Support For The Liver And Lungs
    Rosemary extract may help prevent liver damage since it can decrease markers of oxidative stress in the liver. It may also offer protection to the liver tissue from disease and prevent liver glycogen (energy storage molecule) from depleting. It also helps reset elevated liver enzymes, a precursor sign of liver failure or hepatitis.

  • Balances Hormone
    Carnosol in rosemary balances androgen and estrogen hormones in the body. It also lowers DHT (dihydrotestosterone) hormone, which helps improve prostate health and enhance hair growth.

  • Provides Relief From Pain
    Rosemary can act as a pain relieving agent as such, it may be effectively used to fight painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and stomach cramps. Rosemary is also frequently used in aromatherapy for relaxing the nervous system since it induces calmness while relieving pain caused by arthritis. The oil derived from Rosemary may also be used to massage pained areas and even in vapor baths to provide relief from pain. The ability of Rosemary to relieve pain and modulate nervous system activity can also make it useful in treating intractable nerve pain.

  • Skin Care
    The antioxidants in the essential oils of rosemary help improve the quality of the skin. It has a potent anti-aging effect and helps heal blemishes and increase the natural shine. Also, its extracts with citrus supplements prevent skin against UV light damage, much better than the supplements alone.

  • Anti-Spasmodic Actions
    Involuntary contractions are most times as a result of an underlying medical condition that can contribute to a deterioration of health if not properly treated. Rosemary is able to provide relief to nearly all types of spasms as it may effectively initiate normal contractions in nerves, muscles and even the intestines in order to promote better movement of the muscles and organized or regulated contraction in other parts of the body. Spasms can afflict any muscle system, and given diet is on point, rosemary is a welcome addition.

  • Reduce Cough
    The leaves of rosemary remove the phlegm and mucus from the respiratory system, providing relief from a cough, cold, flu, and even asthma. Rosmarinic acid prevents any kind of fluid accumulation in the lungs.

  • Prevents Blood Clot
    Due to its abundant antioxidant profile, rosemary has an anti-thrombotic effect and helps prevent blood clots.

  • Boosts Immunity
    The active components in rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature. This represents a three-pronged attack against many different diseases and pathogens that could threaten the immune system or damage the integrity of the body.

 

Precautions
It may cause a number of side effects that include some of the things it is able to relieve, such as stomach ache and indigestion if consumed in large quantities. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding are advised to stay away from Rosemary as it may affect the uterus and result in miscarriages or genetic defects.

Some sources say that it may irritate the skin and increase the blood glucose level thus, it may not be a good choice for diabetics and it may even increase the risk of bleeding, because vomiting and may interfere with other medications.

In summary, when consumed in food, Rosemary is likely safe to use and may also be applied to the skin or inhaled, however, when consumed in large amounts, serious side effects may result necessitating the need to speak to a health professional before intake.  

Side effects
Rosemary is usually safe when taken in low doses. However, extremely large doses can trigger serious side effects, although this is rare.

Side effects include:

  • vomiting
  • spasms
  • coma
  • pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)

High doses of rosemary may cause miscarriage; therefore it is not advisable for pregnant women to take any supplemental rosemary.


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