We have all heard of the widely used herb, Rosemary… most known for its use as a food seasoning. Usually found growing by the ocean, its name derives from the Latin Rosmarinus officinalis which translates to “dew of the sea.” It emanates from the mint flower family, which also includes, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, and basil.
We are all either growing it in our gardens or know it to be the ‘secret ingredient’ in the Christmas stuffing. However, it does more than just add flavour!
What if I were to tell you that Rosemary’s origins trace back to the Mediterranean Regions, where the ancient Greeks had discovered its brain-stimulating properties and cognitive benefits, long before anyone else?
Rosemary comes in various forms, alternative to its whole dried form, each of which can be used for different benefits; powdered extracts, alcohol tinctures, teas, liquid extract and the most used of them all, rosemary oil… a true magic potion.
Here are the 5 health benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil!
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Enhances Memory and Improves Cognitive Skills
Rosemary works to improve cognitive functions and mental focus and has the potential to increase brain wave activity.
In a study named Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, published in 2016, researchers discovered that the inhalation of rosemary extract can increase cognitive performance and higher concentration levels, resulting in improved reflex, speed and accuracy. This sounds ideal!
It also has the ability to protect the brain against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
In the 2016 study, where the therapeutic potential of rosemary was tested for Alzheimer’s, researchers found that rosemary diterpenes benefit in tackling the disease. Additionally, it was found that other rosemary diterpenes such as carnosic acid have positively affected Parkinson’s disease.
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Increased Blood Flow and Circulation
Rosemary is known for its warm and stimulating nature. These traits mean that it can help to expand blood vessels and can improve the circulation of blood which has a positive domino effect on the rest of the body.
A lack of circulation can lead to cold or numb hands and feet, poor cognitive function, a weak immune system, weak nails, and hair loss. Good circulation means that vital nutrients and blood flow can reach all parts of the body.
In one study researchers showed the effects of rosemary essential oil on a woman with Reynaud’s disease who suffered from impaired circulation. By massaging rosemary oil into her hands, it was found that she gained more warmth and feeling in her fingers compared to a neutral oil.
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Stimulates Hair Growth
Hair oiling and scalp massaging have been a trending combo routine recently. Rosemary oil has been a huge rage on social media and bottles of it have been flying off the shelves. Is this all a fad that will blow over in a few weeks or should our hair and rosemary oil become best friends?
It’s the latter!
Rosemary oil has the magical ability to promote circulation which consequently supplies our dermal papilla cells and hair follicles with the blood and oxygen supply they need, which encourages a head of hair that is strong and healthy! Sounds amazing, right?
To impress you further, rosemary contains the ingredient, carnosic acid which aids in reversing nerve damage. This healing ability can help in rejuvenating the nerves in the scalp and thus can restore those gorgeous locks!
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Reduces Pain and Inflammation
This one amazes me. Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which literally means it can reduce pain, including sore joints and headaches.
In a 2017 study, researchers tested the ability of rosemary oil to reduce pain in 46 people with neuropathic pain related to diabetes. They found that through aroma therapy, rosemary had a significant effect on the reduction of neuropathic pain.
In another study, rosemary was also been shown to aid in relieving arthritic pain, gout pain, back pain, neck stiffness and sciatic nerve pain.
So, if your back is at you again, perhaps a rosemary bath is what you need!
Combats Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
If you want to clear your head or need a little boost of energy, then adding rosemary essential extract to an aromatherapy or diffuser might be just what the doctor ordered! Its aroma and calming nature can have a positive effect in reducing stress and relaxing tension in your body.
In a 2009 study, the essential oil displayed an ability to decrease the pulse rate, which in turn would reduce stress levels.
A 2013 study showed that inhaling rosemary oil can decrease anxiety and depression levels as well as act as a natural sleeping aid.
Researchers also found that exposure to rosemary extracts left partakers of the study feeling refreshed, alert, and happy.
Words by Shauna Whyte