– PLANT DESCRIPTION:
Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub with leaves similar to hemlock needles. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). (1)
The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue. (2)
Rosemary also has a tendency to flower outside its normal flowering season; it has been known to flower as late as early December, and as early as mid-February (in the northern hemisphere). (3)
Since it is attractive and drought-tolerant, rosemary is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and for xeriscape landscaping, especially in regions of Mediterranean climate. It is considered easy to grow and pest-resistant. Rosemary can grow quite large and retain attractiveness for many years, can be pruned into formal shapes and low hedges, and has been used for topiary. It is easily grown in pots. The groundcover cultivars spread widely, with a dense and durable texture.
Rosemary grows on friable loam soil with good drainage in an open, sunny position. It will not withstand waterlogging and some varieties are susceptible to frost. It grows best in neutral to alkaline conditions (pH 7–7.8) with average fertility. It can be propagated from an existing plant by clipping a shoot (from a soft new growth) 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long, stripping a few leaves from the bottom, and planting it directly into soil.
– CHEMICAL COMPOSITION:
Rosemary contains a number of phytochemicals, including rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, carnosic acid and carnosol. (4)
– ROSEMARY USES & BENEFITS:
- Rosemary has long been thought to prevent premature balding and even aiding new hair growth.
- It has been infused into many shampoo products as an aid in fighting dandruff.
- This herb has been used as an insect repellent and is commonly placed in closets and dressers to keep moths away. Additionally it has been used to get rid of head lice.
- Rosemary has had a long-lived reputation for improving memory.
- Some studies claim that the carnosic acid found in rosemary may shield the brain from free radicals. Lowering the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- It is believed to be helpful in the digestion of starchy foods and vegetables to avoid indigestion.
- Rosemary is also believed to relieve flatulence and its is commonly used as a circulatory and heart stimulant. In addition, it has been shown to have possible antioxidant properties.
- Muscle and joint pain and the symptoms of gout have been relieved throughout history with this herb.
- Rosemary oil is sometimes used to treat muscle pain and arthritis.
- Rosemary is used as incense and is also very common in aroma therapy. The herb is approved as a medicinal herb by the German Commission E.
- Fresh and dried leaves are often used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
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