Rosemary – proven health, beauty benefits and uses

Rosemary herb and oil uses with benefits

The scientific name of the rosemary is Rosmarinus officinalis.

Other names include

ARABIC: Iklil al jabal.
BULGARIAN: Rozmarin.
CHINESE: Mi die xiang.
CROATIAN: Ružmarin .
CZECH: Rozmarýna, Rozmarýna lékařská, Rozmarýn lékařský.
DANISH: Rosmarin.
DUTCH: Rozemarijn.
ESTONIAN: Harilik rosmariin, Rosmariin.
FINNISH: Rosmariini.
FRENCH: Romarin, Romarin commun.
GERMAN: Rosmarin.
GREEK: Dendrolivano, Dentrolivano, Rozmari.
HEBREW: Rozmarin.
HUNGARIAN: Rozmaring.
ICELANDIC: Rósmarín, Sædögg .
ITALIAN: Rosmarino.
JAPANESE: Mannenrou, Roozumari, Roozumarii, Rozumarii, Rosumarin, Mannenrou.
KOREAN: Ro ju ma ri.
NORWEGIAN: Rosmarin.
PERSIAN: Eklil kuhi, Rozmari.
POLISH: Rozmaryn.
RUSSIAN: Rozmarin.
SERBIAN: Ružmarin.
SLOVAKIAN: Rozmarín, Rozmarín lekársky.
SLOVENIAN: Rožmarin.
SPANISH: Romero, Romero comun, Rosmario.
SWEDISH: Rosmarin.
TURKISH: Biberiye, Hasalban, Kuşdili otu.
UKRAINIAN: Rozmaryn, Rozmaryn spravzhnii.
VIETNAMESE: Lá hương thảo.

Rosemary is a small, erect. flowering woody undershrub, about 1 meter high, with densely arranged branches and leaves. Leaves are linear, about 1 to 3 centimeters long, with strong revolute edges, the lower portion covered with gray hairs. Flowers are bluish, less than 1 centimeter long, borne on racemes 1 to 3 centimeters long.


– Introduced from Europe.

– Commonly sold in markets.

– Cultivated in gardens for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Properties of Rosemary

– Antispasmodic, abortifacient, emmenagogue, stimulant, bitter tonic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, aromatic, nervine, stomachic, febrifuge.

– Bitter and astringent leaves considered diuretic, dissolvent, and aperient.

– Oil is carminative and stimulant.

– Studies have suggested antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antihyperglycemic, hypolipidemic, renoprotective, anti-implantation, hepatoprotective properties.


– Volatile oil, 1.2 – 2% – alpha-pinene, cineol, borneol, camphene, rosemarin.

– The most important constituents are caffeic acid and its derivatives such as rosmarinic acid.

– Rosmarin oil contains d-pinene, cineol, borneol, camphene and camphor.

– Study of essential oil yielded 29 chemical compounds. Main constituents were 1,8 cineole (43.77%), camphor (12.53%), and α-pinene (11.51%).

– Study of leaf essential oil yielded 37 compounds. Major constituents were dimenthol (38.83%), campholene aldehyde (16.02%), α-pinene (11.05%), borneol (10%), camphene (5.31%), and terpenyl acetate (4.92%).

– Study of leaf essential oil yielded 23 compounds representing 63.81% of total oil. Major components were a-pinene (18.25%), camphor (6.02%), 1,8-cineole (5.25%), camphene (5.02%), ß-pinene (4.58%), bornylacetate (4.35%), limonene (3.56%), borneol (3.10%), α-terpineol (2.89%), and cymene (2.02%).

Parts used



As condiment in flavoring and preserving meat.

Folkloric traditional medicine uses, benefits and remedies with rosemary

Cough: Inhale steam of strong decoction of herb.

Diuretic: Take decoction of herb as needed.

Gas pains: Take decoction of herb as needed.

Rheumatism: Make decoction of herb and soak affected area.

Conjunctivitis: Infusion of leaves used as an eyewash, 4 to 5 times daily.

– Vapor baths, using 30 to 40 gms of leaves in boiling water for rheumatism, catarrh.

– Juice of leaves applied to areas of thinning hair and dandruff; also, as rosemary vinegar.

Rosemary tea also used as conditioning hair rinse,

– Infusion of leaves as tea for dyspepsia, flatulence.

