Rosemary extracts or diluted rosemary oil was used for thousands of years as a salve to be applied externally on painful muscles and joints stiffened by rheumatism. Added to bath water, it provides a relaxing soak that eased pain and stimulated blood flow.
The remarkable rosemary also has a long history for improving memory and wasused as a symbol of remembrance. In Europe, mourners would throw it into graves as a symbolic promise to remember their dead. Even Shakespeare knew of the value of rosemary: in the play Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
This ancient belief is more than folklore; studies indicate that the rosemary leaf contains dozens of different types of antioxidants and other compounds which affect the brain by preventing the breakdown of a chemical nerve transmitter called acetylcholine. This aids in long-term memory retention and may even be beneficial for those suffering from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, the youthful herb is even thought to contain four anti-cataract compounds and helps to prevent and treat cataracts in the eyes.
Essential oil of rosemary is used to clear nasal and lung congestion due to allergies, colds, flu and open sinus cavities by inhaling it in a steam bath. Having a bath infused with a few drops of the essential oils of rosemary and lavender help to uplift mood and relax tension in individuals suffering from postpartum depression.
Rosemary oil mixed with other oils and added to shampoos has also been used for centuries to help stimulate circulation to the scalp, keep hair healthy and to prevent hair loss.
Concentrated essential oil of rosemary should never be taken internally as it may irritate the stomach, intestines and kidneys. Its medicinal use should also be avoided by pregnant or nursing mother and by individuals who suffer from high blood pressure or epilepsy.