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Aromatherapy
Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary (botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis) is a wooded herb that is perennial having aromatic evergreen, silver-grey leaves resembling needles. This herb is indigenous to the Mediterranean region and belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The herb has derived its name from the Latin term rosmarinus that denotes ‘dew' (ros) and ‘sea' (marinus), together called the ‘dew of the sea'. It is believed that this name has been designated to the herb since is often found growing naturally in the costal areas.

This herb is found in various forms varying from the tall straight variety to sprawling types. When growing straight, the rosemary plant may be as high as 1.5 m or five feet. As aforementioned, the leaves of this herb are needle-like and evergreen in nature, growing throughout the year, and their length usually vary between 2 cm and 4 cm, while they are about 2 mm to 5 mm in width. The surface of the leaves is green, while they are white underneath having thick, short woolly bristles. The flowers of this herb are found in various hues, including white, blue, purple and pink. Among these, only the aromatic blue flowers are steam distilled to obtain the rosemary essential oil.

Chemical analysis of rosemary essential oil has revealed that its main elements include a-pinene, bornyl acetate, borneol, b-pinene, camphor, camphene, limonene and 1,8-cineole.

The rosemary essential oil is also known as the ‘I remember' oil. The variety of rosemary herb from which essential oil is obtained by steam distillation bears pale blue flowers. Rosemary essential oil has been in use for several centuries and people in ancient Greece burned the oil in shrines, while the Romans considered this natural oil as an emblem of rejuvenation. On the other hand, the Moors or the Black people grew this herb along their orchards to repel insects, while during the Middle Ages, people used the essential oil distilled from the aromatic flowers of rosemary as a fumigant to ward off evil spirits. In the recent past, people in France used rosemary essential oil to sanitize the hospital wards during epidemic outbreaks.

Rosemary essential oil also possesses numerous therapeutic properties and is used to treat and alleviate various conditions. This natural oil also possesses uplifting properties and its invigorating aroma has the ability to alleviate mental and physical exhaustion after a hard day's toil. It has been established that use of rosemary essential oil helps to alleviate inflexible, throbbing, exhausted or hackneyed muscles when it is used as a massage or bath oil following hectic activities. In addition, rosemary essential oil is also beneficial for the hair and helps to maintain its health and luster. This oil also helps to renew the skin. The therapeutic properties makes it essential to keep a bottle of rosemary essential oil in all first aid kits as it is antiseptic and helps in healing wounds and burns.

It may be noted that rosemary essential oil is highly valued for its stabilizing or additive properties and before the advent of refrigeration, it was frequently used to preserve foods and other substances.

This natural oil has numerous therapeutic properties. It has been found that the use of rosemary essential oil has a distinct effect on the brain as well as the central nervous system. Hence, this oil is excellent for clearing one's mind and thoughts as well as enhancing mental alertness. Apart from possessing stimulating characteristics, rosemary essential oil is also effective in enhancing the memory.

Rosemary essential oil also possesses diuretic characteristics that are effective in decreasing retention of water by the body during menstrual periods. In addition, this property of rosemary essential oil is also useful in treating obesity and cellulite (accumulation of lumps of body fat, especially in thighs and buttocks). Rosemary essential oil also possesses expectorant properties which make it extremely useful in treating respiratory problems, especially sinus, asthma, whooping cough and catarrh. Moreover, the astringent properties of this natural oil are beneficial for preventing the skin from sagging, particularly in elderly people. The oil is also stimulating and this aspect makes it an effective remedy for problems of the scalp as well as encouraging rapid and dense growth of hair.

As aforementioned, rosemary essential oil is beneficial for the skin and helps to tone it up. In addition, topical use of this natural oil also aids in easing blocking, swelling and puffiness of the pores on the skin's surface. Thus, it is useful in treating dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), acne and eczema (an inflammation of the skin with lesions that crust, scale, or secrete a serous fluid and is usually accompanied with itching). Owing to its properties that benefit the scalp and promotes hair growth, rosemary oil forms a very popular ingredient in several skin care and hair care products available in the market. It has been established that using rosemary essential oil has a distinctively favourable impact on the scalp. This natural oil enhances blood circulation to the scalp and, hence, it is also useful in stimulating hair growth.

In fact, presently several therapeutic formulations, especially those intended for skincare, hair growth and treatment of respiratory problems, enclose rosemary essential oil. Below, find a brief discussion on the different condition-specific health benefits of the essential oil distilled from the aromatic flowers of the rosemary plant. Hope you will find it interesting and useful for treating your conditions.

The essential oil distilled from the aromatic blossoms of the rosemary plant as well as an herbal tea prepared from the aromatic parts of the plant are widely used as an important ingredient in lotions and shampoos meant for hair care. Using this oil on a regular basis aids in invigorating the follicles, which, in turn, results in the hair growing longer as well as stronger. It is said that regular use of rosemary oil on the scalp also inhibits premature loss of hair or balding as well as prevents hair from becoming gray. Therefore, it is little surprising that this oil or products containing it should be prescribed by herbalists as a tonic for bald people. In addition to hair care, this natural oil is also useful for treating arid and flaky scalps. In fact, massaging the scalp regularly with rosemary essential oil not only provides the scalp with nourishments, but also helps to get rid of dandruff. This natural oil is usually blended with other oils, such as basil oil and tea tree oil, to treat disorders of the scalp.

