Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a common evergreen shrub grown in many parts of the world. The fresh and dried leaves are used as a food preservative and in traditional Mediterranean cuisine as a flavoring agent. Historically, rosemary has been used medicinally to treat renal colic and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). It has also been used to relieve symptoms caused by lung or breathing (respiratory) disorders and to stimulate the growth of hair. Today, extracts of rosemary are often used in aromatherapy to treat anxiety-related conditions and to increase alertness.
Well-conducted human trials investigating rosemary are lacking. Rosemary appears to hold promise in the improvement of mental state when used in aromatherapy and as a treatment for alopecia. Rosemary leaf is approved by Germany's Commission E for the treatment of dyspepsia, and rosemary oil (used externally) is approved for joint pain and poor circulation.
Albus (cultivar), alecrim (Portuguese), alpha-pinene, Arp (cultivar), Aureus (cultivar), Benenden Blue (cultivar), biberiye (Turkish), Blue Boy (cultivar), borneol, bornyl acetate, caffeic acid, (-)-camphene, camphor, carnosic acid, carnosol, cineole, cis-4-glucosyloxycinnamic acid, Colorlife® powdered rosemary concentrate, compass plant, compass-weed, dendrolivano (Greek), dentrolivano (Greek), dew of the sea, diosmin, diterpenes, eklil kuhi (Persian), epirosmanol, eriocitrin, eucalyptol, Fierabras, flavones, genkwanin, Golden Rain (cultivar), harilik rosmariin (Estonian), hasalban (Turkish), Herbalox® Type O oleoresin rosemary extract, Herbor 025, hesperidin, hispidulin 7-O-glucoside, honey of rosemary, Hungary water, iklil al-jabal (Arabic), Incensier (cultivar), Irene (cultivar), isoscutellarein, Ken Taylor (cultivar), kuşdili otu (Turkish), lá hu'o'ng thao (Vietnamese), Labiatae (family), Lamiaceae (family), luteolin, linalool, Lockwood de Forest (cultivar), Majorca Pink (cultivar), mannenrou (Japanese), methanol (MeOH), (-)-methyl jasmonate, methylcarnosic acid, mi die xiang (Chinese), Miss Jessop's Upright (cultivar), monoterpenes, old man, oleoresin rosemary, Oxy'less®, p-cymene, phenols, pilgrim's flower, Pinkie (cultivar), polar plant, polyphenolic compounds, Prostratus (cultivar), Pyramidalis (cultivar), Queen of Hungary water, quinate, ro ju ma ri (Korean), romaní (Catalan), romarin (French), romarin commun (French), romer (Catalan), romero (Spanish, Tagalog), romero común (Spanish), roozumari (Japanese), roozumarii (Japanese), rosemary honey (Miel de La Alcarria, Spain), Roseus (cultivar), rosmanol, Rosmanox®, rosmaquinone A, rosmaquinone B, rosmariin (Estonian), rosmariini (Finnish), rosmarin (Danish, German, Norwegian, Swedish), rósmarín (Icelandic), Rosmarini folium, rosmarinic acid, rosmarino (Italian), Rosmarinus acid, Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosmarinus officinalis L. var. genuina forma erectus, Rosmarinus tomentosus, rosmario (Spanish), rosumarin (Japanese), rozemarijn (Dutch), rozmari (Greek, Persian), rozmarin (Bulgarian, Hebrew, Romanian, Russian), rozmarín (Slovakian), rožmarin (Slovenian), rozmarín lekársky (Slovakian), rozmaring (Hungarian), rozmaryn (Polish, Ukranian), rozmarýn lékařský (Czech), rozmaryn spravzhnii (Ukranian), rozmarýna (Czech), rozmarýna lékařská (Czech), rozumarii (Japanese), ružmarin (Croatian, Serbian), saedogg (Icelandic), seco-hinokiol, Severn Sea (cultivar), Spanish rosemary, Suffolk Blue (cultivar), thymol, triterpenes, Tuscan blue (cultivar), verbenone.
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 (loss of hair)
Traditionally, rosemary is used to increase circulation in the scalp and possibly promote hair growth. Limited research has indicated some small benefit with the use of essential oils of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and Atlas cedar for the treatment of alopecia areata. However, more research is warranted in this area.
Traditionally, rosemary extract is used in aromatherapy for its purported benefits in mental health, such as relieving anxiety, enhancing mood, altering pain perception, and increasing alertness and improving recall. Studies have reported improvements in stress and alertness, feelings of contentment, as well as quality of memory recall and secondary memory factors. Additional studies are required.
Breast cancer (adjuvant)
Limited research has indicated that a diet consisting of balsamic vinegar from apples and honey, with seabuckthorn berry, rosemary, sage and basil extracts, whole wheat bread with 2.5% of the nutraceutical mixture VITAPAN, and grape seed extract may be capable of reducing oxidative stress and improving well-being in women with breast cancer. However, the effects of rosemary alone are unclear. Additional research is required.
Cognitive performance enhancement
Early research has indicated that aromatherapy with essential oils from rosemary may enhance cognitive performance. However, more research is warranted in this area.
Early research has indicated that aromatherapy with essential oils from rosemary, lemon, and peppermint, combined with abdominal massage, may help alleviate constipation in the elderly. However, more research is warranted in this area.
Dermatitis (skin conditions)
Early research has suggested that a combination of marigold and rosemary extracts may have a significant protective effect for contact dermatitis. However, more research is warranted in this area.
Rheumatic diseases (rheumatism pain)
Although information in humans is limited, the essential oil of rosemary may reduce pain. Several clinical trials have examined the effects of rosemary, in combination with other essential oils, on pain associated with rheumatic diseases in humans. However, more research is needed in this area.