An Herbal Interlude Rosemary

Rosemary herb and flowers

Rosemary–(Rosmarinus officinalis)

Family - Lamiaceae or the mint family

Common Names

Rosemary from it’s Latin roots means “Sea Dew”.  With ros meaning “dew” and marinus “sea”.  Other common names for this plant include Anthos, Compass-Weed, Compass Plant and Polar Plant. 

This is one of my favorite herbs for the garden.  In South Dakota, it always grew as an annual, even in the greenhouse.  New Mexico, however is a different story.  Here it grows up to 6 feet tall, and as wide.   This excites me because I use a lot of Rosemary.

At Wonderment Gardens we use This herb in many of our infused oils for pain relief and relaxation.  I make an ACV infusion for use as a liniment and in cooking.  Sometimes, I’ll sprinkle a few of the leaves in a tea for a headache, sometimes just because it tastes good.  And let’s not forget the kitchen.  Yummy.  I think I’m really going to like living where Rosemary grows well.

Historically Rosemary herb is a symbol of friendship, remembrance, and love. For this reason, it was often used as corsages and carried in bouquets at weddings and funerals. The healthy growth of Rosemary in a garden was a sure sign that a strong-willed woman dominates the household.

Table of Contents


Rosemary is a widely cultivated evergreen shrub, native to the Mediterranean. It thrives in warm, sunny climates.  Preferring full sun and well-drained soil, this plant does best in growing zones 6 through 8. It likes locals where temperatures stay above 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  Even so, Gardeners of the north plant Rosemary as an annual pot herb.

Rosemary, an herbal interlude

A member of the mint family, Rosemary has square stems, and needle like, alternate, whirling leaves. The leaves are dark green above, a paler green and glandular beneath. The whole plant, especially the leaves are very aromatic, with a camphoric, somewhat piney scent. The flowers are pale blue, lipped and about ½ inch long. The upper lip has two lobes and appear notched. The lower lip has three lobes. The upper 1/3 of the succulent branches can be harvested year round, preferably in flower.

Parts Used, Preparation and Dosage

Rosemary leaf and flowers

The leaves and flowers are harvested for a wide variety of medicinal and culinary uses.  The needlelike leaves can be dried or used fresh.  Some of the most popular preparations include infused and essential oil.  Tincture, liquid extracts, water infusions and tea.  Old herbals talk a lot about Rosemary infused wine. 

My family prefers an acetate made by infusing fresh or dried leaves in Apple Cider Vinegar to the wine.  After straining we use the resulting acetate in cooking, medicine and as a liniment for aches and pains.

A water infusion is made by steeping 1 ounce of dried herb in 1 pint (2 cups) of water for a minimum of 20 minutes. The resulting tea can be taken warm or cold ¼ cup at a time as needed, however should be made fresh daily.  Rosemary tea is made by steeping 1 teaspoon dried herb in 1 cup of water and steeped for 5 – 10 minutes.  

Rosemary tincture is taken by the dropperful (approximately 30 drops) in a small amount of water or on a sugar cube.  The Acetate is very nice on a sugar cube as well.

Primary Constituents

Tannic acid, together with a resin and a bitter principle. A volatile oil containing borneol, bornyl, cineol, pinene, limonene linalool, flavonoids, camphor, camphene acetate and other esters.

Medicinal Properties

Rosemary is tonic, antioxidant, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, stomachic, nervine, diaphoretic, astringent, anodyne, antiseptic and stimulant. 

Go here for a list of herbal actions and their definitions.

Energetically Rosemary is warming, drying, pungent and spicy

Medicinal use of Rosemary

Rosemary in the kitchen

Rosemary has a long history of culinary use. Its use as a seasoning probably stems from its ability to prevent and neutralize food born pathogens.  Rosemary helps food last longer, taste better and makes it more digestible.

Today natural preservatives are made from rosemary extracts.  They are used both in prepared foods and herbal products like lotions and salves. 

Rosemary's Internal use

Medicinally, Rosemary has been used for centuries as a remedy for headache, colic, colds, indigestion and to relieve muscle pain and spasms. It is used to support the circulatory and nervous systems, improve memory and relieve stress. Rosemary wine, made by infusing Rosemary herb in white wine, and Rosemary tincture are taken in small quantities to quiet a weak heart, ease heart palpitation, and to relieve and reduce the buildup of fluids by stimulating the kidneys, increasing the output of urine. Long term daily intake of rosemary has been shown in studies to prevent thrombosis (the formation of blood clots inside a blood vessel).

