What is Rosemary?
Rosemary which is known scientifically as Rosmarinus officinalis is a fragrant herb that has graced kitchens and gardens the world over for thousands of years. Also known as ‘Old man’ and ‘Dew of the Sea’, the herb belongs to the same family as mint. It closely resembles lavender in appearance and has almost as many uses.
Rosemary is a very hardy herb making it easy to cultivate either indoors or out. Its delightful fragrance and flavor gives it endless uses in the kitchen. Typically used to flavor soups and stews, rosemary can actually be used to make a therapeutic tea with a wonderful variety of health benefits.
If you do not grow your own rosemary, try to buy the fresh variety as it is superior to the dried form both in terms of flavor and benefits to your health. You can keep fresh rosemary for a few weeks if you store it in the fridge in a proper ziploc bag. The dried variety can be used for a number of months provided you store it in a cool, dry area and use an airtight container.
Nutritional Value and Therapeutic Properties of Rosemary
The reason that rosemary has such a wide range of medicinal benefits is because of its chemical make-up. It contains various essential oils including camphene, cienol, bornyl acetate, a-pinene and borneol. These oils are known for their antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal benefits.
In addition, the flower tops of the herb contain rosmarinic acid which contains both antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Rosemary also contains a rich variety of healthy nutrients. It contains ample amounts of vitamins A and C which are natural antioxidants capable of zapping free radicals, improving the skin and protecting you from illness. It also have several of the B family of vitamins including pantothenic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine and folate known to prevent birth defects and help women leading up to childbirth.
The Health Benefits of Rosemary Tea
1) Protection from Cancer
Of all the benefits that rosemary tea can offer you, this maybe the most exciting. Research conducted in Japan found that rosemary tea might help protect against the killer disease. The two primary active compounds in rosemary are caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid which both have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential. (1)
These acids can help protect against oxidative stress caused by the free radicals which leave us more vulnerable to major diseases like heart disease and cancer. The carnosol contained in rosemary is also a useful substance which helps to detoxify the body of many substances linked to cancer.
Research done so far has demonstrated that rosemary tea might inhibit the development and growth of various types of cancer cell including lung, prostate, breast and liver cancers.
2) Improved Digestion
Many people suffer from the painful symptoms of poor digestion that can also have knock on effects on their general health. Dyspepsia which is more commonly known as indigestion is a very common symptom of an inefficient digestive system. Other common issues are pain, cramps, bloating and heartburn.
According to research, rosemary tea can help treat many of these issues and is especially useful for treating indigestion. Rosemary has already been approved by Germany’s Commission E as a natural remedy for indigestion although there is still some debate in the U.S about its efficacy.
3) Skin Health
Rosemary tea can also be used as a tonic for the skin and even to help treat various skin conditions like eczema. Rosemary tea has excellent antibacterial and antioxidant actions which are perfect for the skin’s health. According to experts, it can be used to treat conditions like eczema and rashes and also common fungal infections.
Rosemary also stimulated circulation of the blood to the surface of the skin and may also be useful in protecting us against the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Not only is drinking rosemary tea extremely healthy but you can use it topically as a skin wash several times a day to help protect and treat your skin.
4) Brain Health
A study that was conducted back in 2008 revealed that rosemary contained a compound called carnosic acid. This compound has antioxidant abilities and was found to be useful in protecting the brain from oxidative stress. (2)
According to researchers, carnosic acid can protect the brain against degenerative brain conditions and maintain the health and function of the brains neurons. It may help delay the onset of conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
5) Bad breath
Rosemary tea makes for a wonderful natural remedy for halitosis or bad breath. Many people have a problem with their breath even if they are careful with dental hygiene. A natural remedy like rosemary tea is a great way to boost your health and get your breath smelling sweet at the same time. It is antiseptic, antibacterial and very fragrant making it ideal for the teeth and gums.
Simply drink up a cup of rosemary tea in the morning or gargle with the tea after you have brushed your teeth and we are sure you will notice the difference.
6) Pain relief
Rosemary tea can also help relieve the pain of headaches and mild migraines. Not only is it effective against headaches but its anti-inflammatory nature makes it the perfect natural remedy for muscle pain and joint pain like arthritis.
Several of the compounds found in rosemary tea including carnasol and carnosic acid have excellent anti-inflammatory actions. This means that drinking rosemary tea on a regular basis can help alleviate the swelling and pain associated with conditions like arthritis and rheumatism. One study revealed that these compounds inhibited the production of nitric acid which contributes to the inflammatory process. (3)
8) Hair Health
Rosemary extract has been used to help maintain hair health and even to treat conditions such as alopecia. Rosemary tea may be a very useful treatment for improving the health of the scalp and supporting the growth of healthier and stronger hair.
Because of its anti-fungal nature, rosemary tea may also be a useful treatment for dandruff.
Like many herbal teas, rosemary tea may be a very effective remedy for a range of respiratory conditions. According to proponents, rosemary tea is a great remedy for annoying symptoms of colds and flu including congestion and coughing.
10) For Relaxation
In aromatherapy, rosemary is used to help relax the mind and body. Try drinking rosemary tea if you are feeling stressed and anxious or rub a few fresh leaves into your temples to deal with anxiety type headaches. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another, but we feel that it is worth trying.
11) Liver Health
Rosemary tea and the herb itself is an excellent remedy for minor liver conditions. Studies have found that extracts of the herb prevented liver damage in rats. (4)
How To Make Rosemary Tea
Rosemary is easy enough to use as a delicious therapeutic tea. It is full of vitamins and minerals that can help your health no end. In tea form, you will be getting the full value of its antioxidants and other nutrients. It is especially effective for treating digestive complaints. If you are suffering from poor digestion or you just want a healthy tea, follow these very simple instructions, drink up and enjoy.
- Add a teaspoon or so of dried rosemary needles into a cup of hot, boiled water.
- Allow your mixture to steep for at least 5 minutes to extract the health benefits.
- The tea has a savory flavor that not everybody will enjoy. If you prefer your teas sweet, you can add a dollop of pure honey and some lemon to taste.
- Drink up 3 times a day.
Precautions and Side Effects
- As long as rosemary is not taken in excessive quantities, it is regarded as safe.
- Daily intake should not exceed 6 grams of dried rosemary.
- It is possible for rosemary to cause an allergic reaction in certain people.
- Rosemary can also interact with certain prescription medications including blood thinners and diuretics. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about interactions.
- People with certain conditions like ulcerative colitis, ulcers and Crohn’s disease should avoid rosemary tea.
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms should also consult their doctor before drinking rosemary tea.