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Rosemary is a classic herb that is known to many gardeners as a pretty plant with delicate purple flowers. It is also known to many in the kitchen as a thin leaf with lots of flavour that works well for many dishes. But there’s another side to it – as use in an oil. Let’s learn about the benefits and uses of rosemary essential oil.
Where does rosemary essential oil come from?
Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that is now found growing around the world. It has a citrus-like scent and is part of the mint family that also includes other essential oil favourites such as lavender.
The herb has been popular for many purposes for thousands of years. The Greeks wore garlands of it when studying as they believed it improved memory. Both the Greeks and Romans used it in religious ceremonies. The oil was used across the Mediterranean and into Egypt, where it was used in incense.
The 16th-century practitioner Paracelsus made the weighty claim that rosemary oil even had the power to restore organs like the brain and heart. It is truly more than just a savoury seasoning.
Because the herb is now grown in gardens around the world, it is easy to come across and makes a great plant to grow if you want something to cook with and to try making your own essential oil.
Health benefits of rosemary oil
One of the reasons that people have long used rosemary oil is that it has health benefits associated with it, some of which have been studied scientifically.
Improved brain function and memory
Those Greeks and Romans may have been onto something when they used rosemary to help improve memories. Fans of Shakespeare may remember Ophelia’s related quote, “There’s rosemary, that’s more remembrance: pray, love, remember.” Although Ophelia was quite the mad woman, she knew her herbs.
Rosemary oil, when inhaled, can help to increase long-term memory, focus, and the ability to retain information. Individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia may experience sharper thinking and decreased symptoms.
A recent study found that when individuals were given rosemary oil to smell, their memory retention increased by almost 75%. One way to reap the benefits is to mix the oil into a diffuser. Others have found that adding rosemary oil to boiling water, and inhaling the vapour was just as effective.
Studies have shown that inhaling the oil helps to prevent acetylcholine, a brain chemical that helps with thinking, concentration and memory.
Stimulates hair growth
A recent study found that when individuals rubbed rosemary oil into their scalp, they experienced a “22.4% increase in new hair growth.” Rosemary oil is packed with nutrients that increase microcirculation, or blood flow, to the scalp.
This promotes healing and a strengthening of the scalp which results in optimal hair growth for the future. Also, adding rosemary oil into your hair care routine can help to prevent immature baldness or even receding hairlines.
Rosemary oil has been known to decrease cortisol levels in the body. When this occurs, the mind and body are working at an equilibrium of balance. You can handle life’s tasks with mental clarity without unnecessary social or inner fear. Individuals who suffer from chronic depression or anxiety could benefit from adding rosemary oil to their wellness routine.
Boost in Immunity
Rosemary oil helps to boost immunity to further fight infections. When an individual feels congested, suffers from a cough, or deals with pesky allergies, rosemary oil is a beneficial additive. It can be added to boiling water or even placed into a diffuser to reach the optimal benefits.
Possible Side Effects of Rosemary Oil
Currently, rosemary oil has no known toxins or detrimental uses. As mentioned, topical use should be limited to two or three drops and properly diluted. Individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medication for chronic diseases should consult with a healthcare professional before use.
It is highly recommended to avoid consuming rosemary oil as it could induce vomiting. In addition, redness or discolouration could occur when used for the first time.
How to use rosemary oil
Rosemary essential oil is used in aromatherapy in things such as diffuser because it helps with brain function and relieves stress. Add a few drops to water in a diffuser and allow the mist to blow up into the room,
It can also be diluted with a carrier oil and used topically on the skin. It has detoxifying properties and can even act as an anaesthetic of sorts, to help ease the pain. Added with something like coconut oil, it can be massaged into lymph nodes to help ease inflammation. As always, test a small area of skin first for allergies or reactions.
Rosemary also works well for its anti-viral, anti-microbial and antiseptic properties in cleaning products. You can use it in a mixture with white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to wipe down surfaces such as kitchen worktops. And they will smell lovely afterwards too!
Easy rosemary essential oil blends
Rosemary oil blends well with others, in particular those from related plant families. Some examples of blends include:
- Rosemary mint – 4 drops rosemary, 2 drops spearmint
- Rosemary lavender – 3 drops lavender, 2 drops rosemary, 1 drop Atlas Cedarwood
- Focus blend – 5 drops lemon, 2 drops cinnamon bark, 2 drops rosemary
- Clear mind – 2 drops lime, 2 drops grapefruit, 2 drops rosemary, 2 drops white fir
- Calm – 4 drops lavender, 2 drops rosemary, 1 drop lemongrass
- Decongestant – 3 drops peppermint, 2 drops eucalyptus, 2 drops rosemary, 1 drop lemon
- 10 drops rosemary essential oil
- 1/2 drop carrier oil
- 4 ounces distilled water
- 4 ounce spray bottle (coloured such as green or amber is best)
- Small funnel (optional)
- Add the rosemary oil and carrier oil to the bottle (use the small funnel if you have one to make it easy) and swirl gently to combine
- Add the water then put the bottle lid on tightly
- Shake to combine
- Spray into the roots once a day to help promote hair growth and health
You can also use the same basic idea to make a room spray but leave out the carrier oil. You could add other oils from the blends above to create different scents.
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