What do you know about rosemary…the herb? Lemme share what I know.
For starters, you might want to know that this ancient herb has officially joined the 21st Century. It’s one of the Hot Hundred Herbs. Snazzy, huh?
No one asked me, of course, but on my own list of best herbs, I’d give rosemary a top spot mainly because I love multi-taskers of all kinds and rosemary answers the call: It’s a medicinal and culinary herb; good in the kitchen, good for the body.
First, in the kitchen (because who doesn’t love to eat good, tasty food?): A little secret daughter Heather and I learned was to slash salt use, flavoring our foods instead with spices and herbs. Heather’s our household’s designated cook and baker. She continuarlly wows me with creative twists on favorite, familiar dishes. Take last night’s repast. She baked a plump chicken we’d bought from a local farmer, stuffed its cavity with fresh rosemary springs, rubbed the carcass’s skin with organic olive oil, then seasoned it with a little sea salt and garlic salt, dried thyme, lemon pepper, and lemon juice. Awesome flavors! (We both had seconds.) She also adds fresh rosemary to soups, stews, beef dishes, and would you believe she uses this herb in cookie recipes? You read right—cookies. What a unique flavor! Tastebuds get an unexpected boost, distinctive, not overpowering. Others who sampled the goodies agreed. Try it sometime. Let me know what you think.
So rosemary makes regular appearances in our kitchen.
Second, for the body (because who doesn’t love enjoying good health?). In its long, proud history as a medicinal herb, ancients used rosemary to improve memory. Says the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine about rosemary’s use as a circulatory stimulant: “…It stimulates circulation of blood to the head, improving memory and concentration. It also eases headaches and migraine and encourages hair growth.” Tall order for one high-ranking herb, but those in the know say…
Then there’s Earl Mindell (“The New Herb Bible” author) who notes that the old is new again, as one of the elite Hot Hundred. Dr. Mindell also mentions that rosemary contains important antioxidant properties, and protects against free radicals that wreak havoc and cause disease (think breast cancer, for one). You can’t see or taste those hidden properties, of course, but what they’re doing for you…
What are some of the ways you can enjoy rosemary?
- Tincture of rosemary
- Essential oil — apply the diluted oil (usually in a carrier oil like olive oil) to achy muscles
- Infusion—drink the tea to help ease migraine pain; or rub onto the scalp to aid hair growth (herbalists say). Before you drink any herbal tea, though, check with an herbalist. Infusions have medicinal actions and taken in the wrong dosage, you may experience unintended effects.
Do you store your clothes in off-season? Add fresh rosemary sprigs in storage bags. Discourages moths.
We planted organic rosemary bedding plants in pots this year, and brought them inside, hoping they’ll winter over now that we’ve found some sunny spots for them in the living room. I love the fact that they’re so handy—and easy to take care of!
Outdoors, in-ground rosemary plants may winter over pretty well if they’re covered with burlap.
Now that you know more about this “hot” herb, are you convinced that you need a little rosemary in your life?