What is rosemary and rosemary oil: photos, useful properties and contraindications, use in cooking and cosmetology

Rosemary and rosemary oil

We often use an herb like rosemary in our sauce recipes. So let’s find out more about him, because he is credited with almost magical properties.

What it looks like, photos and what varieties there are

Rosemary (in Latin rosmarinus, in English rosemary) is an evergreen shrub with a characteristic strong aroma. For centuries, the plant has been widely used in several fields – cooking, cosmetology and even medicine.

This is one of the most popular and recognizable culinary spices, and rosemary oil is often used in skin care and the treatment of various diseases.

Medicinal rosemary is a herbaceous subshrub with a height of 50 cm to 2 m with narrow leaves of short length. The shape of the leaves vaguely resembles pine needles.

This is where the magical properties of rosemary lie. The leaves have a composite color – emerald green above and whitish below.

The plant is often used as an ornamental, but it does not survive in cold climates. Warmth is important for the magic of rosemary, and the bush is simply not able to survive a harsh winter. Therefore, in the northern regions you have to not grow it yourself, but buy it in fresh and dried forms.

All varieties are divided into 2 categories:

  • medicinal rosemary – reaches 2 m in height, easily tolerates regular trimming;
  • decorative (prostrate, or prostratus) – low (no higher than 1 m), growing along the ground, its shoots can occupy an area up to 1.5 m in diameter.

Useful rosemary from the medicinal category is represented by the following varieties:

  • “Tenderness” (most popular);
  • “Rosinka” (indoor, no more than 40 cm high);
  • “Biryusa” (with light blue flowers);
  • «Corsican blue» (plant of creeping type);
  • “White” (originally from Italy).

In open varieties, the magical medicinal properties of rosemary are not expressed, but these varieties look beautiful and become a decoration for any plant composition.

These include blue winter, ampelous, Crimean and many other species bred specifically as decorative ones.

Chemical composition

Rosemary seasoning is characterized by a very rich chemical composition:

  • rosmarinic acid;
  • camphor;
  • carnosolic acid;
  • verbenone;
  • rosemary;
  • borneol;
  • ursolic acid;
  • iron;
  • zinc;
  • magnesium;
  • copper;
  • phosphorus;
  • potassium;
  • vitamins A, B (various), C, E.

The plant does not contain toxic substances. There is quite a lot of essential oil in the composition – from 0.3% to 1.2% of the total mass of greenery (depending on the place where the shrub grows).

With all the abundance of useful microelements, it is worth considering that the product is quite high in calories – 100 g of greens accounts for 131 kcal.

Taste and smell

With its taste and aroma, rosemary attracts many gourmets around the world:

  • the rich aroma includes pine needles, eucalyptus, lemon and camphor;
  • the taste is spicy, with pronounced bitterness and slight sourness.

In terms of aroma and taste, rosemary is not too harsh – most people find it “softer” than ginger. Therefore, it can be eaten raw and added to salads.

Benefits of rosemary

The obvious benefits of rosemary for the human body are of particular interest. Of course, rosemary is used for health mainly in folk medicine, but it is often recommended by professional doctors.

Main properties of rosemary:

  • improvement of general immunity;
  • wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects;
  • relief of symptoms of various diseases;
  • removal of toxins;
  • acceleration of metabolism;
  • lowering cholesterol levels;
  • memory improvement.

This is not a complete list of how rosemary benefits people. But the listed properties are the most important, because they are felt by almost everyone who uses the plant for medicinal purposes.

For men

The spice also improves men’s health perfectly. Here are the benefits of rosemary in a man’s body:

  • improvement of potency;
  • increasing the overall tone of the body;
  • significant reduction in the risk of prostatitis;
  • relieving inflammation and healing purulent wounds (including on the genitals).

The use and consumption of rosemary is especially recommended for middle-aged men. For their body, which is undergoing age-related changes or is preparing for such, this spice is as useful as possible.

For women

The benefits of rosemary for women are enormous. The spice affects a woman’s body as follows:

  • stimulates the reproductive system (reduces the risk of unsuccessful future births);
  • fights menstrual irregularities and menopause;
  • reduces the symptoms of toxicosis during pregnancy.

Healing rosemary can be used even by pregnant women (except for the last trimester). This is one of his main values.

For cancer

It is claimed that the seasoning exhibits wonderful healing properties even for cancer. Due to its high carnosol content, the plant causes apoptosis (death) of cancer cells.

Even just eating rosemary is very beneficial, and essential oil is even more effective.

There is no clinical evidence of the plant’s effectiveness in fighting cancer yet, but there are numerous testimonies from patients. But studies were carried out on mice, and the results were simply stunning.

Eating greens 5 times a day for 4 weeks resulted in 90% dead cancer cells. The greatest effectiveness is against prostate, liver and stomach cancer.

