Rosemary has traditionally been used for memory enhancement. It was
- planted by the gate for remembrance
- planted throughout the yard to ward off witches.
- Greek students wore garlands of rosemary to assist in their school work.
- I have used rosemary oil on a tissue while studying and then again during exams to remind me of what I studied.
- Rosemary was considered a funereal herb and included for the remembrance of the dead.
There are myths about Rosemary’s usefulness in love as well. It was thought to promote spousal fidelity.
If a young person tapped another with a sprig of Rosemary that had an open flower it was thought that they would fall in love.
Rosemary’s use as a love charm morphed from it’s original use in marriage ceremonies in the middle ages.
Unfortunately in the 16th century men began pulling up rosemary bushes since it was said that a yard planted with rosemary meant that the woman ruled the roost.
It is odd that one of the folk uses for rosemary was to reverse baldness and restore the hair to its natural colour. WebMD states “Although it’s not clear how rosemary works for hair loss, applying it to the scalp irritates the skin and increases blood circulation.”
Another historical myth on the medicinal side, was that a hermit soaked a pound of rosemary in a gallon of wine for several days and then applied the concoction to the paralyzed legs of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. This is where the remedy Hungary Water came from.
Rosemary is useful as a food preservative. Its antioxidant chemicals are a rival for any commercial preservative.
It has been used throughout the ages as a remedy for coughs. It clears congestion in colds and relaxes the bronchial tubes. Drinking the tea and inhaling the vapours are extremely effective uses in colds.
Rosemary is also an excellent digestive aid relaxing the smooth muscle tissue to improve digestion.
Rosemary properties include
These properties make it useful for cleaning wounds, treating infected bug bites and it is even useful as a mouthwash. Herbs2000.com has an excellent recipe for mouthwash
For a nice smelling analgesic muscle treatment simply steep fresh rosemary leaves in olive oil for a day or two, strain and apply to sore muscles.
A most versatile culinary herb, rosemary is at it’s best when used fresh.
Baked with fish, added to stew, baked in bread or used in flavoured butter, rosemary gives dishes a distinctive taste.
One of my favorite dishes is roast lamb with rosemary. Simply rub a mixture of olive oil and crushed fresh rosemary and garlic over a lamb roast and bake it. It is delicious.
Herb butters are all the rage these days. They are simple to make and lend an air of distinction to any party.
Rosemary Herb Butter
1/4 cup butter softened
1-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary cut fine
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl till well mixed. Place the mixture into a serving dish and refrigerate until 30 minutes before using.
Many herbs are versatile having both culinary and medicinal uses. Rosemary has both of these uses as well as being a cleansing herb when burnt as incense.
Rosemary was important and sometimes sacred throughout history, possibly because of its versatility.