January, as always, brings with it the perfect opportunity for warm kitchens filled with aromatic cooking. Whether you’re baking chicken dinner or savoury scones, it’s no coincidence you reach rosemary and it’s garden cousins. They naturally bring an uplifting punch into the darkest corners of the winter. Rosemary, for one, offering a powerhouse of nature’s best healing secret!
Why do we cook with Rosemary?
The tiny leaves of the Rosemary plant (rosemarinus officinalis) are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Manganese, within, helps to improve digestion and increase circulation. In the depths of winter, when we tend to eat denser foods and yet require blood-flow to keep us warm, rosemary should be your best friend.
Believed to reduce the rate of oxidation in meat and thus prolong its shelf-life, cooking meat and poultry with rosemary is not a coincidence. Rather, the trend originates long ago for practical purposes. Further, rosemary can lower blood sugar, protect vision and eye health with a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, B-6 and iron.
Overtime, Rosemary features in various believable and rather far-fetched uses, all recorded none-the-less. Ancient Greek students are said to have adorned their bodies with rosemary oil as an antidote to the extreme pressure of stressful exams. The oil, a cognitive stimulant, was used to boost memory, focus and mental performance.
Used as a sterilizer during England’s bubonic plague of the 17th century, by the 18th century Spanish travellers believed rosemary would ward off witchcraft during their long journeys. Today, the powerful aromatherapy is touted as reducing the stress hormone cortisol, calming anxiety and generating a subtle uplifted mood. We still believe it to enhancing focus, as it did for our Greek friends long ago.
In Simple Terms
Back in the castle gardens of the 18th century, and earlier, where rosemary was grown and harvested for culinary and healing purposes, words like anti-microbial weren’t fanned around. Let’s dig deeper to understand what they knew then, in more simple terms.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, rosemary has significant anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-tumorigenic, antinociceptive, and neuroprotective properties. But what do these terms mean? (Definitions sourced from The National Cancer Institute.)
Anti-microbial: A substance that kills microorganisms such as bacteria or mold, or stops them from growing and causing disease.
Anti-inflammatory: Having to do with reducing inflammation.
Anti-oxidant: A substance that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin A, C, E, and other natural substances.
Antiapoptotic: Something that prevents apoptosis. Apoptosis is a type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell leads to its death.
Antinociceptive: A substance that inhibits the sensation of pain.
Neuroprotective properties: Serving to protect neurons from injury or degeneration, resulting in salvaging and recovery of the nervous system.
Based on the list above, it’s no wonder rosemary is nature’s healing secret. When treating acne, dermatitis, eczema and even stubborn psoriasis, rosemary reduces irritation and pain, alleviates inflammation and brings skin’s pH balance back to neutral. Meanwhile it adds vitamins and nutrients to skin. The maddening itchy-affects of these skin conditions are quickly relieved by the properties of rosemary, even as wash away products, on problem skin.
Create align-Mint with Rosemary
Dhana Self-Care uses rosemary extract in its Align-mint Shampoo & Body Bar. Gentle on sensitive, damaged skin and scalp, the complete healing action of this moisturizing shampoo bar works to bring pH back to neural, fight inflammation and revive damaged skin. It is Dhana’s bestselling bar, helping numerous clients heal their sore skin and stubborn psoriasis.
Now it’s your turn! Tell us how you use rosemary in your skincare regime, favourite recipes or aromatherapy rituals. We’d love to add to the eclectic array of uses for this diverse herb.