For weight loss

Another thing rosemary is used for is to combat excess weight. Here are the benefits of medicinal rosemary:

  • increased blood flow;
  • elimination of cellulite deposits;
  • toning muscles;
  • smoothing wrinkles and folds.

Preventative recipes from rosemary

In order for the rosemary spice to give maximum effect, it must be prepared correctly. Below are basic recipes for the prevention of various diseases.

Decoction

For this recipe, you need dried rosemary.

You will need:

  • rosemary seasoning – 2 tsp;
  • water – 250 ml.

Recipe:

  1. To boil water.
  2. Without removing from the heat, pour the dried spice into a container of water.
  3. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Cool and strain.

It is recommended to use this decoction 1 tsp. 30 minutes before each meal. It is not worth increasing the dosage – this will not bring additional benefit, it will only increase costs.

Alcohol tincture

Both fresh and dried spices are suitable for this tincture recipe.

Ingredients:

  • rosemary (fresh – 50 g, dried – 20 g);
  • vodka – 250 ml.

Recipe:

  1. Chop the greens.
  2. Add to a container with vodka (can be replaced with alcohol diluted to 40°). Mix.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and leave for 10 days. Stir once a day.
  4. Strain.

Vodka tincture should be consumed 30 minutes before meals, but not more than 3 times a day. They usually drink 25 drops, diluting them with a small amount of water until it is comfortable to use.

Rosemary infusion

For this infusion you will need a fresh plant:

  • rosemary – 1 sprig (2 tsp chopped herbs will be enough);
  • water – 250 ml.

Recipe:

  1. To boil water.
  2. Chop the greens. Add to boiling water.
  3. Leave for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain.

The healing properties of rosemary in this recipe are revealed if consumed within 1 day. It is recommended to spread out the entire liquid over 5 doses.

Rosemary tea

Tea with rosemary also has its beneficial properties. It’s very easy to prepare – you just need to add 1 tsp to a cup of boiling water. dried spices and leave for about 5-7 minutes.

It is advisable to consume 2 or 3 cups daily. The beneficial properties in rosemary tea are:

  • relieves physical weakness;
  • relieves stress;
  • Helps you recover faster from illness.

Relaxing bath

A bath with medicinal rosemary is a good way not only to relax, but also to relieve pain in muscles and joints. You can use either sprigs of fresh rosemary or dry seasoning.

It is permissible to add only spice to the bath – it has a good effect on its own. But the spice works most effectively in this complex combination:

  • rosemary – 1 sprig (chopped);
  • sea ​​salt – 1 tsp;
  • honey – 1 tsp;
  • milk (warm) – 200 ml.

Baths with essential oils are also very common. They have a similar effect to the fresh and dried plant.

Contraindications and possible harm

Although rosemary is a very useful seasoning, there are no ideal products. This plant also has some contraindications. Harmful rosemary in such cases:

  • hypertension (since the spice tones the muscles, it increases blood pressure – this is bad if the pressure is initially elevated);
  • epilepsy (seizures are possible due to the same tonic effect);
  • period of breastfeeding (lactation may stop, and the child has a risk of seizures);
  • age less than 5 years (in young children, spice often disrupts sleep patterns).

Do not rely too much on seasoning during pregnancy. Although it is allowed and even recommended, it is only in small doses. If you overdo it, the tone of the uterus increases, which leads to an increased risk of miscarriage.

Rosemary in cosmetology

In cosmetological terms, the spice has a beneficial effect on the skin. It smooths out wrinkles and increases blood flow to the epidermal layer, resulting in rejuvenation.

Therefore, the plant is added to homemade toning masks. With regular use they give very noticeable results.

Another reason to use seasoning in cosmetology is its pronounced anti-inflammatory effect. The seasoning successfully fights acne, rashes and other manifestations of problematic skin. It also heals small wounds.

Rosemary in cooking

Fresh and dry rosemary are very widely used in culinary dishes of different peoples of the world. Rosemary has found its widest use in Europe, and especially in Spain and France.

The French traditionally prepare balsamic vinegar and balsamic sauce from the leaves of the plant, which are used in different types of dishes. In addition, they add fresh leaves during the cooking process.

In general, a meat dish with rosemary is a win-win option:

  • the moderate bitterness of the seasoning adds piquancy to the meat;
  • a strong aroma beneficially hides the odors of many types of meat (which is useful, for example, when cooking lamb);
  • adding to the marinade helps to reveal the taste of the meat product;
  • When heated, the spice does not lose its aroma and taste, so it is well suited for stewed and fried dishes.

In addition to meat, rosemary can be used in combination with cheese and in fresh salads (in small quantities). Rosemary is used in cooking even in desserts to add piquancy and make the taste more varied.

A separate question is where to add dry rosemary. In addition to the already mentioned combination with meat, aromatic oil is often made from dried spices, adding it to olive or even sunflower oil.

