Rosemary Essential Oil: Uses and Benefits
Considered sacred by ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Hebrews rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is much more than an aromatic herb that tastes good on potatoes and roasted lamb. It’s also one of the most powerful herbs and essential oils on the planet.
Rosemary has a woody, evergreen like scent and is part of the mint family. In recent research, it’s been shown to boost nerve growth factor and support the healing of neurological tissue and brain function.
Native to the Mediterranean, the wooded evergreen has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years to:
- Improve memory
- Soothe digestive uses
- Relieve muscle aches and pains
More recently, it has become a popular ingredient in many skin and hair care products due to its antiseptic properties and researchers are starting to dig deeper into its medicinal characteristics.
Rosemary Nutrition Profile
Having an antioxidant ORAC value of 3,300, rosemary has the same free radical fighting power as goji berries! The chemical in rosemary primarily responsible for this is carnosol, a phenolic diterpene also found in mountain desert sage.
In addition to being a rich antioxidant, carnosol is also known for its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, which help explain why rosemary essential oil is so potent. According to a recent article published in the journal Cancer Letters, “Carnosol has been evaluated for anti-cancer property in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancer with promising results!”
It has also been discovered that carnosol targets cells to reduce inflammation and can also:
- Balance androgen and estrogen in the body
- Lower DHT (dihyroxytestosterone) improving hair growth and prostate health
- Reduce cancer risk
- Increase nerve growth factor healing nerve tissue
According to researchers, “It has a selective toxicity towards cancer cells versus non-tumorigenic cells and is well tolerated when administered to animals.” In other words, carnosol acts like a military sniper who only takes out his enemy target and doesn’t damage neighboring cells like the chemotherapy nuclear-bomb approach, which kills everything along its path
Top 4 Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits
In addition to reversing inflammation and halting the growth of cancer cells, research has uncovered that rosemary essential oil is also highly effective in several other areas.
1. Rosemary Oil Benefits Hair Growth
When applied over the scalp rosemary essential oil helps stimulate hair growth. Many people also claim that it can prevent baldness, slows graying, and can be used to treat dandruff and dry scalp. After testing a hair lotion that he patented, Francesc Casadó Galcerá found that a mixture of hops, rosemary, and swertia and found some pretty remarkable results:
- A 22.4% increases in new hair growth.
- An increase in “rapid” hair growth.
- An increase in microcirculation of the scalp, which promotes healing.
- An improvement in the ability of hair to resist traction.
- A decrease in hair loss after shampooing.
To experience how rosemary oil benefits hair growth try using this homemade DIY Rosemary Mint Shampoo recipe.
2. Rosemary Improves Memory
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, pray you love, remember.”
~ Ophelia (Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”)
Worn by Greek scholars to enhance their memory when taking exams, the mental strengthening ability of rosemary has been known for thousands of years. The International Journal of Neuroscience published a study highlighting this phenomenon.
Upon evaluating how the cognitive performance of 144 participants was affected by rosemary oil aromatherapy, lavender oil aromatherapy, and controls University of Northumbria, Newcastle researchers discovered that,
- Probably due to its significant calming effect, “lavender produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention based tasks.”
- “Rosemary produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors.”
- Rosemary helped people become more alert.
- Lavender and rosemary helped produced a feeling of “contentment” in the volunteers.
Affecting much more than memory, studies have also known that rosemary essential oil can help treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Published in Psychogeriatrics, the effects of aromatherapy were tested on 28 elderly people with dementia (17 of whom had Alzheimer’s).
After inhaling the vapor of rosemary and lemon in the morning, and lavender and orange in the evening various functional assessments were conducted and all patients “patients showed significant improvement in personal orientation” and no one experienced any side effects.
3. Liver Detoxification and Gallbladder Function
Traditionally used for its ability to help with gastrointestinal complaints, rosemary is also a fantastic detoxifier. Studies have been done in India uncovering how supplementing with rosemary greatly enhances your body’s bile flow (which is essential for fat metabolism and detoxification) and reduces plasma liver enzymes (which has been linked to type II diabetes).
Essentially, by helping enhance the performance of the bile-producing gallbladder (as well as balancing out the microflora in your gut) proper peristaltic activity is promoted, which boosting nutrient absorption and helps reverse/prevent toxic overload.
4. Rosemary Lowers Cortisol
A study was conducted out of Meikai University, School of Dentistry in Japan that interestingly evaluated how 5 minutes of lavender and rosemary aromatherapy affected the salivary cortisol levels (the “stress” hormone) of 22 healthy volunteers.
Upon observing that both essential oils enhance free radical scavenging activity, they also discovered that both greatly reduced cortisol levels, which protects the body from chronic disease due to oxidative stress.
Best Rosemary Oil Uses
As you can see from the research, rosemary essential oil is effective and safe to use in a variety of ways. When it comes to implementing them into your natural health regimen, I recommend the following do-it-yourself recipes:
Improve Memory – Mix 3 drops of rosemary oil with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and rub on upper neck or diffuse for 1 hour a day.
Hair Thickener – Put 5 drops of rosemary oil on scalp and massage in after showers or use my homemade rosemary mint shampoo recipe.
Heal Prostate – Mix 2 drops of rosemary oil with 1/2 tsp of carrier oil and rub beneath testicles.
Reduce Pain – Mix 2 drops of rosemary oil, 2 drops of peppermint oil and 1 tsp of coconut oil and rub on sore muscles and painful joints.
Improve Gallbladder Function – Mix 3 drops of rosemary oil with 1/4 tsp of coconut oil and rub over gallbladder area 2x daily.
Heal Neuropathy and Neuralgia – Take 2 drops of rosemary oil, 2 drops of helichrysum oil, 2 drops of cypress oil and 1/2 tsp of a carrier oil and rub on area of neuropathy.
Note, it is also recommended that you do not use on children under 4 years of age. With children, we recommend you consider using frankincense oil instead for many conditions. Make sure that you consult with your natural healthcare provider before making it part of your kids’ routine.