Inflammation is one of the most common and widespread issues in the body, which is the body’s response to an immune reaction. A large majority of common illnesses and health conditions have been linked to inflammation, such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and an increased risk of cancer. While there are numerous anti-inflammatory medications and home remedies, many people are turning to herbal medicine as a natural alternative. Rosemary has become a popular choice for its diverse health benefits, including reducing inflammation.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, along with lavender, basil, and thyme. Not only does it help add flavor to recipes, but it’s also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6. In fact, the use of rosemary dates back to 500 b.c. when it was used as both a culinary and medicinal herb by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Hailed for its medicinal properties, rosemary was traditionally used to help mitigate muscle pain, improve memory, boost immune and circulatory systems, and promote hair growth.
Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. While the antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, the compounds help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. The key to rosemary’s anti-inflammatory properties is carnosic acid. Research has shown that it reduces the levels of nitric acid in the body, which is a natural inflammation trigger.
Presently, there is a multitude of research supporting the wide range of health benefits of rosemary. In Europe, rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion. In fact, rosemary is listed as an approved indigestion treatment by the German Commission E, the scientific advisory board of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.
Similarly, there has been research supporting that rosemary may be useful in helping prevent the growth of cancer cells. Research published in Oncology Reports found that “crude ethanolic rosemary extract (RO) slowed the spread of human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells.” Additionally, researchers concluded rosemary may be useful not only for its anti-inflammatory effects but also as an anti-tumor agent, as published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.
Alternatively, there are long term benefits to including rosemary in your daily diet, especially for your brain. Studies have shown that rosemary may significantly helpprevent brain aging. Similarly, the aroma of rosemary has been shown to improve a person’s concentration, performance, speed, accuracy, and even their mood, according to research published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. Additionally, rosemary appears to help protect against brain damage and might improve recovery.
However, if you’re struggling to incorporate rosemary into your diet, it has a multitude of uses. Rosemary can be used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, such as soup, casserole, salad, and stew. Use rosemary with chicken and other poultry, game, lamb, pork, steaks, and fish, especially oily fish. It pairs well with grains, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, and spinach. Rosemary can also be infused with butter or olive oil to add a subtle flavor to your cooking. Regardless, however, rosemary is a wonderful herb to be used for tea, as shown in the recipe below.
Rosemary tea recipe
- 1 teaspoon rosemary (either dried, fresh, or powdered)
- 1 cup water (filtered)
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil in a small pot and then reduce heat.
- Add the rosemary herb to the water and allow to steep for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Once done, switch off the stove and allow to cool. Then strain the tea into a teacup. If you want to add a sweetener, add a teaspoon of honey or sugar as per your preference.
Rosemary is a wonderful herb to include in your daily diet for its various health benefits. Whether you’re looking to enjoy it’s anti-inflammatory properties or improve your digestion, you can relish all of its benefits by including rosemary into your diet a few times a week.