Rosemary: Benefits, Properties, Dosage and Side Effects

Posted on04/04/2018 by 102441

Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis.

Botanical classification: family of lamiaceae.

Forms and preparations: essential oils, capsules, ointments, tinctures, tisanes, decoctions, inhalations, cataplasms, baths.

The rosemary is a plant from the Mediterranean that, in addition to the kitchen, is used to treat many health problems such as digestive problems, overweight and hair loss.

Although these properties are very important, we must also know the adverse effects of rosemary's consumption; and how to consume it properly to avoid these problems and make the most of its virtues.

The rosemary has carminative properties, which facilitates the removal of the gas accumulated in the digestive tract.

This is why taking infusions of this plant is so good to treat cases of flatulence and bloating. If the infusions are used to improve digestion or to eliminate gases from the digestive tract, they should be drunk after meals.

Another benefit of rosemary is to treat the discomforts caused by menstruation. Its infusions help to relieve the feeling of irritability, headaches and reduce swelling.

Rosemary flowers are used as a natural remedy to treat respiratory problems such as asthma, since it has no adverse effects on the lungs. Even in research it has been discovered that rosemary possesses anti-inflammatory substances that act directly on lung inflammation.

What is rosemary?

Rosemary definition

Rosemary is a common household herb that grows in many parts of the world. It is a perennial erect shrub with aromatic leaves long as needles. The herb is used to flavor food, drinks, and cosmetics.

The most important components of rosemary are caffeic acid and its derivatives such as rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid has a number of interesting biological activities, for example, it has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And it is the component that mainly gives the beneficial effects and that promote health. In addition, rosmarinic acid is properly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract as well as by the skin.

Composition of rosemary

Rosemary used parts

Phytotherapy uses leaves, flowering tops, once dry, or essential oil.

Active principles of rosemary

Its essential oils contain essences of camphor, of verbenone or of pines. Rosemary contains flavonoids (diosmin, luteolin), dipertenos, such as rosadial and carnosic acid, but also lipids (alkanes). We also find steroids and triterpenes (oleanolic acid, ursolic acid) and phenolic acids (rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid). Phytoestrogens have comparable effects to female hormones.

Botanical description of rosemary

Rosemary, a shrub of the family of the lamiaceae, can reach two meters in height when grown. It is easily recognized by its sturdy rolled edges. They are much longer than wide, with a dark green color, gleaming on their face and whitish on the back. Its flowers, usually violet blue (whites are scarce) are born in short clusters, from February to May. Its chalice has a hairy appearance, the bilabiate corolla and four stamens, of which two surpass the upper lip. The rosemary fruit, of rounded shape, is a tetraquenium.

Where does rosemary come from?

Rosemary herb has been used as a spice for food and medicine since ancient times. The traditional medicine uses rosemary leaf preparations to treat digestive discomfort, headaches, and anxiety. It is said that the fragrance of the rosemary leaf increases the memory. The rosemary essential oil was applied to the skin to treat the pain of muscles and joints and taken internally to promote abortions. The ancient Greeks and Romans threw branches of rosemary in the tombs to demonstrate their desire to remember those who died.

History of the use of rosemary in herbal medicine

The use of rosemary in perfumery dates back to the 14th century. At that time the first rosemary alcoholic perfume described was granted the powers of eternal youth. Legend said that it was the rosemary that allowed Elizabeth of Poland to cure of her paralysis and of her arthritis problems, and to become queen of Hungary, seducing the king despite her 72 years. The stimulating properties of brain activity are known since the time of Ancient Greece; for this reason the Greek intellectuals placed rosemary crowns on their heads. Rosemary honey, used as a remedy for different pains, found its place in the marine pharmacopoeia in the eighteenth century. In the 19th century, the German Catholic priest and doctor Sebastian Kneipp, who actively contributed to the development of herbal medicine, prescribed to the elderly.

Medicinal properties of rosemary

Internal use

  • Improves digestion, regulates lipids, improves blood circulation; facilitates the expulsion of bile, antispasmodic.
  • Diuretic: reduces the risk of kidney stones or gout and prevents rheumatism. Combats stress and fatigue: prevents insomnia and helps fight against exhaustion.
  • Antioxidant effect: fight cell aging.

External use

  • Against skin conditions: infections, wounds, cleansing of the skin and genital areas
  • Accelerates hair growth.
  • It allows fighting against certain pathogens: antimicrobial and antibacterial.
  • Relieves rheumatism.

