Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves and a woody aroma.
Though best known as food seasoning, it is one of the most popular aromatic and medicinal plants worldwide.
Rosemary’s essential oil — which holds the plant’s core components, or essence — is extracted and sold in small bottles. Despite its name, it is not a true oil, as it doesn’t contain fat.
Due to rosemary oil’s use in folk medicine, many scientists are now testing its potential health benefits.
What are the benefits of Rosemary essential oil?
Rosemary oil has traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, including:
May Improve Brain Function
Stimulates Hair Growth
May Help Relieve Pain
Repels Certain Bugs
May Increase Circulation
May Reduce Joint Inflammation
Like many essential oils, researchers have been working to evaluate the potential health benefits of Rosemary oil and its components.
How to use Rosemary essential oil?
Rosemary oil can be inhaled or applied topically. It’s very concentrated, so you should only use a few drops at a time. The small bottles in which it’s sold contain plastic droppers that make it easier to dispense single droplets.
The simplest way to inhale rosemary oil is to open the bottle and breathe in. Alternately, you can place a few drops on a cloth or tissue and hold it near your face.
Many people use aromatherapy diffusers, which distribute the essential oil into the surrounding air.
In general, avoid placing a diffuser close to babies or young children, as it’s hard to know the amount they’re inhaling.
Rosemary and other essential oils are readily absorbed into your bloodstream when you apply them to your skin.
It’s generally advised to dilute essential oils with a neutral carrier oil, such as jojoba oil. This helps prevent potential irritation of your skin and premature evaporation of the oil.
Here are some general guidelines for diluting oils for topical use:
Babies - 0.3% Dilution - Use 1 drop essential oil per 1 tablespoon carrier oil
Children - 1.0% Dilution - Use 1 drop essential oil per 1 teaspoon carrier oil
Adults - 2.0–4.0% Dilution - Use 3–6 drops essential oil per 1 teaspoon carrier oil
Once diluted, apply the oil to the bottom of your feet or the body part you’re targeting, such as a sore muscle. Next, rub the oil into your skin. This improves blood flood and absorption of the oil.
Avoid applying rosemary and other essential oils to damaged skin or near sensitive areas, such as your eyes.
Are there any side effects?
Medicinal use of rosemary is gaining more traction worldwide. Germany’s version of the FDA, the German Commission E, approves the use of rosemary oil to treat joint pain and circulation problems. They also approve the use of rosemary leaves to help treat various digestive issues.
While rosemary can be beneficial to your health, it’s not for everyone to use. The herb should only be taken in small doses. Avoid rosemary if you’re pregnant or nursing, as it can be an abortifacient, a product that could stimulate an abortion. Patients with high blood pressure should also avoid taking rosemary as a supplement.
Though culinary use of rosemary is safe, you should always consult with your doctor before trying any new supplements or treatments. Check to see if rosemary oils will interfere with your diabetes or blood thinner medication. If your doctor gives you the all-clear to use rosemary, you know it can certainly contribute to your health.
The bottom line!
Rosemary essential oil, derived from the common cooking herb, has long been popular in folk medicine and is now proving beneficial in scientific studies. Though most of this research is preliminary, studies note that this essential oil may boost your health by improving mental focus and memory, fighting hair loss, relieving pain and inflammation, repelling certain insects, and easing stress. If you want to try rosemary oil, simply inhale it or apply a diluted version topically. Remember that the oil is very concentrated, so you only need a few drops at a time.
Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns before using Rosemary oil.