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Rosemary for Memory and Brain Power

Rosemary is one of our favourite culinary herbs, coming from the Mediterranean where its traditional use in the kitchen was complemented by its value as a medicinal herb. It has been used in this way since Greek and Roman times and has never lost its popularity.

Rosemary for Remembrance

Rosemary has special significance for memory, particularly in remembering the dead. In Hamlet, Shakespeare says “There’s Rosemary: that’s for remembrance”, and Rosemary is often planted around war memorials and in cemeteries. Its reputation for strengthening the memory has made it the emblem of our ANZAC Day as we honour those ANZAC’s who have been killed in war since those fateful days at Gallipoli in 1915.

Rosemary for your brain

Rosemary acts as a stimulant to the circulatory and nervous systems. It increases blood flow to your brain and strengthens memory and concentration. Carnosic acid, present in Rosemary leaf, has been shown to fight free radical damage in the brain. Furthermore it can protect your brain from stroke and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as the effects of normal aging. This discovery has come from work done by a research group at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in California headed by Dr. Stuart Lipton and Dr. Takumi Satoh from Iwate University in Japan.

Revitalising Rosemary

Rosemary is also a tonic. Used after illness if restores health, helping to overcome lethargy and debility (see below for how to take it as a tea). Its Latin name Rosmarinus, means “dew of the sea”, a reference to its refreshing effect on the spirit. It lifts depression and listlessness, reinforces the heart’s desires, and is empowering – boosting confidence and faith in your potential. It warms your spirit and gives you courage.

What else can Rosemary do for you?

  • A cup of Rosemary tea is a good remedy for headaches, colds, and indigestion - especially if indigestion is due to tension and emotional upsets.  Cover 1-2 teaspoons of dried Rosemary with boiling water and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you cover the infusion during its preparation so that the steam, which contains beneficial oils, does not escape. Drink up to 230mls of tea daily. DO NOT use if you have high blood pressure and during pregnancy.
  • For a warming and stimulating bath add a few drops of Rosemary essential oil to the bath water. This is an excellent ‘pick me up’ after a tiring day to ease aching muscles.
  • Essential oil of Rosemary is stimulating to the hair follicles and, massaged into the scalp, may prevent premature baldness. A hair rinse can be made from a pot of Rosemary tea. For shining hair, pour a cooled infusion of the tea over your hair after washing it.
So enjoy your roast lamb dinner with heaps of Rosemary and Garlic and all those yummy Rosemary roast potatoes and don’t forget to add it to your favourite casseroles and soups. Your brain will be grateful and you will remember those recipes too!