– Decoction of leaves as mouthwash for gums disease, halitosis, sore throat.

Aromatic bath: Use decoction of herb.

– Infusion with oil for massages.

– Daily use of rosemary tea believed to prevent cataracts.

For Hair wash: Steep 25 g of rosemary in 2 pints of cider vinegar for two weeks, shaking occasionally; strain. In hair washing, put 1-2 tsp in the final rinse.

– For dandruff, massage rosemary vinegar thoroughly into scalp, 20 mins before washing.

– As hair restorer, romero is macerated in alcohol and rubbed on twice daily. The hair lotion is suppose to stimulate the hair bulbs to renewed activity and prevents baldness.

Postpartum bath: Boil a head of petals in a quart of water). (Related article: Suob)

– Used as antispasmodic in renal colic and dysmenorrhea.

– Decoction of leaves used as carminative and as an abortive.

– Infusion of leaves used for gastralgia, dyspepsia, flatulence and palpitations.

– Leaves used as febrifuge.

– In Mexico, a 2% infusion of leaves or its essence (6 drops every 24 hours) is considered stomachic.

– Volatile oil used as stimulant in liniments.

Other uses

– Used to ward off evil.

– Cosmetics.

Scientific proven health benefits and uses of rosemary


A study of the extracts of 8 Rosemary clones indicated the antioxidant capacity of volatile oils and plant extracts were closely related to the total phenol content.

Phytochemicals / Rosmarinic Acid:

Studies yield rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, carnosolic acid, rosmanol, carnosol, diterpenes, among others. Rosmarinic acid is well absorbed from the GI tract and skin. It increases the production of prostaglandin E2 and reduces the production of leukotrine B4 in human polymorphonuclear leucocytes and inhibits the complement system and presents therapeutic potential in the treatment of asthma, spasmogenic disorders, peptic ulcer, inflammatory diseases, cataract, cancer and poor sperm motility.

Antiinflammatory / reduces pain, swelling or inflammation/ Antinociceptive: Study of rosemary essential oil suggests it possesses antiinflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive activities.

Antinociceptive/ reduces pain stimulus:

Study showed the aerial parts of Rosmarinus officinalis possess antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity and supports the use of the plant in folk medicine.

Hyperglycemic / Volatile Oil:

A study showed the volatile oil of RO has hyperglycemic and insulin release inhibitory effects in rabbit.


Study concluded that RO extracts showed antidiabetogenic effect probably from its potent antioxidant properties.


Study of the modulatory influence of Rosemary leaves extract in Swiss albino mice dosed with 3 Gy gamma radiation showed increase in lipid peroxidation and regaining of hematologic parameters. Results suggest the possible radioprotective ability of the rosemary extract.

Smooth Muscle Relaxant Effect:

The effects of volatile oil of Rosmarinus officinalis leaves showed a direct smooth muscle relaxant effect in vitro testing of isolated aortic segments of rabbits. The inhibition of the contractions were dose-dependent and reversible.


Study on the antibacterial activity of three selected plants (Rosmarinus officinalis, Origanum majorana and Trigonella foenum-graecum) against beta lactamase-producing E coli and K pneumonia showed all three exhibited relatively low MICs and could be considered strong antibacterials.

Effect on Morphine Withdrawal Syndrome / Aerial Parts:

Study showed the aqueous and ethanol extracts of aerial parts of Rosmarinus officinalis could diminish morphine withdrawal syndrome in mice.

Rosemary Scent / Cognitive Benefits / Alzheimer’s Disease:

Study suggests the aroma of rosemary may boost cognitive performance. The study assessed cognitive performance and mood in 20 volunteers exposed to 1,8-cineole. Participants performed serial subtraction and visual information processing tasks in cubicles diffused with aroma of rosemary. Results suggested serum levels of 18-cineole correlated with performance outcomes (correct responses and reaction times). The relationship between cineole and mood was “less pronounced.” Results presented implications for Alzheimer’s disease. 1,8-cineole is a simple monoterpene-type compound found in many essential oils. The compound can inhibit acetylcholinesterase, a key enzyme in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Study concludes the compounds absorbed from rosemary aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways.

Anti-Proliferative / Antioxidant:

Study evaluated the anti-proliferative property of R. officinalis on several human cancer cell lines and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro in a mouse RAW 264.7 macrophage/monocyte cell line. Results showed the crude ethanolic extract to have differential anti-proliferative effects on human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells. RO also showed substantial antioxidant activity.