It is interesting to note that despite being beneficial for the skin, rosemary essential oil is used more extensively for hair care than skin care. Nevertheless, it does form an important ingredient in several skin care products too. Massaging the skin with rosemary essential oil or skincare products containing it on a regular basis helps to tone the skin as well as retain moisture and get rid of skin dryness. Rosemary essential oil is also considered to be a facial beauty aid.

Since rosemary essential oil possesses antiseptic properties, it is widely used as a disinfectant. This oil also forms an ingredient in several products meant for use as mouth wash. Use of mouth wash containing this oil is also effective in getting rid of foul breath.

As discussed earlier, the essential oil distilled from the fragrant flowers of rosemary is also a wonderful tonic for the brain as well as the nervous system. Several students appearing for exams use this oil regularly since it helps in studies as well as enhancing concentration. This natural oil also clears the mind and helps to think positively. Since rosemary essential oil possesses the potential to promote mental activities like enhancing memory, it is an effective remedy for mental conditions, such as forgetfulness, mental exhaustion and depression. The uplifting properties of this essential oil help to lift one spirits when he or she inhales it. It is advisable that people enduring mental fatigue should inhale this aromatic oil with a view to get rid of dullness and renew the cerebral energy.

Relieving muscular and joint pains is another important, but comparatively lesser appreciated therapeutic property of rosemary essential oil. Owing to this property, rosemary oil is widely used to alleviate headaches, throbbing muscles, aching muscles, arthritis and rheumatism. In order to get relief from pain, massage the affected part with rosemary oil and you will experience instant respite. If you are suffering from rheumatism, try taking vapour baths using rosemary essential oil, it will provide quick relief from pain.

Since rosemary essential oil possesses an aroma that is mesmerizing or exciting, it forms a wonderful inhalant that helps to cure several conditions. In addition, owing to its wonderful aroma, this essential oil forms an ingredient in bath oil, foods, beauty aids, room fresheners, perfumes, cosmetic products and even fragrant candles. Inhaling rosemary essential oil helps to enhances as well as renews mental energy and also clears the respiratory tract from congestion. Several people mix rosemary essential oil with water and spray the solution inside the house to get rid of any foul smell from the room.

The effectiveness of rosemary essential oil in curing respiratory ailments is said to be unparalleled. The potent aroma of this natural oil clears throat congestion providing relief from pain and hoarseness. Rosemary essential oil is widely used to treat respiratory problems, such as cold, flu, sore throat and respiratory allergies. Owing to its antiseptic properties, rosemary oil also helps to treat as well as prevent infections of the respiratory system. At the same time, the anti-spasmodic property of this essential oil makes it an effective remedy for bronchial asthma.

The essential oil obtained from the aromatic flowers of the rosemary herb is also beneficial for the stomach and digestive system. This natural oil is frequently used to treat flatulence, bloating, indigestion and stomach cramps or seizures of stomach muscles. Apart from the blossoms, even the leaves of the herb are beneficial for digestion. In fact, many people often add rosemary leaves in meat preparations since it helps in digesting the food. Generally, rosemary leaves are added while preparing foods with beef, lamb or pork.

Rosemary essential oil is especially beneficial for women as it helps to cure menstrual cycle problems and cramps experienced by some women during their menstrual periods. In addition, this oil is also effective in treating peptic ulcers, prostate problems, cataract, heart, gallbladder and liver problems, kidney ailments and pains associated with these conditions. Use of rosemary oil is also said to promote flow of urine and enhance mobility of sperm. What is more interesting is that rosemary essential oil is also believed to be useful in treating leukemia and kidney stones. Presently, studies are being conducted in various regions of the globe to find the potential of rosemary essential oil in treating a variety of cancer types, inclusive of stomach cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer.

General properties

  • antiseptic
  • stimulant
  • antispasmodic
  • diuretic
  • tonic
  • uplifting
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses

Precaution

The essential oil obtained by distilling the pale blue flowers of rosemary possesses numerous therapeutic properties and is used widely. Hence, many unscrupulous traders often adulterate this essential oil by mixing sage, turpentine and aspic with it. Therefore, while you are purchasing this valuable natural oil, be cautious and ensure that you are buying the genuine product. People enduring high blood pressure or hypertension should never use this oil. In addition, rosemary essential oil is not suitable for people suffering from epilepsy.

On several occasions, use of rosemary essential oil may result in allergic reactions and, therefore, it should only be used after obtaining a prescription from a qualified and competent medical practitioner. This natural oil is also volatile or unsteady by nature and, hence, may cause nausea, vomiting and spasms in some cases. In addition, it is advisable that rosemary essential oil should never be used during pregnancy as an overdose of this medication may result in forced abortion or prove to be detrimental for the fetus. Even nursing women or those breastfeeding also should not use rosemary essential oil, as it may affect the infant adversely.

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