Rosemary is a flowering evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean belonging to the mint family. Not only is it an attractive ornamental plant, rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs around! For thousands of years, it has been cultivated as an aromatic herb for cooking and medicinal purposes.
Rosemary is well known for its health benefits; it is said to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium, zinc and iron. Also, rosemary contains volatile oils that are stimulating and can increase brain alertness. In order words, rosemary would be an effective alternative to coffee!
In the language of flowers, rosemary represent remembrance and love. Rosemary has been used traditionally in weddings and funerals. In Ancient Greece, students would wear rosemary in their hair to help boost their memory during exams.
To grow rosemary, seeds can be sown in the early spring, but it’s easier to grow them from a starter plant. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Do not over water; it’s best to keep the soil on the drier side. Low growing varieties would be ideal for rock gardens and mixed borders. Rosemary does best grown in containers, with upright types can be used for topiary.
Both the flowers and the leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season, as long as the plant is well-established. Simply snip off the ends of the stems, but don’t remove more than 20% of the plant. The flavour and the aroma of rosemary is best before the plant flowers, however the sprigs can be dried or frozen for year round use.
Here is a list of fascinating uses for rosemary:
- Rosemary can be used to flavour foods, particularly lamb, fish, pork, tomatoes, eggs and mushrooms.
- Well-developed woody stems can be used as skewers for shish kebobs.
- It can also be used to make an herbal tea, which can help relieve colds, flu, and indigestion.
- Add some rosemary sprigs to a hot bath to stimulate circulation and re-energize your body.
- A strong rosemary infusion can be used to make an antiseptic mouthwash, which can help relieve sore throats and canker sores.
- The essential oil can relieve skin irritations like eczema and speed up the healing process of wounds and bruises.
- The oil can also be used as a massage oil to treat aching joints and muscle pain.
- Rosemary is used in aromatherapy.
- Rosemary is so aromatic, it make “scents” (pun intended!) to use them in potpourri!
- Use the flowers and leaves in a sachet to freshen drawers, which can repel moths.
- The scent can deter pests like mosquitoes and mice. Place rosemary near doorways and windows.
- Rosemary is a popular ingredient in cosmetics. It can be added to soaps, lotions and shampoos. It is an natural remedy for dandruff.
- Rosemary can be used to create wreaths and garlands.
- Rosemary makes a natural yellow-green dye.
- And last but not least, rosemary can be used in fresh or dried floral arrangements.