Usual therapeutic indications

  • The choline it contains acts as a regulator of lipids in the liver and facilitates digestion.
  • Its diuretic virtues facilitate kidney activity and help prevent rheumatism.
  • Its antioxidant properties have a stimulating effect on brain activity and improve memory.

Other therapeutic indications shown

Rosemary is a good remedy for fatigue; It serves as a stimulant for people suffering from asthenia, while preventing insomnia. It has antiseptic properties that make it a good agent to clean skin and sensitive areas and act directly on infected wounds. It can also be used as an antitussive.

Properties of rosemary

rosemary properties and virtues

The Rosemary is a highly aromatic shrub that has both culinary and medicinal uses. It can grow up to two meters, it withstands the cold well and stays green all year round.

The leaves of the rosemary bush are compound and appear opposite. On the mouth, the flavor of the leaves is somewhat spicy. The flowers of the rosemary plant are blue.

When it is collected for medicinal purposes, the flowers of the plant are used mainly. For this reason, harvesting takes place at the end of spring. The plants are dried in the shade and stored in boxes of a neutral material such as cardboard (never glass or plastic). It can be kept for up to a year in good conditions.

In the rosemary there are elements such as camphor, caffeic acid and rosmarinic, flavonoids and other medicinal compounds. This plant is recommended in cases of  amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, intestinal problems,  diarrhea, skin problems and hair loss .

The most common way to use rosemary is as a decoction. To make a decoction of this plant about 35 grams of flowers are used for each liter of water and it is boiled for about 15 minutes.

The preparation can be used directly on the scalp, in cases of hair loss. You can also prepare a rosemary oil for that purpose .

For the oil they use 20 gr of essence of this plant for each liter of olive oil. It is applied in rheumatic pain, neuralgia and similar problems, always massaging with circular movements.

Benefits of rosemary

Research on rosemary and memory

The University Northumbria (United Kingdom) carried out a meticulous study with which they have shown that a high concentration in blood of one of the components of rosemary, 1,8-cineol, improves cognitive performance, specifically the speed and accuracy of responses.

This component is absorbed through the nasal mucosa and lungs, crosses the blood brain barrier and all points to inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. It prevents the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is widely distributed in the human brain and necessary to learn, memorize and concentrate

So if you are preparing exams cut a twig of the plant and put it in a glass of water on the desk, or we can also use the essential oil of rosemary and put a couple of droplets near the nose, to improve our memory. Rosemary not only serves stomach problems, hair loss and hypertension, it is also excellent for memory.

Rosemary to combat stress and inflammation

The free radicals that produce oxidative stress are directly associated with inflammation, aging and carcinogenesis. The body has several anti-oxidative systems and saliva is one of those systems. In a study of the benefits of rosemary, the researchers found that smelling lavender and rosemary oils in aromatherapy increased saliva production and significantly reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They concluded that these oils could protect the body from stress. Other studies confirmed that rosemary leaves are potent anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects. Rosmarinic acid increases the production of prostaglandin E2 (substance that helps in the contraction and relaxation of muscle, dilation and constriction of blood vessels, control of blood pressure, and modulation of inflammation) and reduces leukotriene production B4 involved in inflammation.

Rosemary to prevent cancer

Rosemary has been reported to have a major role in reducing cancer risk. One study found that rosemary extract, which contains carnosol, carnosic acid, ursolic acid and rosmarinic acid, can suppress the development of tumors in various organs including the colon, breast, liver, stomach, as well as melanoma and leukemia cells. It was found that anti-carcinogenic properties arise from molecular changes in the multi-stage processes of cancer development.

Rosemary to treat gastrointestinal problems

Rosmarinic acid in rosemary relaxes the muscles in the trachea and intestine, stimulates the production of bile, and protects the liver. In folk medicine, it is used as an antispasmodic in renal colic. The researchers suggest that rosmarinic acid also has therapeutic potential in the treatment and prevention of peptic ulcer and liver toxicity.

Rosemary for hair growth

One of the traditional uses of rosemary oil is to promote hair growth, although there is not much scientific evidence to prove this. However, a recent study in mice showed that topical administration of rosemary leaf extract improved re-growth of hair in mice that experienced an arrest in hair growth induced by a testosterone treatment, suggesting an anti-inflammatory activity. The study concluded that rosemary is a promising plant for hair growth.

