Rosemary Plant


During the course of our busy lives we often oblivious or ignorant to the wonders of the natural organic world living alongside us. One of the plants in our back garden is Rosemary. I decided to do a little research on the plant and found a lot of interesting information.

For example, were you aware that rosemary has been revered for centuries not only for its culinary use but also for its medicinal properties?

Native Environment

Rosemary is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, but has spread around the world. We are growing a batch in the sub-tropical environment of South East Queensland, Australia without any issues. Rosemary is an evergreen shrub and can grow up to four feet.

Botanical Information

  • Scientific Classification: Rosemary, scientifically known as Rosmarinus officinalis, belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae.
  • Physical Description: Rosemary is an evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves and small, pale blue flowers. The leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath.
  • Habitat: Rosemary thrives in warm climates and is commonly found along the Mediterranean coast. It prefers well-drained alkaline soil and lots of sunlight.

History and Origin

  • Ancient Uses: Ancient Greeks and Romans believed rosemary was a sacred plant. They used it in religious ceremonies, for medicinal purposes, and even as a symbol of remembrance.
  • Cultural Significance: In some cultures, rosemary is associated with memory and fidelity. It was often used in weddings and funerals.
  • Discovery: The use of rosemary dates back to around 5000 BC in the Mediterranean region. It gradually spread to Europe and later to America through colonization and trade.

Medicinal Properties

  • Active Compounds: Rosemary contains several potent compounds, including rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, and antioxidants like carnosol and carnosic acid.
  • Health Benefits: Rosemary is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. It is used to improve digestion, enhance memory and concentration, relieve pain, and boost the immune system.
  • Scientific Studies: Studies have shown that rosemary extract can improve cognitive performance and mood. Research also indicates its potential in reducing inflammation and preventing oxidative stress.

Culinary Uses

  • Common Recipes: Rosemary is a versatile herb used in a variety of dishes. It pairs well with roasted meats, vegetables, and potatoes. Try adding it to soups, stews, and bread for a delightful aroma and flavor.
  • Flavor Profile: Rosemary has a strong, pine-like aroma with hints of citrus and a slightly bitter, astringent taste.
  • Cooking Tips: To preserve its flavor, add rosemary towards the end of cooking. Fresh rosemary can be used in marinades, and dried rosemary works well in rubs and seasoning blends.

Growing the Herb

  • Cultivation Tips: Rosemary can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or transplants. Plant it in well-drained soil and place it in a sunny spot. It’s a hardy plant that can tolerate drought once established.
  • Care Instructions: Water rosemary sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Prune regularly to encourage bushier growth and prevent legginess.
  • Harvesting and Storage: Harvest rosemary by cutting stems from the plant. Store fresh rosemary in the refrigerator or dry the stems by hanging them in a cool, dark place.

Further Reading

Check out these books for more information on rosemary and other herbs:
The Encyclopedia of Herbs by Arthur O. Tucker
Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann
The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing by Mark Bricklin


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