Rosemary

Rosemary

RosemaryRosemary, officially known as Rosmarinus officinalis, is a herb which is native to the Mediterranean region. It is not only a product which is used to bring extra flavor to dishes, but it is also used for cosmetic purposes. For example, the oils of rosemary are often used in bodily perfumes, soaps and body lotions. Some topics this article will address are the history of the herb, the health benefits and its side effects.

Description

Rosemary belongs to the plant family called Labiatae. Mint is a herb which also belongs to this same family. However, the herb differs significantly from mint. The taste of rosemary is more bitter and is often described to be warmer compared to mint. Also, the astringent flavor of rosemary is what gives soups, stews and stuffing an intense flavor. Rosemary has a deep green color at the top, while the bottom of the plant has more of a white and silver color. Rosemary has a very distinct flavor and smell. The plant was historically used to improve the memory, but has now become one of the most used herbs in the culinary world. The smell of the herb is often described to be a pine-like fragrant. While rosemary is often used to add more flavor to a dish, it is also used in body products. These products include soaps, shampoos and body lotions. The scientific name of the herb is Rosmarinus officinalis. However, this name is hardly used and most people refer to the herb as rosemary. Usually only a small amount of rosemary is needed to bring extra flavor to a dish, since it has an strong effect on the food.

History

The herb is native to the Mediterranean. While most of the rosemary used to be imported from the Mediterranean, the herb now grows is many parts of Europe and the United States. The use of rosemary can be traced back millennia ago. It was not only used for seasoning food, but is was also used as a natural medicine by different communities around the world. One of the reasons why rosemary was so incredibly popular is because it was believed to strengthen one’s memory. For many communities this is still a reason for using rosemary today. During the times of the ancient Greeks, students would put strings of rosemary in their hair when they had to study for their exams. It was believed that this would help them to study better. People would also throw rosemary into the grave of the person who was deceased as a sign of remembrance. In the United Kingdom, rosemary also played a role in the British culture. The belief that rosemary could enhance one’s memory led to the herb being seen as a symbol of fidelity. For this reason it continued to play a role in the gifts, decorations and costumes used at a wedding. Rosemary oil is also popular. The first time rosemary oil was extracted was around the 14th century. The oil was used to make a cosmetic product for the Queen of Hungary. In the centuries following, rosemary became increasingly popular and known for being a digestive aid in apothecaries. A lot of research is currently being conducted on rosemary and the various health benefits it can provide.

Health benefits

Rosemary is known for having many health benefits. This section will address some of the most common health benefits of rosemary. Rosemary, or its aroma, is linked to improving one’s mood. Also, it was found that the aroma of rosemary can help the body is relieving stress among those people who suffer from chronic anxiety. This is also the reason why the aroma of rosemary is used in aromatherapy. Moreover, the components which are found in rosemary are considered to be anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidant. These active components all contribute to fighting against different diseased and harmful cells that could threaten the immune system. These components can also help to prevent any damage caused to the integrity of the body by free radical components. While the properties found in rosemary can play an important role in protecting the immune system, the herbs have a strong impact on bacterial infections. There is one specific type of bacterial infection which has been proven to be prevented by rosemary. The bacterial infection called H. Pylori in the stomach can cause serious stomach ulcers. Research has found that rosemary can play an important role to prevent the infection from growing. It is therefore no surprise that rosemary has also been used traditionally as a medicine for upset stomachs. The stimulant and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary play an important role in curing these symptoms. Thus, it is recommended to add rosemary to your diet if you have trouble with your gastrointestinal system or bowel movements.


Side effects of rosemary

While rosemary is known for its many health benefits, there are a few things to be careful about. Rosemary is safe to consume when added as a spice to food. The herb is also safe when used as a medicine applied to the skin or when it is inhaled as part of aromatherapy. However, one must be careful with undiluted rosemary oil. It is unsafe to consume this oil. When consuming this type of oil, this could cause uterine bleeding, skin redness, allergic reaction, vomiting and irritations to the kidney. Thus, one must pay extra attention to undiluted rosemary oil. It is also considered unsafe when taken by mouth for medical purposes, especially among pregnant women. Studies have shown that rosemary might affect the uterus which could cause a miscarriage. Moreover, research also found that it could stimulate menstruation. More research needs to be done with regards to the effects of rosemary oil on the skin of pregnant women. Thus, when you are pregnant it is recommended not to use rosemary in any other way than in small amounts in food. People who are allergic to aspirin should also be careful when consuming rosemary. A chemical, called salicylate, which is present in aspirin is also present in rosemary. People who have been diagnosed with bleeding disorders are also recommended to avoid or minimize the use of rosemary. This is because it is said that rosemary can increase the risk of bleeding among those people who have been diagnosed with bleeding disorders.

Medicinal use of rosemary

As mentioned earlier in this article, rosemary has various health benefits for the human body. One of the components present in rosemary is rosmarinic acid. Other herbs which also contain this acid are thyme, oregano, peppermint and sage. This acid has been found to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. Rosemary is therefore often recommended when your immune system is low, or needs a boost. Rosemary oil is also becoming increasingly popular. Rosemary oil is distilled by using the tops of rosemary which look like flowers. The oil contains many nutrients. These nutrients have been proven to have diaphoretic properties. Rosemary is also in various treatments. For example, it is used to soothe painful ailments among people who have been diagnosed with rheumatism. Also, extractions of rosemary are also known for stimulating hair growth. Many hair-stimulating products contain extractions from rosemary. When applied to the scalp, the extractions can help to prevent baldness at an early age. Thus, rosemary extractions can be said to be an effective remedy for the prevention of scurf. Another product which is made from rosemary is rosemary tea. Rosemary tea is considered to be a natural remedy for colds and headaches.

How to select and store

When buying rosemary in the supermarket, choose fresh rosemary instead of the dried version. This is because fresh rosemary has more flavor compared to the dried form of the herb. There are a few things to pay attention to when buying rosemary. Make sure that the springs of the herb are fresh. Also, the color of the herb should be a deep sage green color and the herb needs to be free from black or yellow spots. While most supermarkets sell dried rosemary is the spice section, you might not be able to find fresh rosemary in every store. In this case, pay a visit to a local spice store. They often have a big collection of fresh herbs. Also, local spice stores usually have herbs and spices which are of better quality compared to that sold in the local supermarket. If possible, try and go for rosemary which is organic. By choosing an organic product, you will be assured that the herb has not been exposed to pesticides. If rosemary is exposed to pesticides, it could lead to a decrease in the carotenoid content. It is recommended to store fresh rosemary in a damp towel in the refrigerator. You can also leave the herb in its original packaging if you prefer. If you want to freeze rosemary, you can place the herb in ice cube trays. Continue to add oil or water so that it is easy to use when you want to add it to your stew or soup. It is recommended that dried rosemary is kept in a sealed container. Make sure to store it in a dry place. Frozen rosemary can last up to one year, while dried rosemary usually lasts for about six months.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 737x
Added: 19-11-2016 21:24
Last modified: 20-12-2016 23:41

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