ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary projects the energy of a stern, yet compassionate teacher. Although it is an herb of the sun, it is not bright and sunny. Rather, it serves as a constant reminder of our highest consciousness and conscience. Rosemary is an herb of memory and so it has become associated with all the things and people we want to keep near and dear in our hearts. It is an herb of love, though it is anything but erotic or sensuous. Instead, it is a reminder of the bond between two souls, the special spiritual tie that is so easily forgotten amidst the ups and downs of day to day life. It is also a funerary herb, thrown on the grave as a last assurance that the soul of the departed will never be forgotten. More mundanely, Rosemary helps students with their studies, or old people with their fading memories. In medieval times it was one of the most important herbs of the still room and it was extensively used in dozens of cosmetic or remedial preparations. Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that 'likes to be kissed by the Sea' - although it does not have to 'see' the sea, it never grows far from it in the wild. The leathery, scented leaves look more like evergreen needles than leaves. Early in spring the shrubby bushes are covered with dainty little lilac flowers, which are very popular with bees. As a culinary herb it is one of the herbs in the 'herbes de provence' blend. It is particularly well suited for greasy meat dishes such as lamb, as the bitter, astringent flavour helps the body to digest heavy fare. It is also rich in antioxidants, which prevent such fats from turning into the cell damaging free radicals. Rosemary yields an essential oil that is commonly used in cosmetic preparations and aromatherapy. See essential oil of Rosemary.
Rosemary stimulates the circulation, especially to the head. It is a good aid for concentration and counteracts forgetfulness, mental fatigue, headaches and stress related conditions. It may come to the rescue in cases of fainting or general debility, but should be avoided by those who suffer high blood pressure. Rosemary is particularly useful in cases where mental stress impacts the digestive system, as its nervine properties help to relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. It stimulates the appetite and cleanses catarrhal conditions of the stomach. It also stimulates the liver and gallbladder. It is considered an excellent herb to lift the spirit, especially during times of grieving or when one feels trapped in permanent stress situations. It has been used in mild cases of depression and can be useful as an uplifting stimulant during convalescence. Rosemary macerated in wine used to be a favourite remedy of the old herbalists, not only to fortify the spirits, but also as a cleansing diuretic that could help to reduce oedema. Externally, Rosemary has long been used as a hair rinse which is said to stimulate hair growth. Do not use during pregnancy.
Rosemary has a long and intricate history as a magical herb. It is strongly protective and purifying, helping to ward off evil influences and witches and cleansing the atmosphere of bad energies. It has been used as incense to cleanse the atmosphere in sick-rooms too and can be used in healing rituals to help dispel the demons of disease. It can protect against bad dreams and all manner of evil influences. Rosemary aids the student to memorise the teachings and to concentrate on the work. It is used at funerals to keep the memory of the departed. At weddings it serves as a reminder of the timeless bond between the souls and the love that has brought the couple together. Rosemary gives vigour, strength, courage and mental clarity.