Rosemary – a versatile and essential oil for your medicine chest

Essential oil of Rosemary

Rosemary is one of the most common and important plants used in aromatherapy. The rosemary bush is common throughout Europe, but is most at home near the sea. In fact its name derives from the Latin words for ‘dew of the sea’, (‘ros’ and ‘marinus’)

Rosemary has a long history, going back to Greek and Roman times, of being used in medicine, cooking, magic and religious rites.

Essential oil of Rosemary is a versatile oil that has many useful properties. It has been used for a wide range of complaints including respiratory and circulatory disorders, liver congestion, digestive and nervous complaints, muscular and rheumatic pain, skin and hair problems.

The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the rosemary bush and its main chemical constituents are pinene, cineol, camphor, camphene, bornyl acetate, borneol and verbenon.

Rosemary oil has a fresh, piercing scent that is mildly pine-like but sweeter. The essential oil has an overall stimulating and invigorating effect that works on both mental and physical levels. Because of this Rosemary is often used where there is a loss or reduction in function such as loss of smell, poor sight, speech problems, temporary paralysis etc.

One of its better known properties is as a brain stimulant, and for improving mental clarity and memory recall.

The piercing qualities of Rosemary make it valuable for respiratory problems ranging from colds, catarrh, and sinusitis to chest infections and asthma.

Rosemary can also be a very effective painkiller, but without the sedative effects usually associated with other analgesic oils.

Here are some ways you can use Rosemary essential oil.

Physical Benefits and Effects:

Muscle Relief, Aches and Pains – The oil’s stimulating properties will increase circulation and can help relieve muscle tension and aches. Add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage into the affected parts. Alternatively add a few drops to your bath and have a long soak.

Hair Care and Dandruff Control – Rosemary’s stimulating effect helps control dandruff and boost shine. Try adding a few drops to your shampoo.

Cough and Cold Symptoms – Several compounds in rosemary essential oil help alleviate cold symptoms and loosen chest congestion. The best way to use it in this instance is via steam inhalation. Add a few drops to some hot water and gently inhale.

Adrenal Gland Stimulation – Rosemary has strong effects on the adrenal and other glands of the body. Apply via massage over the site of the adrenal glands, or through inhalation, or through bathing.

Room Freshener – The anti-parasitical, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of rosemary make it a popular choice for room diffusers to control mould and uplift spirits.

Mental/Psyche Effects:

Increasing Memory – Recent studies of college students proved that using aromas during study time increased the student’s ability to memorise key facts and concepts and increased test performances. In this case, the oil is best applied as some form of inhalation, either through steam inhalation, room diffusers or simply by putting a few drops of oil on a tissue.

Mental Concentration and Stimulation – Rosemary helps boost recall and mental clarity by working directly on the central nervous system. Use as above.

Decreases Fatigue and Mild Depression – Fatigue and depression brought on by weariness or feeling “run down” are relieved by the stimulating and energizing effects of rosemary essential oil.

Precautions for Use:  Generally Rosemary is a very safe oil. However because the  essential oil has a stimulating effect on the body care should be taken if you have epilepsy. Heavy overuse could result in nervous twitches or muscle spasms.  Also avoid if there is high blood pressure, but conversely can be useful in cases of low blood pressure. Avoid in the first three months of pregnancy.