This use of rosemary is resorted to by those who love the taste of the spice, but find its aroma too strong. Sometimes dried spice is mixed with regular table salt.

Historically, rosemary seasoning was used in cooking in almost all “guises”. The only exceptions are expensive fish and fancy sauces. For these products, which have a delicate taste, the spice still turns out to be too rich.

But in Greek salad dressing it does its job perfectly! And even baked pumpkin with rosemary will reveal a completely different side to you.

Where to add and what to combine with

Now let’s take a closer look at where to add the rosemary spice. First of all, rosemary in cooking goes well with:

  • meat (pork, poultry – especially as marinade for duck for smoking, rabbit; specifically for which dishes to use rosemary does not matter, it is suitable for any type of meat preparation);
  • “low-grade” fish (the taste of salmon or tuna should not be “killed”, but when baking carp, pike, flounder, 1 fresh sprig will be very good);
  • vegetables (what rosemary goes well with is zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes, and only 5-6 leaves are enough for a dish of 4 servings);
  • unsweetened baked goods (you should add no more than 1 teaspoon of rosemary per 200 g of flour);
  • pizza (which rosemary goes perfectly well with is classic tomato pizza sauce).

Additionally, dried rosemary or even fresh rosemary can simply be sprinkled over the burnt coals before cooking kebabs and steaks. The aroma of the meat will be unsurpassed, but the taste will not change.

And of course, what would a duck be for the New Year’s table without a special marinade with rosemary and garlic. And a special prune sauce that goes perfectly with it.

If you ask what dishes different people add rosemary to, there will be many answers. Some people use rosemary for meat and nothing else, or for example tea with rosemary and lemongrass, a very good refreshing combination of two herbs.

Therefore, if you are not afraid to experiment, add fresh rosemary to your favorite dish. Its flavor is less pronounced than dried rosemary, and fresh rosemary is suitable for a much wider range of dishes.

Where to buy, how to select and store

Fresh sprigs of spice can be found in the vegetable departments of supermarkets and food markets. They also sell rosemary in the pharmacy. Pharmaceutical rosemary is always dried, but it is no different from culinary rosemary in bags.

When choosing, you should pay attention to 3 things:

  • the leaves should have a dark green tint, without yellowness or spots;
  • the leaves should also be elastic to the touch;
  • if you buy dried, it is better to give preference to a well-known brand.

Fresh spices should be stored in vacuum packaging, and be sure to be placed in the refrigerator. And dried – in an airtight container or fabric bag, placing it in a dry and dark place (kitchen cabinet).

It is not advisable to put dry spice in the refrigerator – there it becomes damp and loses its smell.

How to prepare for the winter

To use products with rosemary for food even in winter, it can be prepared for future use without much difficulty. There are 3 main ways:

  1. Drying. The spice can be bought at any store, but it will most likely be crushed. But to get whole dry branches, you need to buy and dry fresh herbs.
  2. Vacuum packaging. Having such a useful device in your home as a vacuum sealer, you can preserve greens for up to 3 months.
  3. Vitamin paste. You can add the spice itself and olive oil to the blender (about 500 ml of oil will be needed for 200 g of greens), as well as other spices at your discretion. Lemon zest, ginger root, garlic, and basil go well. In crushed form, this mixture will be stored all winter, because oil is an excellent preservative.

How to dry

Finding whole sprigs of dried spice can be problematic, so it’s easier to buy fresh ones and dry them yourself. Then you can eat rosemary all year round. There are 2 methods of drying – naturally and in the oven.

Natural drying is more preferable, because it retains more taste and aroma. But the procedure is more difficult to complete:

  1. Rinse the branches under cold running water. Place on a towel to allow excess moisture to drain and dry.
  2. Prepare a wide and flat object. This could be a baking sheet or a sheet of cardboard. It is better to cover the surface with paper (bakery or regular paper, even newspaper).
  3. Transfer the sprigs to the prepared baking sheet. However, they should not touch one another.
  4. Place in a shaded place that is regularly ventilated. In locked rooms, as well as under the sun, rosemary will deteriorate faster than it dries.
  5. Every 2-3 days, turn the branches on their side so that they dry evenly on each side.

This drying takes from 2 to 4 weeks depending on the room temperature. When the color of the spice changes to straw and the leaves begin to fall off, the process is complete.

When there is no time or opportunity to dry naturally, you can use the oven:

  1. Wash and dry fresh branches.
  2. Take a baking tray and cover with baking paper. Place the branches on it so that they do not touch.
  3. Preheat the oven to 40ºC (no more). Place the baking sheet inside and leave the door slightly open.
  4. Without increasing the temperature, keep the spice inside the oven for about 1 hour.
  5. When the branches turn yellow and become brittle, remove the baking sheet. Cool the seasoning and store.

