We in India use a lot of herbs and spices and no meal of ours is complete without pinch of these. May be routine use of these is linked to the knowledge that these contain a lot of antioxidants and the quantity is significantly more than that in fruits or vegetables.
Rosemary is one such herb and you are sure to be interested in this herb if I tell you that it has the potential of not only arresting but also reversing the ageing process.
Rosemary belongs to the same family as mint, oregano, thyme, basil and lavender and has been used for ages as a medicinal solution to many health issues—especially those related to aging – as it is a great source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6 as also some potent anti-ageing phytochemicals.
Rosemary contains compounds that stimulate brain function, improve mood and memory, increase blood flow, charge up the immune system, and help digestion.
Powerful anti-inflammatory compounds present in rosemary relieve pain, detox the body, and make your skin look younger.
Rosemary’s delightful, soothing aroma has also been proven beneficial for stress and anxiety relief.
Rosemary really contains a wealth of anti-ageing properties — most notable being its ability to improve memory and focus — especially in the elderly.
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are considered the secret of its anti-ageing ability and these include rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, betulic acid and carnosol.
A research group from Hirosaki University School of Medicine, Burnham Institute for Medical Research and others has reported an ingredient in rosemary that specifically targets free radical damage in the brain. This substance known as carnosic acid or CA has the potential of protecting the brain from strokes and other neuro-degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and normal brain ageing, and according to a study published in Cell Journal, carnosic acid is especially useful in protecting against beta amyloid-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus, one of the key factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have identified CA as a substance that is only activated when necessary; in this case, it activates only when there is free radical damage. So it is specific to repairing only what is damaged in the body. This type of action is called pathological-activated therapeutic or PAT. PAT’s are far more beneficial than many pharmaceutical drugs that create widespread side effects all over the body, and carnosic acid is being investigated as medical treatment for brain disorders that result from aging.
According to a research work of Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre published in Psychopharmacology rosemary exerts other beneficial effects on brain power by enhancing levels of concentration and memory. The research work has revealed rosemary to contain another powerful chemical component, 1,8-cineole that when scientifically tested on 20 humans – concentration of this substance had a direct relationship with the subject’s cognitive performance.
Rosemary is also highly effective against cancer. Research work of the University of British Columbia published in Oncology Reports suggests that crude ethanolic rosemary extract inhibits cell growth in leukemia and breast carcinoma cells, along with its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Another study of Kansas State University published in the Journal of Food Science brings forth another reason for you to enjoy the taste of rosemary on your grilled meats. This study reveals that rosemary inhibits formation of the Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) – the cancer-causing compounds that are created when meat is grilled, pan-fried or broiled.
One of rosemary’s most important functions is as an anti-inflammatory agent. Carnosol and carnosic are two powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce inflammation, helping everything from gout, arthritis, and sore muscles to sports injuries.
The anti-inflammatory compounds also help to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, helping to prevent heart disease and strokes.
A study of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science shows that that carnosic acid promotes eye health, especially age-related eye disorders.
Rosemary is also an antibacterial, specifically against stomach infections including Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes ulcers, and staph infections. May be people discovered this quite early and that is the reason why rosemary is used by many cultures as a natural remedy for upset stomach, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion.
By now you must be convinced that rosemary has solution of many of your ailments.
So, there is no harm in giving it a try. But then it has to be used with caution.
Precautions while using
Rosemary is safe in smaller doses but then excess of anything is harmful.
Be aware that large doses of rosemary could trigger vomiting, spasms, and miscarriage. Therefore, if you are pregnant, avoid large doses of rosemary, unless you are just using it as an herb to season your food.
Rosemary is powerful enough to actually interfere with certain medications, so check with your doctor if you are taking any anticoagulant drugs, ACE inhibitors (blood pressure), diuretics, or lithium.
Adding rosemary to your diet
Fresh or dried rosemary is great in marinades, rubs, dressings and sauces. So use it as an ingredient in your meals, as often as possible.
It is great on everything from fish and chicken to meat, sauces, dressings, vegetables, or salads.
You can also try rosemary tea – add a teaspoon or so to boiling water, steep for 15 minutes, and add a squeeze of lemon, and a touch of honey. Strain off the pieces of rosemary and enjoy your tea.
It’s better if you grow rosemary and use it fresh. If not rosemary is available commercially in the form of powder and some companies also sell capsules that can be taken twice or thrice daily to keep you fit and glowing.