Antibacterial / Anti-Cancer / Essential Oil:

Study evaluated the essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis and three of its main components 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, and β-pinene for in vitro antibacterial activities and toxicology properties. The essential oil possessed similar antibacterial activities to α-pinene, and a little bit better than β-pinene, while 1,8-cineole possessed the lowest antibacterial activities. The essential oil also exhibited strongest cytotoxicity towards three human cancer cells.

Lipid Benefits and Hypoglycemic Effects:

Study evaluated the hypoglycemic and lipid effects of RO in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats treated with rosemary for four weeks. Results showed a decrease in sugar, total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL with an increase in HDL cholesterol.

Effects on Renal Ischemia and Reperfusion/ good for kidneys:

Study evaluated the effect of intake of oral rosemary extract (gavage) on hemodynamic changes and tissue damages caused by I/R (ischemia / reperfusion. Results showed a significant reduction in plasma creatinine, BUN, absolute excretion of sodium, and an increase in absolute potassium excretion. Histopathological exam revealed a significant decrease in vascular congestion, Bowman’s capsule space and oxidative stress.

Male Antifertility Potential:

Study evaluated the antifertility potential of an ethanolic extract of R. officinalis in male albino rats. Results showed microscopic changes in the testis, compression of most of the seminiferous tubules, with irregular basement membrane and devoid of spermatogenic cells. Study revealed morphological evidence of dose dependent antifertility potential.

Antihypotensive /counteracts low blood pressure/ Essential Oil:

Study evaluated the effect of essential oil on primary hypotension. Results showed a clinically significant antihypotensive effect.

Renoprotective / Essential Oil:

Study evaluated the protective role of rosemary on CCl4-induced renal damage. Exposure to CCl4 is known to induce the formation of reactive oxygen species. Results showed a renoprotective effect which was attributed to its antioxidant activity.

Androgenic Effect / Male Contraceptive Potential:

Study evaluated the hormonal and cellular effects of Rosmarinus officinalis extract on testes of adult male Wistar rats. Results showed RO may have some hormonal and cellular effects on the testes which may contribute to the spermatogenesis process in rat. RO may have androgenic effect and a potential as an herbal male contraceptive.

Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Leaves:

Study of rosemary leaf extracts confirmed antioxidant (DPPH and total phenolic content), antibacterial, and antifungal (S. aureus, B. cereus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa and Candida albicans) activities.

Hepatoprotective / protects liver/ Essential Oil:

Study of rosemary essential oil in rats with carbon tetrachloride induced acute liver damage showed prevention of CCl4-induced increase of lipid peroxidation in liver homogenates. Pretreatment also significantly reversed the activities of antioxidant enzymes catalase, peroxidase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase.

Anti-Implantation Effects:

Study evaluated the embryotoxic effects of rosemary plant on two different periods of Wistar rat pregnancy. Results suggest an anti-implantation effect without interfering with the normal development of the concept after implantation.

Anti-Acne / Inhibition of Propionibacterium acnes-Induced Inflammation:

Study investigated the inhibitory effect of rosemary extract on P. acnes-induced inflammation in vitro and in vivo. Results showed significant suppression of secretion and mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In an in vivo mouse model. concomitant intradermal injection of the ethanolic extract attenuated P. acnes-induced ear swelling and granulomatous inflammation.

Antibacterial / Essential Oil:

Study of essential oil showed antibacterial activity against Enterobacter, Acinetobacter baumannii and Staphylococcus aureus. Activity was attributed to main essential oil components.

Inhibitory Against Food-Borne Pathogens / Essential Oil:

Study showed the essential oil of R. officinalis with high antibacterial activity could be a potential source for inhibitory substances against some food-borne pathogens and has the potential for use in food or food-processing systems.

Anti-Inflammatory / Essential Oil:

Study evaluated the effects of R. officinalis essential oil dietary administration in carrageenan paw edema and trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) colitis. Findings showed suppression of the extent of paw edema and protective effects on colonic mucosa and significantly decreased macroscopic scores for colonic inflammation. Results showed rosemary essential oil is able to influence several variables of murine experimental inflammatory models.


Rosemary oil  or herb in the market.

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