“Oh, and it cures world hunger.” This was a sarcastic taunt from my middle son as we were reviewing the medicinal benefits of Rosmarinus officinalis.
I cut a bunch of rosemary from my front porch garden to flavor a tray of roasting winter vegetables. Calvin, on the other hand, had another idea. He immediately called for the mortar and pestle and began breaking down the leaves before dowsing them with boiling water. He created a big pot of rosemary tea and had he not done so, I would’ve never discovered that he didn’t invent the idea.
Rosemary or rosmarinus officinalis is a popular culinary herb in my kitchen. I love the piney aroma and the fact that it grows as an abundant evergreen with minimal attention. In fact, it is so easy that I often spy it at a hedge amongst office buildings and parking lots in our city. What I did not know was exactly how useful this herb can be.
It appears that rosemary is one of the oldest herbs in cultivation first used for culinary and healing purposes in Rome and Egypt. While ancient physicians documented its use against many physical ailments, modern medicine has also claimed it as a powerful healing agent. There are a number of recent studies:
- Scientists from the Cancer Research Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Catania, Italy have found that rosemary extract can significantly help to protect DNA against free radical damage. According to them, rosemary extract helps protect skin cells, preventing age-related skin damage such as wrinkles.
- State University of New Jersey, found that a 2% concentration of rosemary extract given for 3 weeks was able to significantly inactivate excess oestrogen. This is great news from women like me who take Tamoxifen to block the effects of oestrogen and reduce our risk of recurring breast cancer.
- French scientists from the National Institute of Agronomic Research in Dijon, found that rosemary extract encouraged enzymes to flush harmful toxins from the liver.
- According to Germany’s “Commission E,” an agency equivalent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that deals only with herbs, rosemary is an approved remedy for treating symptoms of digestive distress.
- Dr M Halaoui from the University of Fez in Morocco studied the effects of rosemary extract’s diuretic actions on the kidneys and found that a daily dose in liquid form can improve kidney function significantly.
- The list goes on.
My research and Calvin’s experiment uncovers that one of the best ways to benefit from the excellent properties of rosemary is by drinking it as a tea. It contains powerful antioxidants and many vitamins. Rosemary leaves are high Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, biotin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Whew! Apparently, you can also gargle with it for it’s antiseptic properties or add the tea to your bath water to assist with poor circulation or skin irritations. We uncover more not nearly so well-documented benefits from increasing brain function to preventing cancer.
And of course, there is the fine print; consult your physician before ingesting rosemary tea if you are pregnant or suffer from high blood pressure, hypertension, insomnia, or epilepsy.
Turn your kids loose in the kitchen and see what they might discover! Best yet, turn yourself loose and enjoy a cup of rosemary tea – today’s cure for world hunger.
- 1 tsp dried rosemary or fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 cup boiling water
- agave as sweetener, if desired
Steep for 10 minutes. Then, strain and sip and enjoy the many benefits.