Rosemary: The VIP

Don't go by the looks of this petite-looking herb; it's a VIP [very important plant] in many cuisines, medicines and even cosmetics

rosemaryRosemary is an herb that packs a powerful antioxidant punch, which fights free radicals and diseases. It is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Rosemary oil is rich in phytonutrients and biologically active compounds.

The fragrant aroma and pungent taste of rosemary makes it an indispensable item in the kitchen. It can be used fresh or dried, but nothing beats the use of fresh leaves.

For your health

Rosemary has been touted as an herbal remedy for many ailments because of its multiple benefits.

Brain health: Researchers have unveiled the hidden potential of rosemary as a powerful tool for brain health, enhancing mental functions and boosting memory. It is a potent brain protector and keeps the brain youthful, alert and sharp. Rosemary contains more than a dozen antioxidants and other compounds that improve depression and delay the onset of neuro-degenerative disease Alzheimer's. Carnosic acid in rosemary fights off free radical damage in the brain and protects the brain from stroke and Alzheimer's. Known as an herb of remembrance, the Greeks used it for boosting memory, concentration and for improving depression.

Cancer prevention: Recent research studies are pointing towards rosemary as an herb for cancer prevention. Carnosol, caffeic acid, rosemarinic acid and antioxidants are the ingredients that make rosemary a cancer fighter. Rosemary also helps normalise oestrogen levels, thereby reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Cure for respiratory problems: The rosemary essential oil is a great remedy for treating respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, sore throat and congestion. The oil works well for combating upper respiratory ailments, clearing and phlegm. Put a few drops of the oil in a vaporiser and breathe in the scented steam for instant relief.

Hair care: Give your hair a natural boost with rosemary. Rosemary helps stimulate hair follicles, promotes growth, retards hair loss and premature greying of hair. Rosemary oil nourishes the scalp and keeps hair healthy. Tackle scalp problems like dandruff by mixing one part of rosemary oil to nine parts of olive oil and massage the scalp for dandruff-free shiny healthy hair. Skin care: Rosemary is great for skin. Regular massage with rosemary oil takes care of ageing as well as dry skin, reduces the fine lines and wrinkles and helps in clearing acne and blemishes. The anti-microbial property of the herb has been used for centuries to treat eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and acne.

Oral care: Rosemary essential oil is a disinfectant and is used in mouth washes.

Pain relief: The anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory property of the oil makes it a wonder herb to relieve headaches, migraines, muscular pain, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, and joint pains. Rosemary oil can be applied topically to the affected area. Rosemary tea has been used to treat arthritis since ages.

Aromatherapy: The mesmerising aroma of rosemary oil is an excellent way to combat stress, fatigue and sluggishness as it stimulates the nervous and circulatory system. It relaxes fatigued muscles, increases mental alertness and lifts your mood. Inhale the oil for aromatherapy or put few drops in the bath for best results.

Other uses: Rosemary is used in many cosmetic products like skin toner, creams, hair shampoo and conditioner, perfumes and soaps. Rosemary leaves can be used in potpourri. You can use them amongst your linen for fragrant fresh smell. It has a good aroma and can also be used as a room freshener. Rosemary incense is used for disinfecting and purifying air.

In your diet

Here are some ways to include rosemary in your diet:

  • Rosemary tastes good when used with mutton, pork, shrimps, chicken or fish. Use rosemary leaves fresh or dried along with garlic, lemon juice, pepper and salt in marinades for mutton, chicken, pork or fish for a sumptuous dish. Leaves can be also be used to garnish chicken and mutton dishes.
  • Rosemary leaves can be added to soups, salads, sauces, breads and pastas.
  • The woody stem of rosemary can be used as a skewer for kebabs to give an aromatic flavour to kebabs.
  • Finely chopped leaves can be added to sour cream for excellent dips.
  • It is added to omelettes or dosas to enhance taste.
  • Flowers can be sprinkled over ice-creams, puddings and mousses.
  • A tea prepared by brewing dried rosemary leaves in a cup of hot water is also a good option.
  • Rosemary-roasted potatoes and stir-fried vegetables with fresh rosemary leaves is an easy and a delicious way of including rosemary in the diet.

Tip: Since it has a strong flavour, only a little herb is enough to convert an ordinary dish in to an exotic one. Remove sprigs after seasoning soups and dishes.

 

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Aparna Pradhan
Writing for me is a journey of the soul which never ends. Writing has been a passion for me since my childhood. It is a great outlet for creative expression and gives me enormous pleasure and a sense of satisfaction when I share my passion with others, enriching their lives. I am now pursuing my passion for painting professionally and exhibiting my works in various exhibitions. Some of my works adorn the walls of Raj Bhavan, Goa and private collections. I write on varied subjects – my favourite being health and nutrition

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