Rosemary got its name from the Virgin Mary, who left her cloak on a bush. By the next morning, the flowers of the bush had become blue and so it was named rose of Mary. The Latin name of the plant is Rosmarinus officinalis, which means sea breezes. The name officinalis is a Latin word meaning pharmaceutical because of medicinal properties.
The ancient Greeks believed that it is a tonic of the brain that enhances memory. Young students used to wear garlands of rosemary on the neck or knitted branches in their hair when they had exams in order to stimulate their memory.
Rosemary has been used to improve memory and concentration, but also to relieve muscle pain. As an extract it has been shown to have the ability to neutralize toxins. It is useful for nervous headaches and migraines, it elevates mood and it is useful in cases of depression. It is an expectorant and helps in cough, asthma, bronchitis and flu. It helps tiredness, weakness, insomnia and anxiety. Enhances hair growth by enhancing the blood circulation in the scalp and acts therapeutically in cases of abdominal spasms, paralysis and tremors. It is considered to antibacterial, antifungal, anti-rheumatic, good for diabetes and eyesight. The decoction of rosemary acts against fainting and dizziness, regulates excessive uterine bleeding and normalizes menstruation.
Rinses of the oral cavity with rosemary decoction, help in treating gums that bleed and loose teeth. Finally, it has been attributed aphrodisiac properties.
Rosemary, because of the bitter substances it contains, it stimulates digestion and liver function. It mobilizes the secretion of gastric juice and thus is useful in cases of hepatitis, cholecystitis, gallstones, jaundice etc. It can also help in cases of flatulence, colic and diarrhea.
Two components of rosemary, namely caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that help protect body cells from damage by free radicals. It helps in cases of arteriosclerosis and is cordial. It is rich in vitamin C and therefore helps the body's immune system to become more powerful and active. When added to bath water it helps wounds to heal naturally and prevents the likelihood of an infection.
Its chemical structure comprises phenolic compounds and flavonoids (which act as antioxidants). In 2012, a study of Mark Moss and Lorraine Oliver at Northumbria University in Newcastle identified a compound in Rosemary 1.8 cineole associated with cognitive performance and concentration. Further studies by Mark Moss and his team have found memory improvements to the staggering 75% from the diffusion of essential oils of rosemary.
Since the old days, rosemary is used in cooking to flavor fish and meat especially lamb and pork