Rosemary to lose weight and lose weight.

The Rosemary is a plant with the ability to reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, improves circulation and the general state of the body.

Apparently all this added to its high level of potassium and anti-inflammatory action are elements that make it suitable for people who want to lose weight, and quite efficient according to studies conducted in this regard.

Natural antibiotic

The rosemary turns out to be one of the most potent herbs as a natural antibiotic. Like its relatives the Mint, Salvia and Thyme, which are all plants of the Labiatae family, have an exquisite aroma and medicinal properties.

The power of rosemary as an antibiotic is greater than that of the other herbs thanks to that it possesses carnosol or carnosolic acid which is a very potent antimicrobial agent.

That is why it is so recommended in the case of intestinal infections, and is even used as part of the treatment of some venereal diseases.

Rosemary and the Arterial Pressure.

There is a small confusion, in some places it is cited as a plant for hypertensive patients, which is a mistake, the rosemary actually increases the blood pressure so it is indicated for hypotensive.

Other uses of rosemary

In addition to the kitchen rosemary has other types of uses in our life among which include:

  • Air freshener: Just hang a few branches, preferably in flower, so that their aroma penetrates the entire house, also works as an insect repeller.
  • Ornamental plant: Besides being very pretty, it stays green all year round and is a shrub that does not require much care.
  • Water Purifier: For millennia in the Mediterranean it was used to boil water with a handful of rosemary to purify it, in this way the anti-bacterial action of this was used to lower the bacteriological load of water.

Rosemary: Dosage

Dosage of rosemary


  • In infusion, 2 g of dried rosemary leaves in 150 ml of boiling water, for 10 minutes, in the ratio of 2 or 3 cups a day.
  • In liquid extract, 2 ml, 3 times a day.
  • In tincture, 10 ml, 3 times a day.
  • In essential oil, it is recommended to take 2 drops of rosemary verbenone, in a piece of sugar every morning. A 3-week cure will stimulate the liver and gallbladder activity. The essential oil of rosemary camphor is recommended to balance the neuromuscular system. Finally, cineole essential oil has expectorant properties.


Rosemary is used for rheumatism and stimulation of peripheral blood circulation.

  • To prepare the base decoction, you have to simmer 50 g of rosemary in a liter of water for 10 minutes, let cool and strain the preparation.
  • In the areas to be treated, compresses can also be applied, cold or hot, soaked in a solution of 6 to 10% of essential oil diluted in vegetable oil.
  • To obtain a lotion, you have to mix a few drops of essential oil in 45% alcohol.
  • If we want to take benefit of its stimulating properties, we recommend a bath made from a liter of decoction or 10 drops of essential oil that you will add to the water.
  • Lotions, ointments, gels or ointments contain, in principle, 6 to 10% rosemary essential oil.

Medical opinion

Recognized virtues

Professor Hostettmann, recognized phytotherapist, points out that, in addition to the properties mentioned, rosemary improves concentration; It shows the example in his French work of 2013 "Tout savoir sur les plantes anti-âge", (What you need to know about anti-aging plants) in which indicates that in ancient Greece rubbed rosemary on the forehead of children to make them smarter


In the artisan preparation of the decoctions, it is recommended to consult the doctor or pharmacist to verify the correct doses.

Scientific research on rosemary

Although the different uses of rosemary are known thanks to the experiences made over the centuries, the most recent studies are aimed at demonstrating that this plant could provide beneficial antioxidant effects in the treatment of certain cancers.

Precautions for use of rosemary

In the normal doses, there is no danger. However, care must be taken to abuse the use of essential oil, which could have a neurotoxic or abortive effect.


Orally, it is contraindicated in children under 12 years of age and suffering from gallstones or liver disease. Except for a condiment in food, it is also recommended for pregnant women.

Undesirable effects

In normal doses, the only risks may be nausea. People who work with this plant can develop eczema due to the usual contact. An overdose can cause vomiting, seizures, spasms, uterine bleeding or even fatal coma.

Interactions with medicinal plants or supplements

No interactions are known.

Interactions with medications

In theory, rosemary may interact with diuretic medications and iron supplements.


[1] : The Therapeutic Potential of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Diterpenes for Alzheimer's Disease
[2] : 21 Amazing Rosemary Health Benefits – with Side Effects
[3] : Everything you need to know about rosemary
[4] : 11 Impressive Benefits Of Rosemary

Tag: Rosemary
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