– Rosmarinus Officinalis
The evergreen rosemary herb is native in the Mediterranean counties. The rosemary herb is a woody plant with narrow pointed leaves. This plant comes in many varieties and sizes.
The tallest ones can grow up to two meters high. The flowers on the rosemary plant may vary in color. Some rosemary plants have white flowers; others have pink, blue or purple flowers.
The name rosemary comes from the Latin word “rosmarinus” meaning “dew of the sea”.
The reason for this particular name is that some varieties grow wild in coastal areas and need little water. Some also say it is because the rosemary flowers have a dew-like look from a distance.
The rosemary herb needs full sun and well-drained soil. Rosemary will not do well in a wet and cold winter climate.
Just about all rosemary plants are great for cooking. A few exceptions are mainly used medical purposes. In cooking rosemary can be used either fresh or dry.
You can dry rosemary braches either by hanging them up to dry or dry on paper towels. When the rosemary is dry remove the leaves from the stem. Store the rosemary leaves in an airtight box.
The rosemary herb does have sharp edges and it is a good idea to crush the leaves before using them in cooking.
Rosemary has a strong flavor and should be used carefully. Only small quantities are needed in cooking. Used with care rosemary adds a wonderful flavor to chicken, lamb or fish dishes.
Small amounts of powdered rosemary can be used in jams or biscuits. Fresh rosemary flowers can be added to salads or used as garnish.
Rosemary Health Benefits
Rosemary has a long tradition as a memory enhancer.
Rosemary is said to improve circulation and lift your spirits. It is used to fight depression.
Many use about 10-20 drops of rosemary essential oil in their bath to help relax and ease muscular tension.
Rosemary water can be used as a gargle to help treat sour throats.
Rosemary tea can also be used as hair conditioner. If you have dark hair a rosemary tea rinse does wonders for your hair.
Rosemary vinegar is widely known as an effective disinfectant.
Scientists are now researching more powerful advantages of rosemary for the use of preventing cancer.
Rosemary in Legend, Folklore and Superstition
Rosemary has been a symbol of remembrance for many centuries in Europe. It was often plated on graves.
Rosemary was also a symbol of fidelity and was often included in the bridal bouquet. Also if you slip a sprig of rosemary in a flower bouquet you are giving away the receiver will have good luck.
The Rosemary herb hung on the outside of a house was believed to protect the home and keep the devil away.
In England there was a saying that if rosemary grew in the garden the woman was the master of the home. This was also said about parsley. So if both parsley and rosemary were to be found in the garden there should be no doubt about the matter!
Rosemary with blue flowers has also been called the “Rose of Mary”. There is a legend that that Virgin Mary laid her blue cape over a white blossoming rosemary bush. When she removed her cape the flowers on the rosemary bush had changed color to blue.
Rosemary has its own tale in the mythology story about the birth of Aphrodite (in Greek mythology)/ Venus (in Roman mythology), goddess of love and beauty.
Aphrodite emerged from the foam of sperm of Uranus (first ruler of the Universe) which had fallen into the ocean after his son Cronos had cut off his father’s genitals.
According to Greek legend Aphrodite rose from the foam on the shores of Cyprus covered in rosemary.
In Ancient Greece and in Ancient Rome rosemary was associated with remembrance. Students would wear the rosemary herb to help them concentrate during exams.