Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis Linn, is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is a popular evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean and used in cooking all over the world.
Rosemary leaf has calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins A, B1, B2, Niacin, Pantothenic acid and folic acid; as well as minerals like iron and calcium. It also contains carnosic and rosmarinic acids, camphene, luteolin and carnosol.
Rosemary leaf is available as fresh or dry leaves. It is popularly consumed as a tea. It may be used as whole dried herb, a dried powdered extract, aromatherapy or oily or alcoholic extract.
Pharmacological actions and medicinal uses
Studies show that Rosemary has expectorant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, blood sugar lowering, blood pressure lowering, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer and antitumor properties. Thus its use for cough, colds, bronchial asthma, headaches, sprains, rheumatism and arthritis, dental and skin care.
Studies reveal that Rosemary can help to improve memory performance and focus. It is also useful in relieving stress. It can prevent and slow Alzheimer’s disease.
Rosemary leaf is used to manage gastro intestinal problems such as heartburn, gas, peptic ulcer, cramping, constipation, bloating, anorexia, liver and gall bladder complaints.
The oil of rosemary has been known to promote hair growth, treat dandruff and dry scalp.
Ingestion of large amounts of Rosemary can cause gastro intestinal irritation, kidney damage, seizures, toxicity, coma, vomiting, pulmonary oedema, increased menstrual bleeding, increased risk of miscarriage, spasms and autoimmune disease.
Economic uses and potentials
Rosemary leaf is widely useful in food, beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries as preservatives and flavours. Rosemary farming to get natural antioxidants to replace chemicals in food preservation is encouraged. A pack of 250g costs between ₦1000-₦2500, depending on the brand. In 2020, the export value of Rosemary was $137.40m in US and $831.34m in China.
By Pharm. Ngozika Okoye MSc, MPH, FPCPharm (Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency)
Nordqvist (2017). Everything you need to know about rosemary. Medical News Today.
Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266370#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
Accessed on 27th June, 2022.