The evergreen perennial known as rosemary has a plethora of uses in addition to serving as a culinary spice. Herbalists believe that its leaves stimulate the circulatory and nervous systems and therefore serve as an antidepressant. Rosemary leaves also are thought to contain anti-spasmodic chemicals that relax the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. In addition they are used to treat muscle pain. In recent years, rosemary has developed a reputation for antibacterial and antifungal action, and herbalists recommend that the leaves be used externally for skin infections. Rosemary is also prescribed as a gargle for bad breath. Before refrigeration was invented, crushed rosemary leaves were wrapped around meats to prevent them from becoming rancid, and to give them a pleasant fragrance and flavor.
Taken internally for:
Applied externally, as an antiseptic, for:
Over the counter:
Rosemary is available as dried bulk, in tincture, and as two types of oil, one for internal use and the other for external application.
Infusion: 1 tsp. crushed leaves per cup of boiling water steeped for 10 to 15 minutes. Consumed to settle the stomach or clear a stuffy nose. For children younger than 2 years, the infusion should be diluted with more water.