Rosemary ( Rosmarinus Officinalis) is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. Hailed as a ‘super herb’ since antiquity, it is widely used for culinary purposes, spiritual ritual and medicinal applications.
Origin, Folklore and Spiritual Use
The name rosemary derives from the latin ros meaning “dew” and marinus meaning “sea”- ‘sea dew’. In Greek, the herb is known as δενδρολίβανο (dendrolivano), dendro meaning ‘tree’ and ‘livano’ meaning “incense” – ‘tree incense’. The Greek translation for this herb accounts for the Christian folklore that says that rosemary will grow for 33 years until it reaches the height Christ was when he died and then it will grow no more. Apparently, Rosemary’s flowers picked up their blue color and acquired their fragrance when the Virgin Mother Mary spread her blue cloak over a rosemary bush to dry, while they were fleeing to Egypt.
Nonetheless, Rosemary in Ancient Greece, was also attributed to the Goddess Aphrodite and appears in many ancient images of her. As the last part of its name means ‘incense’, not surprisingly, rosemary was, and still is, used as incense to ward off evil spirits, and in rituals to promote love, fidelity and to dispel jealousy. Rosemary also played a major role in wedding ceremonies and was carried by the bride and groom to symbolize love and loyalty and was also gifted to the guests for the same purpose.
- If you haven’t chosen a mate yet and have several to think about name a pot for each one and plant Rosemary in each pot. The one that grows the fastest and strongest is your best choice!
- If you want to make a lasting impression, dab some Rosemary oil behind your ears on these occasions. Basically, wear rosemary oil when you want to be unforgettable!
- Put a sprig of Rosemary under your pillow to ward off bad nightmares or tie 5 sprigs of Rosemary together with white thread and place them under the mattress, if you would like to increase your fertility.
Medicinal and Household Uses
Rosemary has been found to have antiseptic qualities. Not surprisingly, when burned together with juniper, it has been used to purify the air (especially where sickness prevails) for centuries. Sprigs of Rosemary will also keep moths and other insects away, when kept in cupboards and drawers. It is also a pungent mosquito repellant. So, placing some rosemary oil in an oil burner in your homes, will be beneficial in more ways than one.
One of the most widespread uses of Rosemary is attributed to the fact that chemical compounds of rosemary have been scientifically proven to increase blood circulation.
- Use a hair rinse made from cooled Rosemary tea wards off baldness, promotes new hair growth and gradually covers grey hair. Its antiseptic qualities also reduce dandruff problems.
- By Massaging rosemary Oil, you can also relieve the body of aches and pains, warm cold limbs and increase blood circulation.
- As a toner, rosemary will bring blood to the surface of the skin and acts as an antiseptic and astringent, clearing and tightening the skin.
Rosemary the King of Remembrance
Perhaps the most famous use for Rosemary, which has recently caught the attention of the scientific community, is that rosemary enhances memory and concentration. Scientific evidence suggests that rosemary does indeed stimulate the memory centers in the brain, and its applications are being tested in recent research being carried out for Alzheimer’s.
- Taking an exam? Use a sprig of Rosemary as a bookmarker and wear rosemary oil when studying and on the test day to help you remember what you need to know.
- Want to remember your dreams? Place a sprig of rosemary under your pillow for better recollection of details in the morning.
Not surprisingly, Rosemary has been known for thousands of years as the ‘King of Remembrance’. In Ancient Greece, students would wear garlands of rosemary around their necks, or braided it into their hair to improve their memory while taking their exams. Nonetheless, it was also used in remembrance of those who had died, as it was used in funerals to show that the deceased will forever be remembered. In ancient Egypt, rosemary was placed in the tomb to remember the dead as well as used as a component in embalming practices. In Asia people planted rosemary on graves in honor of their ancestors, so when beyond the veil, they would remember the bond between them and the living, and continue to give guidance after their passing.
Whatever its use, rosemary has been available for thousands of years, revered by all, and serving as a multi-purpose must-have, till this very day. Apart from its unparalleled taste when used for culinary purposes, next time when you get your hand on some fresh or dried rosemary, consider trying one of its alternative uses mentioned in this article!