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Rosemary Essential Oil Uses, Benefits and Warnings

Rosemary Essential Oil Uses and Benefits

What is Rosemary Essential Oil?

Rosemary essential oil, is that extracted by steam distillation of fresh flowering branches of the shrub Rosmarinus officinalis L. This is a medicinal plant with many uses and amazing properties, both culinary and medicinal.

The rosemary plant is found mainly in the Mediterranean region, southern Europe and northern Africa. However, it is said that the best one is cultivated in Spain, followed by the one that grows in North Africa.

It is one of the most popular essential oils that exists, because of its extensive herbal and culinary uses.  Also, rosemary has been known throughout history, as a great aid for countless cases related to health and well-being.

Thanks to its exquisite and particular aroma, rosemary has become the main ally of many cuisines, gardens and apothecaries worldwide.

The rosemary is a bush with an average height of one meter, very branched and evergreen. It has woody stems and small, thin lanceolate leaves that are opposite each other. The lower leaves are grayish green, while the upper part is almost silvery. Its flowers meet in spikes and are blue or whitish.

Rosemary is the favorite plant of bees. This blooms practically during the whole year, generally on rocky slopes and sandy or dry and sunny grounds.

It does not require any special care in the gardens, except to avoid excess humidity.

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Rosemary essential oil has an intense and refreshing herbal camphorated aroma with slight tones of eucalyptus; its color is light yellow, almost colorless, and watery in viscosity.

Generally, rosemary oil combines well with essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, cedarwood, sage, basil, bergamot, thyme, citronella, lemongrass, chamomile, peppermint, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, hyssop, juniper, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrrh, neroli, nutmeg, oregano, palmarosa, pennyroyal, pine, rosewood and tea tree essential oil.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Historical Facts of Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary comes from the Latin word Rosmarinus which means “dew that comes from the sea”, and refers to the blue flowers that cover the beaches of the Mediterranean.

The rosemary is a plant surrounded by mysticism. Greeks and Romans knew it as a sacred herb.  Also the Egyptians used rosemary in their rites, since the tombs have traces of the plant that go back thousands of years ago.

Whether as incense or amulet, rosemary was used mainly in weddings as a symbol of fidelity between the couple and to ward off evil eye and envy.

In the middle ages, it was used as incense to purify the bedrooms of sick people.

Due to its reputation for stimulating memory, Greek students used to put rosemary branches in their hair.

Some writings that date from the first millennium BC, narrate about the multiple uses and applications that the Egyptians gave to rosemary, both in aesthetics and ancient medicine. Later, Roman and Greek empires incorporated it into their culinary recipes, and also into their list of curative medicinal plants.

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It is said that the Virgin Mary spread her blue mantle over a rosemary bush while she was resting, and since then, the white flowers have turned blue. Due to this legend, the bush came to be known as the “Rose of Mary”.

Its multiple health benefits made it the favorite of Paracelsus, a German-Swiss physician and botanist who contributed greatly to the understanding of herbal medicine in the 16th century. He valued rosemary oil for its ability to strengthen the body in its entirety, which included the healing of sensitive organs such as liver, heart and brain.

Today, the Iberian Peninsula is one of the best producers of rosemary, in fact it is very popular in some recipes like the Valencian paella.

Other countries that produce the essential oil of rosemary are Morocco and France, while Italy is responsible for importing it to add its denomination of origin.

Composition of Rosemary Essential Oil

The main chemical components of rosemary oil include: 1,8 cineol, camphor, alpha pinene, camfen, myrcene, limonene, borneol and caryophyllene.

Therapeutic Properties of Rosemary Essential Oil

Thanks to its multiple properties, this oil can be a great help for several health conditions. Its healing properties include its action as:

  • Antispasmodic
  • Stimulant
  • Anticancer
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Healing
  • Expectorant
  • Diuretic
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Tonic
  • Analgesic
  • Carminative
  • Antiseptic

Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil

Oral health

Rosemary essential oil combats halitosis. With its aroma and its bactericidal effect it eliminates unwanted microorganisms from the mouth, helping to recover the natural freshness of the breath.

In addition, due to its disinfectant action, we can use it as a mouthwash, adding 1 drop to a glass of water. Rosemary oil also prevents cavities, tartar buildup and other dental problems.

Stimulates the mind and mood

The fascinating and fresh aroma of rosemary is something that is also worth enjoying. Whether in candles, perfumes, bath oils, environmental diffusers, etc. rosemary essential oil, will help us to increase mental energy, achieve a positive mood, eliminate fatigue, raise enthusiasm and achieve self-confidence, among others.

