Rosemary Essential Oil has many properties that inspire us to live healthier and more vibrant lives. We can use it by applying it to our skin and hair, and by diffusing it in our homes and offices.
Let’s learn a little more about this amazing herb and essential oil!
What is Rosemary Essential Oil?
Rosemary essential oil is produced by steam distilling the flowering tops of this bush-like herb. It is part of the botanical family called Lamiaceae, and is a botanical relative of Lavender, Sage, Basil, Peppermint and Patchouli. This tells us that Rosemary shares similar benefits with these other essential oils.
Many of us are probably very family with Rosemary because it is used today as a culinary herb by many different cultures worldwide. The plant is an evergreen aromatic shrub that can grow between 3 and 6ft high and the numerous branches have an ashy brown color and are covered with scaly bark. The leaves grow opposite one another and look and feel pine-like, and are highly fragrant. It’s flowers range in blue to lilac in color and grow on the top parts of the branches, above the leaves.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region where it grows mostly along the seashore, in sandy drier patches. It’s Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means “Dew of the Sea.” But today we can find Rosemary growing in a lot of different regions around the world, like Morocco, Spain, South Africa, North America, Europe, Asia and the UK.
History and Symbolism of Rosemary
Rosemary has many poetic associations that span back to the time of early Egyptian civilizations. Back then Rosemary was associated with memory and fidelity, and often incorporated into ceremonial and ritual practices, specifically funerals and weddings. Springs of Rosemary have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back 3000 years.
The Greek Physician and philosopher, Dioscorides wrote about Rosemary's many healing benefits in his famous medical book called, Materia Medica, which is still highly regarded as one of the best books for identifying herbs and understanding their medicinal properties.
Many of these early cultures believed that Rosemary also symbolized happiness, love, faithfulness and loyalty and they decorated themselves with the herb during wedding ceremonies, and also gave the herb to wedding guests as gifts. Some wedding tales share that if the Rosemary sprigs that were part of the bride’s bouquet were planted after the wedding and took root - the marriage would be successful and loving.
We can even find in early Medieval mythology, how the people of Spain and Italy believed Rosemary protected them against evil spirits and witches. And up through the 16th century in Europe Rosemary was used as part of the Christmas celebration.
Poets like Shakespeare, who lived in the 16th century in the UK, wrote about Rosemary as being a symbol of memory, and there is written documentation of how folk herbalists during this time period would use the herb to help people clear their minds and think with more focus.
Early Evidence of the Medicinal use of Rosemary
There is a lot of historical evidence of how Rosemary was used to improve people’s health and appearance. Here is a brief review of some of the highlights:
“Blanckes’ Herbal”, the first herbal book printed in English shares how using Rosemary water to wash with improved one’s appearance and youthful energy, and that it helped to reduce swelling in the legs.
Nicholas Culpepper an English botanist, herbalist and physician, who had a tremendous influence on how we identify and use herbs as medicine to this day, shares in his 2 famous books:
"The English Physician" (1652) and the "Complete Herbal" (1653), how Rosemary is a cure-all for colds, flu, loss of memory, headache, coma and can restore bodily functions and energy as we age.
The Plague; Rosemary was burned to protect against evil spirits, infection and for purifying rooms and many people carried sprigs of Rosemary around to sniff during this time to help keep them healthy. Burning Rosemary also kept flies and bugs away, which was how the plague was spread.
And throughout this Medieval period Rosemary was also used to preserve meats since there was no refrigeration. Freshly butchered meats were covered with chopped Rosemary leaves and tightly wrapped to make sure bugs and germs would stay away and the meat wouldn’t spoil.
How we use Rosemary today
Rosemary has many benefits for our minds and bodies, and today we can use the herb in the foods we eat and the essential oil in the skin and hair care products we use on our bodies.
Diffusing Rosemary Essential Oil
Try adding a few drops of Rosemary essential oil to your diffuser to offer an experience of clarity in how we breathe and how we think. It also will make your room smell more calming, and help you to stop rushing around and feeling overwhelmed. It has the potential to make us also feel more focused, stronger, more resilient and protected. If you are diffusing any essential oils make sure to remember to have a well ventilated room and to put your diffuser on a timer so it doesn’t run 24/7.
Applying Rosemary Essential Oil to our skin
Try adding 1-3 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil to your unscented liquid body soap to feel more refreshed and clean. You can also try adding it to a body gel to soothe away whatever bothers you. Or even add it to a body cream or lotion to support the appearance of your skin.
Rosemary Essential Oil for your Hair
Beautiful healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. So try adding 1 -3 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil to 1 TBSP of Jojoba Carrier Oil and massage gently all over your head, to offer a feeling of vibrancy and wellbeing, and add more glow to your hair.
Let us know how you are using Rosemary Essential Oil!