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Rosemary is a common ingredient that adds a fragrant savory note to dishes. Some people claim that rosemary can help reduce muscle pain, boost the immune system, and improve memory.
Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender.
The herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes, such as rosemary chicken and lamb, but it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.
It is typically prepared as a whole dried herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves.
The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.
Fast facts on rosemary:
- Rosemary is a perennial plant (it lives more than 2 years).
- The leaves are often used in cooking.
- Possible health benefits include improved concentration, digestion, and brain aging.
- Very high doses may cause vomiting, coma, and pulmonary edema.
This Medical News Today Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
Rosemary has a range of possible health benefits.
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals.
In Europe, rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion. In fact, Germany’s Commission E has approved rosemary for the treatment of indigestion. However, it should be noted that there is currently no meaningful scientific evidence to support this claim.
Enhancing memory and concentration
According to research outlined in
Scientists have found that rosemary may also be good for your brain. Rosemary contains an ingredient called carnosic acid, which can fight off damage by free radicals in the brain.
Some studies in rats have identified that rosemary might be useful for people who have experienced a stroke. Rosemary appears to be protective
Prevent brain aging
Some studies have suggested that rosemary may significantly help
Research published in
Another study, published in
Also, a report published in the Journal of Food Science revealed that adding rosemary extract to ground beef
Protection against macular degeneration
A study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, led by Dr. Stuart A. Lipton, Ph.D. and colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, revealed that a carnosic acid, which is a major component of rosemary, can significantly promote eye health.
This could have clinical applications for diseases affecting the outer retina, such as age-related macular degeneration – the most common eye disease in the United States.
Rosemary is usually safe when taken in low doses. However, extremely large doses can trigger serious side effects, although this is rare.
Side effects include:
- pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)
High doses of rosemary may cause miscarriage; therefore it is not advisable for pregnant women to take any supplemental rosemary.
Rosemary can affect the activity of some medications, including:
- Anticoagulant drugs: These include blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin, Aspirin, and Clopidogrel.
- ACE inhibitors: These are used for treating high blood pressure. They include lisinopril (Zestril), fosinopril (Monopril), captopril (Capoten), and enalapril (Vasotec).
- Diuretics: These increase the passing of urine and include hydrocholorothiazide and furosemide (Lasix).
- Lithium: This is used to treat the manic episodes of manic depression. Rosemary can act as a diuretic and cause lithium to reach toxic levels in the body.
Have you enjoyed reading about the potential health benefits of rosemary? Take a look at our collection of articles about other foods.
Alternatively, read our article about the top 10 healthy foods for your daily diet.
Rosemary products are available for purchase online.