HISTORICAL HINTS: According to a legend rosemary flowers used to be white: they became blue when the Virgin Mary, during her Flight into Egypt, let her cloak slip on a rosemary plant. Rumor has it that rosemary has curative virtues and to support this thesis, according to the tradition the 77 years old Queen Elisabeth of Hungary, full of wrinkles, aches and pains, used to regain health and a second youth thanks to a water called after her, so that the King of Poland proposed to her. The receipt is very simple: rosemary alcoholate, lavender and mint, but unfortunately doses are unknown! In past times branches were burnt in the sick rooms to purify air and during the plague rosemary was kept in pockets and in sticks handles so to breathe it in insalubrious places. Napoleon exploited rosemary because it stimulated intellectual concentration and he was convinced that its perfume helped him preparing his military plans. It seems that Napoleon used a massive quantity of rosemary eau de cologne, probably because it reminded him of his beloved Corse where it grows wild. In the work “Metamorphosis”, Ovid counts the story of the Princess of Persia Leucotoe who, seduced by Apollo, was subjected to her father wrath who killed her for her weakness. Sunlight penetrated the princess tombstone until they reached her remains, which were slowly transformed into a plant with a strong perfume, delicate leaves and light purple-blue flowers.
THE PLANT - Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a spontaneous perennial shrub that belongs to the Lamiaceae family and native to Europe, Asia and Africa, even though now it is common everywhere. The stalk, very ramified , can reach 50 cm to 3 m of height and is covered with small aciform leaves, 2-3 cm long, with a dark green colour on the upper side and whitish on the underside, quite rough. The small rosemary flowers can be blue or light purple according to the species and they blossom in different period of the years according to the climate; while fruits are composed of four small brown oily seeds, contained at the bottom of the calyx.
PHYTOTHERAPY: Often Mather Nature put her best natural remedies under our nose but we are not able see them. This is the case of rosemary, a very common plant used in the Mediterranean cuisine which has also several tonic and detoxicating virtues. Egyptians even considered rosemary a symbol of immortality.
THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES: Rosemary has an anti-stress virtue, depurative action on the liver and helps staying young. Rosemary components act both from the inside and from the outside with stimulating and energetic effects. According to some researches, a regular use of this plant would help you to stay young and avoid sexual breakdown. In addition, rosemary improves blood circulation and especially who feels tired, who suffers from low pressure and bad mood can be relieved. Thanks to powerful anti oxidants as flavonoids, rosemary can balance and detoxicate the liver, the organ which mainly absorb stress and tensions. For these reasons rosemary effects go deep, last and have effect on the whole organism, adrenal gland included, which are those which defend us from stress.
ROSEMARY BASED NATURAL REMEDIES: Rosemary infusion (a branch of around 2 cm) is the easiest method to obtain positive effects; drink this infusion after each meal: it is very good and perfumed.
Rosemary liquid extract: for a stronger restorative cure, take 20 drops of liquid extract (in herbalist shops or specialized centres) three times a day for at least a month. You can also put a drop on your bath sponge and rub it against your kidneys to recharge your energy. BE CAREFUL: as all stimulating plants, rosemary must be used with the utmost care in case of high blood pressure, insomnia and pregnancy; it is advisable to see a doctor anyway.
CULINARY USE - Rosemary is very appreciated in food preparation to aromatize different dishes: flowers are used to aromatize salads, while leaves, fresh or dried, are added to several dishes as roasts, sauces, potatoes based dishes (as salty pies). It is also used in liver pate, lamb, beef, rabbit, duck and goose and it is excellent on bread and “focaccia”. Rosemary branches can also aromatize oil and vinegar with excellent results; its use not only makes food more tasty but also more digestible. It would be better to use rosemary fresh, keeping a small vase on the balcony or in the kitchen garden.