Enhances learning and memory

Rosemary is known from ancient Rome to stimulate the mind and the memory. Scientific studies conducted at Northumbria University in the UK, have shown that inhaling rosemary essential oil helps improve both, speed and accuracy on demanding mental tasks, and raised memory test scores by more than ten percent.

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Take advantage of this benefit by using a diffuser expanding the aroma throughout the room, inhale directly from the bottle, rub it on your temples or apply it regularly to the toes.

Provides multiple benefits to the skin

Rosemary oil is widely used on the skin. It is highly rich in vitamins with antioxidant properties, thus preventing premature aging of the skin.

Your skin will appreciate the cosmetic use of this extract, especially in those that are dry and damaged. In the long term you will be able to show a rejuvenated and smooth skin.

In addition, it is an effective moisturizer that contains optimal concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids. Essential fats have many functions, one of which is that they are part of cell membranes (lipid bilayers). When the membranes are in perfect conditions, these can retain water in a better way and consequently,  improve dermis hydration.

Thanks to its soothing effect, many athletes use rosemary oil as an anti-inflammatory agent. When the musculature is subjected to prolonged exercise, it tends to overload, inflame and consequently, cause ailments. Therefore, looking for physiotherapy treatments with this type of relaxing natural products is an excellent alternative.

Some specialists claim that rosemary essential oil promotes blood circulation and prevents cramps.

Due to the above, this could be the ideal complement of Harpagophytum procumbens (devil’s claw), since it is appropriate for arthritis patients.

Rosemary oil also has anti-microbial and anti-fungicidal properties to prevent skin infections and treat fungal conditions. The oil (blended with a carrier oil) can be applied on closed wounds, favoring the reduction of scars, thus dermis can regenerate without leaving a trace of it.

You can also apply a couple of drops in a foot bath to treat and eliminate fungal problems.

Fight stress and anxiety

In addition to its aromatherapeutic benefits, rosemary oil reduces the level of cortisol, one of the hormones released during the fight-flight response of the body to stress, in saliva.

According to a 2007 study, inhaling rosemary and lavender oil for five minutes, significantly reduced cortisol levels in the saliva of the subjects.  Besides, potentially reducing the dangers of chronic stress.

Rosemary oil is also a great help in cases of anxiety. A study published in Holistic Nursing Practice in 2009, found that the use of envelopes containing lavender and rosemary essential oil, helped reduce anxiety related to having an exam.

Strengthens the immune system

The same study conducted in 2007, that found reducing cortisol levels after simultaneously massaging and inhaling rosemary essential oil, found that this also significantly increased the activity of free radical uptake.

Antioxidants are a valuable weapon to fight infections and diseases, so this benefit contained in rosemary oil is excellent news.

In summary, its regular use or inhalation can strengthen immunity and help us fight diseases related to free radicals.

For strong and healthy hair

Rosemary oil is used to stimulate hair growth and stop falling problems. It is also used to strengthen hair fibers and nourish hair follicles.  Additionally, it fights gray hair and hydrates the beard and mustache, since it is normally applied to restore dry and damaged hair.

In any case, its use in overly oily hair is not recommended.

You can add a few drops of the oil to your usual shampoo, as it provides nutrients to the scalp, hair follicles and split ends.

Rosemary Essential Oil Uses

Relieves different types of pain 

Rosemary essential oil is well-known for its ability to relieve pain, which is why it is widely used to treat headaches, muscle aches and even arthritis.

Massage the affected area with the essential oil previously diluted in a carrier oil. You can also add it to a steam bath or a regular warm bath for the treatment of rheumatism. In addition, its anti-inflammatory qualities make it a good alternative to treat pain caused by sprains and joint pains.

Improves Indigestion

Rosemary oil is often used to relieve flatulence, stomach pain, constipation and bloating. Likewise, it is also considered useful in the stimulation of appetite.

Research shows that rosemary essential oil can help detoxify the liver and help regulate the production and release of bile, a key part of the digestive process.

Promotes and improves neurological functioning

Using rosemary oil also seems to benefit brain health. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, which involved 144 volunteers, found that rosemary oil helped improve mood in healthy adults. It also has a positive effect in patients with Alzheimer’s.

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A small study conducted in 2009, showed that during a month of aromatherapy with essential oils of rosemary, lemon, lavender and orange, improved cognitive function, especially in Alzheimer’s patients.

Helps to treat respiratory problems

The aroma of rosemary oil has been shown to offer relief for throat congestion and in the treatment of respiratory allergies, colds, sore throats and flu.

