Rosemary oil, rich in phenolic compounds, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids, is used in food and cosmetic industries as well as in aromatherapy. Research has established that a minimum concentration of rosemary essential oil contributes to halting the growth of various pathogens such as E. Coli. Moreover, it bears a bactericidal effect – able to inhibit six microorganisms that usually adversely affect meat – as well as an antifungal action since, as established by surveys, it can partially inhibit the growth and the toxin production of various fungi.
Rosemary decoction combats diarrhea and hair loss, while it is appropriate -amongst others- for treating weakness, headache, cold, overtiredness, exhaustion and depression. Recommended for cramps and stomach bloating, it can increase appetite causing gastric fluid secretion.
Rosemary is one of the main spices of the Mediterranean cuisine. It flavors baked potatoes as well as fried ones. It deliciously flavors bread, beef, lamb, fish, seafood, omelets, soups, sauces, vegetables and snails. Its dried leaves offer the touch of a welcome aroma to a variety of dishes; a trick poetically and aptly described in its Latin name, “rosmarinus” which means marine dew.
In ancient Greece rosemary sprigs were used in wreaths to crown goddess Venus as this herb was dedicated to her.
It was thus considered a plant that protects beauty and love. Rosemary essential oil was used in the 14th century to create a very popular cosmetic product for the queen of Hungary, while during the 16th and 17th century rosemary became a popular digestif.
Another property of the rosemary essential oil is the enhancement of cognitive function; it can stimulate the nervous system improving memory quality, concentration and mood.
It can reduce blood glucose and cholesterol levels and help in body weight control. Recent research confirms the significant part rosemary plays in the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids and notes that it may serve as a potential hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic agent.
Meanwhile, rosemary has an antioxidant activity. It is widely known that free radicals have been associated with various biological phenomena such as inflammation, aging, carcinogenesis. The antioxidant properties of the rosemary extracts are due to its phenolic components. Many of the plant components have exhibited its anti-cancer properties in both in vitro and in vivo models.
It has an antimicrobial action and until the early 20th century it was actually used as an antiseptic in French hospitals.