External Use

Externally, Rosemary is an excellent treatment for arthritis, rheumatism, sores, eczema, bruises and wounds. The infused oil, salve, liniment and essential oil all effectively relieve pain by stimulating circulation and nerve activity. Rosemary oil in the bath helps sooth sore, tired and painful joints, muscles and nerves.

The liniment, water, or oil was once rubbed vigorously on effected limbs as one of the main treatments to revive the vitality of paralyzed limbs.  And is useful or the relief of gout in the hands and feet. A formula dated 1235 called Queen of Hungary Water was famous for this purpose.

An infusion of the dry plant, left to cool, can be used externally in hair conditioners for dandruff and as a treatment to prevent and cure premature baldness.

Essential Oil

I love Rosemary essential oil.  Many of you may know, I’m not big into essential oils,  preferring to use whole herbs.  Rosemary however is one of the exceptions.   Not only do I love the smell, it’s easy to use and versatile.  

Rosemary essential oil is often used to increase concentration and memory, relieve stress and as an antidote to pain and inflammation. One study suggests that Rosemary, combined with other pleasant smelling oils, may lower cortisol levels, helping reduce anxiety. Try a mixture of Rosemary, Lavender and Geranium for this purpose


Hair Rinse for Brunettes

Infuse 1 once each of Rosemary and Sage in 1 pint of water for 24 hours. Work the rinse into your scalp after shampooing to brighten your hair.

Pain Relieving Body Oil – We call this one Tension Tamer.

Use 15 drops total Essential Oils for each 1 ounce carrier oil.

  • 7 drops Lavender or Lavendin essential oil
  • 3 drops Geranium essential oil
  • 4 drops Rosemary essential oil

Mix essential oils, swirling to harmonize the combination.

Add essential oil mixture to 1 oz. carrier oil such as Sesame, Avocado and/or Olive oil.  (I like to use an herbal infused oil like Arnica infused oil or Saint John’s wort infused oil.  Especially if using it for pain relief.

Interactions and Counter-indications

People with high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis should not take Rosemary medicinally. High amounts of Rosemary may affect the bloods ability to clot, and alter blood sugar levels, interfering with blood thinning drugs, ACE inhibitors taken for high blood pressure, diabetic medication and water pills.

If taking Lithium, there is a danger  of toxic blood levels accompanied by dehydration.  Rosemary should not be taken in medicinal quantities when pregnant because of its ability to increase menstrual flow and act as a possible abortifacient (causing miscarriage). Rosemary essential oil can be toxic if ingested and should never be taken orally.

Wonderment Gardens Product Suggestions

Affiliate Product Suggestions

The following contains affiliate links.  That means, if you purchase a product through one of the links, I make a commission at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate it each time you click on or make a purchase from one of my links.  Rest assured, only superior products are suggested.  Ones that I truly feel confident about.  Thank you for your support.

Art Naturals Pure Essential Oils
Rosemary Essential Oil 15 ml

Rosemary Essential Oil 15 ml

Rosemary Essential Oil can help energize and uplift mood and reduce stress. Rosemary oil also has been shown to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which can help clean and purify the air, and soothe the scalp.

Botanic Choice Organic Rosemary Oil - 1.2 Oz

Botanic Choice Organic Rosemary Oil - 1.2 Oz

Pleasant, Woody Aroma


University of Maryland Medical Center

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Rodale Press, 1987

Tierra, Tierra; The Way of Herbs, New York, NY, Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Inc. 1998

Grieve, Mrs. M; A Modern Herbal Volume 11, New York, NY, Dover Publications Inc. 1971


The statements and ideas presented here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. All ideas presented are for the sole purpose of education. To help you take control of your own health. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. We suggest that you always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

Herbs taken for health purposes should be treated with the same care as medicine. Herbal remedies are no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you are serious about good health, you’ll want to combine diet, exercise, herbals, a good relationship with your doctor and a generally healthy lifestyle. No one of these will do it alone.

This information is designed to be used as part of a complete health plan. No products are intended to replace your doctor’s care, or to supersede any of his/her advice or prescriptions.

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