Its antiseptic action also makes rosemary oil useful for the treatment of respiratory infections. Besides, due to its antispasmodic effect, it is also used in certain treatment programs for bronchial asthma.

Natural Acaricide

Both, 1.8 cineol and camphor are registered for their acaricidal activity. These chemicals are part of the composition of commercial formulations for the control of the mite Varroa jacobsoni Oud.  A pest that affects the apiaries and that constitutes a factor of diminution of honey bee productions.

The analysis of accumulated mortality at 24, 48 and 72 hours after the treatments showed that rosemary oil exerts an effective control of T. Tumidus mite, under in vitro conditions.

Uses of Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary oil has been widely used and studied since ancient times due to the variety of benefits it has for health. Currently, it is included in numerous medicinal preparations, with many potential benefits. Below, some of its most common uses:

  • It is useful to relieve muscle pain, back pain, neck stiffness and joint pains.
  • Relieves headache and migraines.
  • Delays the aging of the skin.
  • Promotes memory and concentration.
  • Stimulates the functioning of the gallbladder.
  • Great to combat fluid retention.
  • Helps in the treatment of asthma and sinusitis.
  • Rosemary essential oil stimulates blood circulation.
  • Regulates menstruation and relieves discomfort of premenstrual syndrome.
  • Favors and improves functioning of the digestive system and problems of constipation.
  • Combats drowsiness, fatigue and nervous exhaustion due to its stimulating effect.
  • Helps to mitigate acne and to regulate fat levels in the face.
  • Rosemary essential oil improves the symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis and gout.
  • Accelerates the healing of wounds.
  • Helps to expel accumulated mucus in the respiratory tract. Relieving cough, colds and flu.
  • Improves irritated and sensitive skin, with eczema or dermatitis.
  • Fortifies the scalp, stimulates hair growth and eliminates dandruff.
  • Fights simple vaginal infections by applying a couple of drops in a hip bath.

How to Apply Rosemary Essential Oil?

  • Acne and oily skin, use 2-3 drops on a wet cotton ball and rub the affected area.
  • Asthma and respiratory infections, use 2-3 drops in a vapor inhalation. You can also use 2-3 drops in a diffuser, or 8-10 drops in the bath water.
  • Arthritis, back pain, muscle pain, etc., use 2-3 drops in 1 ounce of carrier oil and massage in the area.
  • For cellulite, use 2-3 drops in a carrier oil and massage on the affected area regularly. You can also use 8-10 drops in the bath water.
  • To help the body fight colds and flu, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser. You can also add 8-10 drops in the bath water.
  • Constipation or diarrhea, use 8-10 drops in the bath water. You can also mix 2-3 drops with 1 ounce of carrier oil and massage the lower back and abdomen area.
  • For dandruff and oily hair, add 2-3 drops of oil in the conditioner. Leave on for 3-5 minutes, then rinse.
  • To relieve depression, fatigue and nervous exhaustion, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser.
  • Restore self-confidence and improve memory, use 2-3 drops in a diffuser.
  • For headaches and migraines, especially those related to gastric discomfort, use 2-3 drops in a hot or cold compress. You can also use 2-3 drops in a diffuser, or 8-10 drops in the bath water.
  • To relieve menstrual pain, use 8-10 drops in the bath water. You can also mix 2-3 drops in a carrier oil and massage the back and lower abdomen.
  • For sinus problems, use 2-3 drops in a vapor inhalation.

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Warnings when using Rosemary Essential Oil

  • It is not recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women use rosemary essential oil, as it can affect the fetus or cause a miscarriage.
  • Its use is prohibited for people diagnosed with epilepsy, neurological diseases, hypertension or heart disease.
  • It should never be ingested. Rosemary oil can have serious consequences without a professional advice.
  • Its use should not be for extended periods of time. The recommended is 3 to 4 weeks at most.
  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Rosemary oil should be diluted in a carrier oil before its topical application. Likewise, skin reaction and possible allergies after application, should be checked with a previous patch test.

Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits

Where to buy Rosemary Essential Oil?

Generally, good quality oils, that is, 100% pure and not mixed with other substances, can be found in specialized natural herb stores.

If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:

Rosemary SWBRosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil is ideal for blending. Uses include massage, bath, lotion, shampoo, in a diffuser, and flavoring.
Scent Characteristics: Strong, fresh, herbaceous, woody, slightly balsamic scent.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence.  Shop Here.

The following are also good quality essential oils that you can find on Amazon:

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Tips for a better performance and duration of the product:

  • Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
  • Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
  • Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.


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