Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis Linn.) is a common dense, evergreen, aromatic shrub grown in many parts of the world. Historically, rosemary has been used as a medicinal agent to treat renal colic and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). It has also been used to relieve symptoms caused by respiratory disorders and to stimulate the growth of hair. Traditionally, rosemary has been used for improving memory, and has been a symbol of remembrance and friendship for centuries. In Morocco, rosemary has been used to treat diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure).
The most researched constituents of rosemary are caffeic acid and its derivative rosmarinic acid. These compounds are thought to have antioxidant effects and are being studied as potential therapies for cancer, hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity), and inflammatory conditions.
Currently, available studies show some promise for rosemary in the treatment of anxiety/stress (aromatherapy) and alopecia (hair loss). Current cosmetic uses of rosemary include treating cellulite and wrinkles, and normalizing excessive oil secretion of the skin. Germany's Commission E has approved rosemary leaf for treatment of dyspepsia and rosemary oil (used externally) for joint pain and poor circulation.
Albus (cultivar), Arp (cultivar), Aureus (cultivar), Benenden Blue (cultivar), Blue Boy (cultivar), caffeic acid, carnosol, carnosic acid, compass plant, compass-weed, dew of the sea, diterpenes, epirosmanol, Fierabras, Golden Rain (cultivar), Herbor 025, Hungary water, Incensier (cultivar), Irene (cultivar), Ken Taylor (cultivar), Labiate (family), Lamiaceae (family), Lockwood de Forest (cultivar), Majorica Pink (cultivar), methanol (MeOH), Miss Jessop's Upright (cultivar), phenols, pilgrim's flower, Pinkie (cultivar), polar plant, polyphenolic compounds, Prostratus (cultivar), Pyramidalis (cultivar), Queen of Hungary water, romero (Spanish), Roseus (cultivar), rosmanol, rosmarinic acid, Rosmanox®, Rosmarini folium, rosmarinic acid, Rosmarinus officinalis, Severn Sea (cultivar), Suffolk Blue (cultivar), Tuscan blue (cultivar).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Alopecia areata (hair loss)
Rosemary oil is reported to increase circulation and possibly promote hair growth in patients with alopecia areata. Additional study is warranted to confirm these findings.
Rosemary extract is frequently used in aromatherapy for treatment of a variety of conditions, including anxiety, mood enhancement, alteration of pain perception, and to increase alertness. Early study has shown benefit in reducing stress levels and increasing alertness. More study is needed to draw a firm recommendation.