Rosmarinus Officinalis (rosemary) is a woody, fragrant, evergreen, perennial herb with needle-like leaves and blue, white, pink or purple flowers. The shrub is native to the Mediterranean region and today it is being extensively cultivated worldwide, due to its low requirements for growth and its wide variety of uses and plenty beneficial properties. To grow rosemary needs loam soil, good drainage and a position in the sun. It is very tolerant to water shortage and it will survive through long periods of drought. The name “rosemary” actually derives from the Latin words ros and marinus, the first one meaning “dew” and the second one “of the sea” or translated “dew of the sea”, which refers to the shrubs ability to survive without water, using solely the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live. Rosemary was one of the earliest plants to be used for food, medicine and magic by people, and it was regarded as sacred by many civilizations throughout history and both its culinary and medicinal uses are well documented. Rosemary Oil Extract (ROE) also referred to as Rosemary Leaf Extract, Rosemary Oleoresin Extract or Rosemary Antioxidant is a 100% antioxidant extracted from fresh or partially dried rosemary leafs with the help of supercritical CO2 (carbon dioxide). This method helps to maintain the integrity of the oil components and produces a highly concentrated finished product. Its main component is carnosic acid and it also contains rosmarinic acid, rosmaridiphenol, carnosol, rosmanol and rosmaridiquinone among others. At room temperature it is a thick green-brownish liquid with a mild herbaceous scent, reminiscent of rosemary. It is a very effective antioxidant that slows down the oxidation of natural materials and prevents them from going rancid. Rosemary antioxidant is used in cosmetic products and also in the juice and soft drink industry, because it helps to stabilize the shelf life of the product, by preventing the oxidation of other ingredients and at the same time it is a wonderful organic substitute for other harmful additives that also has a plethora of uses and benefits for the body. ROE is rapidly gaining popularity because of its powerful antioxidant capability and it’s becoming more commonly used as a natural replacement in both food and cosmetic industries for those synthetic, chemically derived and harmful additives. Based on the results of hundreds of scientific researches rosemary extract has been proven to have many beneficial effects on human health, wellbeing, skin, allergies and even brain activity. In 1992 a U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist Dr. James Duke established a Phytochemical Database that lists all the known chemical compounds for more than 1,000 edible plants. Rosemary, according to Duke contains more than two dozens of antioxidants, and in his database it is the only component to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant as well as immune regulating activities all together as a single plant. Researchers from the University of Medicine in Nagoya, Japan, examined the protective effects of rosmarinic acid on laboratory animals with cognitive dysfunction. After being fed several doses of rosemary extract, they exhibited a higher level of performance on memory tests of object recognition and running through a maze. The scientists concluded that daily intake of ROE may protect against memory impairment which is closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Two other researches that were conducted on carnosic acid at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California and at the Iwate University in Japan also showed that carnosic acid activates a signaling pathway that protects brain cells from free radicals that can lead to stroke and other conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Numerous other studies have been conducted on this topic and to sum it up here is a short list of rosemary extract’s proven activities: Rosemary Extract, provides a powerful antioxidant protection, It may slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, It protects brain and skin cells from free radicals and the normal effects of aging, It protects cells from carcinogens, It inhibits the growth of cancer cells, It helps reducing allergy symptoms, especially those caused by dust mites, It increases the potency of vitamin E, It raises high blood pressure, therefore it's used to treat patients with low blood pressure, and Avoid Rosemary if you have hypertension.
The name Rosemary was derived from the Latin words ros: “dew”, and marinus: “pertaining to the sea”. Together it stands for “dew of the sea”. This nomenclature refers to two things, the first being the fact that Rosemary thrives in areas close to the sea. The second is that in the majority of places it does not require any water to grow. The humidity carried by the sea is sufficient for Rosemary’s survival and growth. The history of Rosemary goes back thousands of years, starting with the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Rosemary was held in high regard for its mystical and healing powers. Almost all Roman and Greek gardens contained Rosemary bushes. They believed that Rosemary protected them from evil spirits and that it also boosted memory strength. Rosemary was brought to Britain by the Roman armies. Over centuries it spread its influence throughout Europe and eventually reached the New Worlds of the Americas and Australia. Throughout the years Rosemary was constantly appearing in medicinal books. The oldest of such was “De Materia Medica” written by the Greek physician, Pedanuis Dioscorides. He lived between the years 40-90 AD. It later appeared around 1525 in the “Herbal” published by Rycharde Banckes. In this book he recommended Rosemary for cosmetic uses to preserve a healthy looking skin. This claim had reappeared in Gervase Markham’s work “English Housewife”, which was published in 1615. An English botanist, herbalist and physician, Nicholas Culpepper, wrote one of the most flattering descriptions of Rosemary. In his 1653 book, the “Complete Herbal” he wrote: “The Rosemary water is an admirable cure-all remedy of all kinds of cold, loss of memory, headache, and coma. It receives and preserves natural heat, restores body function and capabilities, even at late age. There are not that many remedies producing that many good effects.” Rosemary was later used massively in 1665 when the plague struck upon London. People carried and sniffed Rosemary sprigs in order to protect themselves from the pandemic. In fact, the demand for Rosemary was so high, that its price at the time increased more than six times its previous value. Rosemary was regarded, and still is regarded today, as a symbol of remembrance and love. A tradition of placing Rosemary in the tomb to remember the dead had developed in ancient Egypt. Early Europeans, who commonly threw sprigs of Rosemary into graves, so that the dead would not be forgotten, adopted this tradition. This tradition carried on until modern times and is still sometimes used today. It even got pointed out in two of Shakespeare’s greatest works, “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet” in which Juliet was buried with Rosemary, so she would be remembered. On a brighter side, Rosemary has been used for a long time in wedding ceremonies and is a long-standing symbol of romance, matrimony and love. It was used to help the married couple remember their wedding wows, to remind them to remain faithful to each other, and to ensure that they would always remember their friends and families, even after starting a new life together. There is another intriguing anecdote regarding Rosemary and Emperor Napoleon’s obsession with this herb. According to an old French legend, a man who does not like the smell of Rosemary is an inferior lover. When French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte married Empress Josephine, it is said she had asked him to wash with Rosemary water, before entering their bedchambers. Rosemary water was definitely Napoleon’s favourite perfume. Chardin the “Perfumer of Their Imperial and Royal Majesties” recorded in his log that Napoleon emptied 162 bottles of Rosemary water in the first three months of 1806. It is also recorded that the Emperor favoured Rosemary for its brain stimulation, antiseptic properties and for restoring body vitality.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe and North Africa. Nowadays it’s being cultivated worldwide from California to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Tunis, France, England, Russia, Middle East, China and it also appears in many other countries. The world’s biggest producers of Rosemary Essential Oil are France, Spain and Tunisia
Rosemary Essential Oil is used extensively as a fragrance in cosmetics. It is used as flavouring in the food industry and is an as an extremely important oil for aromatherapy and other forms of holistic medicine.
Rosemary Essential Oil can act as an analgesic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and astringent. It is useful as a carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, choleretic, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, diaphoretic, digestive and diuretic. Other applications for the Essential Oil include being emmenagogue, fungicidal, hepatic, hypertensive, nervine, parasiticide, restorative, rubefacient, stimulant (Circulatory, adrenal cortex), stomachic, sudorific, tonic or vulnerary agent.