Is it possible to freeze

The spice survives freezing well. There are 3 main ways:

  • in a plastic container;
  • in a sealed bag;
  • in olive oil (you can fill ice trays with oil and add some chopped herbs – you get excellent portion cubes for preparing various dishes).

An important condition is that you need to freeze the spice dry. There is enough moisture inside the plant to keep it fresh. If the spice sprigs are wet from washing, then it will be very difficult to remove them from the ice.

Rosemary oil

Rosemary essential oil is another way to use this amazing plant. Essential rosemary has a strong aroma with woody notes.

It is extracted from leaves, stems and flowers, and all varieties are used, not just medicinal ones. There is no practical difference – the oil always turns out to be the same in properties and aroma.

Benefit

The benefits of adding rosemary in the form of essential oil to cosmetics and medicines are obvious. This oil has a number of pronounced effects:

  • increases blood pressure (useful for hypotension);
  • heals wounds and old scars;
  • strengthens the overall immunity of the body;
  • reduces the symptoms of vegetative-vascular dystonia;
  • improves blood circulation;
  • works to prevent heart and vascular diseases;
  • increases libido;
  • improves tanning quality (if taken orally);
  • promotes a general improvement in psycho-emotional state, causes a feeling of relaxation without loss of concentration;
  • eliminates sleep problems.

Contraindications

Rosemary oil is contraindicated only in 2 cases:

  • during pregnancy;
  • in case of an allergic reaction, high sensitivity to the ingredients of essential oil.

Dosage

When using essential oil in treatment, you need to follow the correct dosage. After all, if you “overdo it” with the product, then the benefit risks turning into harm.

So, the following dosages are recommended:

  1. For rubbing and other methods of pain relief, essential oil is mixed with olive (or other plant) oil in a ratio of 1:10. Apply to the skin in the area that hurts 2 or 3 times a day. Use strictly every other day – 2 days in a row is very undesirable. Use for at least 1 week, but not more than 1 month.
  2. For a bath, add 5 to 10 drops per 100 liters of water. The water should be warm, about 37°C – this is a general requirement for all essential oils. Take a bath for 10 minutes, repeat 3 or 4 times a week.
  3. For inhalation, add from 1 to 15 drops (depending on the design of the inhaler). Do 2 to 4 procedures per day for no more than 10 days.
  4. As a hair mask, the oil is mixed with olive oil in a ratio of 1:40. Rub into the scalp or just into the hair. You can put a bandage on top, but it is not necessary. Repeat 1 or 2 times a day. The entire course can last from 2 weeks to 2 months.

Side effect

Rosemary oil has only one possible side effect – an allergic reaction. Therefore, before use, you should first check whether a person is allergic to the components of the oil:

  1. Add 1 drop of product to 5 ml of olive (or sunflower) oil. Stir.
  2. Drop the mixture onto clean skin (without wounds) 3-4 times in different places.
  3. Wait about 6 hours.

If after 6 hours an allergic reaction does not appear, you can safely use the oil.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding

During pregnancy, the drug is strictly contraindicated. This is its difference from rosemary itself, which can be consumed, albeit carefully. But for breastfeeding, rosemary oil is allowed. The only prohibition is that it cannot be taken orally.

special instructions

Rosemary oil has 3 special conditions of use:

  • in itself it is not a drug, therefore it gives tangible results only as part of complex treatment, in combination with other drugs;
  • you need to protect your eyes from getting oil;
  • In case of complex diseases of the heart and blood vessels, you should avoid baths with this oil.

Using oil in home cosmetology

There are many ways to use rosemary essential oil in household cosmetology. Rosemary helps to care for at home:

  • skin (including problematic skin);
  • nails;
  • scars and scars;
  • hair.

In any situation, it is worth observing the proportions – no more than 5 drops of essential oil per 10 ml of vegetable oil. This amount is safe, and it is not recommended to exceed it.

Face masks

Rosemary oil for facial skin has the following effects:

  • cleanses pores;
  • smoothes wrinkles;
  • reduces fat content.

The mask can be prepared according to any usual recipe by simply adding a little oil to it. The simplest option is tonic (50 ml of boiled water and 5 drops of oil). The product is also used for sculptural massage.

Anti-acne remedy

Rosemary oil effectively treats pimples, acne and other inflammations. It targets the root cause of acne – too much secretion from the sebaceous glands. This oil is a strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent, so masks and wipes made from it are very useful for problem skin.

Benefits for hair

Rosemary essential oil for hair is also a very useful thing. It is used in:

  • masks;
  • aroma combing;
  • combination with shampoos and rinses;
  • homemade scrubs.

Rosemary oil has the following effects on hair:

  • moisturizes and nourishes;
  • gives a healthy shine;
  • makes it easier to comb tangled hair;
  • fights dandruff.

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