Easily one of the most popular essential oils out there today, rosemary essential oils have been used for literally thousands of years thanks to its culinary, herbal, and medicinal properties.
With a distinct scent that is strong, fresh, and immediately recognizable, this essential oil can be used to help improve and restore your health, to prevent illness and disease, and to refresh and rejuvenate your body a number of different ways (many of which we’ll get into in just a moment).
So much more than a critical ingredient in the kitchen, rosemary can help to promote healthy hair (and even fight back against baldness in men and women), can prove to be quite calming and relaxing even in the face of immense stress and pressure, and can improve your digestion. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
To learn a little bit more about everything that this essential oil brings to the table, we’ve put together this in-depth guide!
Let’s jump right in.
History of Rosemary
An herb that looks a lot like lavender in the wild it is actually related to mint plants, rosemary has a leafy body that looks like the needles of evergreens but with a touch of silver throughout.
Earning its name after a story in the Bible that tells of the Virgin Mary spread her blue cloak over a rosemary bush as she rested only to find that the white flowers had turned blue afterward, this plant was called the Rose of Mary in ancient times until the name was shortened in our more modern history.1
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and the Jewish people believed rosemary to be a sacred plant and held it in high esteem. It wasn’t simply something to be thrown into dishes but it said something that brought them closer to their gods and helps them better connect with their spirituality.
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In medieval times, rosemary was used to help push back against evil spirits. Some in medieval Europe even believed that rosemary essential oils could be used to protect against the plague.2
A Swiss-German physician and botanist named Paracelsus made the study of Rosemary his major focus in the 16th century, and it was he who really started to extol the virtues that rosemary essential oils brought to the table as far as using rosemary as a healing agent was concerned.
He believed that rosemary had properties capable of improving the whole health structure of a human being, with specific properties that help to improve critical organs like the heart, the brain, the respiratory system, as well as the liver and pancreas.3
It turns out that this 16th-century physician and botanist was on to something!
The Chemistry Behind These Essential Oil Benefits
There are a number of different terpene constituents in rosemary that is responsible for triggering the biochemical reactions that make the health benefits this essential oil brings to the table possible.
For starters, 1.8 Cineole and Alpha Pinene are major terpene components in the essential oil rosemary makes possible, and both of them have long been prized for the healing and restorative properties that they provide the human body. Camphor and Pinene are both monoterpenes, which gives them the ability to naturally help repel insects – including mosquitoes.
These monoterpenes also produce a stimulating impact on the brain, helping rosemary essential oils to have beneficial mood-enhancing properties. These are the kinds of benefits that help cut through stress and create a sense of peace and calm that might not have otherwise existed. It may be for this reason that our essential oil diffusers provide such relaxation.
Other terpenes in this essential oil include, but aren’t limited to:
The chemistry “under the hood” of Rosemary essential oils is incredibly diverse, and it’s the diversity of this substance that makes it so effective at treating a wide variety of conditions, illnesses, and maladies.
Common Uses of Rosemary Essential Oil
The herb rosemary has about a million and one different uses in the culinary world along, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone rosemary essential oils are just as flexible, just as versatile, and just as varied in the benefits that they make possible.
There are a whole host of benefits that can be enjoyed while utilizing this essential oil, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Improved mental clarity and memory benefits
- Cough suppressant properties
- Headache and migraine elimination
- Fighting back against bacterial infections
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
The biggest benefits of this essential oil, however, are highlighted below. It’s not at all unreasonable for you to be able to enjoy ALL of these benefits and then some when you make rosemary a big part of your natural healing process.
Rosemary’s Indigestion Benefits
Rosemary oils can be used topically on the stomach area to almost immediately calm down stomach cramps, constipation, and even stop flatulence dead in its tracks.
Some have used rosemary oils to eliminate bloating problems as well, and others still have taken advantage of this all-natural approach to stimulating the appetite and helping folks who felt ill fuel their bodies to fight back against whatever it was that was ailing them.4
Recent clinical research suggests that rosemary essential oils can also help to detoxify the liver and pancreas. This could help to better regulate the creation of and release of the digestive liquid by all of our stomachs and digestive systems, helping us to better break down our food, to take advantage of the bioavailable terpenes in our food, and clear up any digestive issues along the way.5
Rosemary and Stress Relief
Rosemary can be used in an aromatherapeutic delivery system or applied topically to provide almost immediate stress relief.
One of the simplest and most straightforward ways to enjoy instant stress relief with this essential oil is to simply drop a dab or two into the palms of your hand, cup your hands over your face, and inhale for a count of five before holding for a count of five and the next ceiling. The stress-reducing results will be immediately apparent.
In a clinical study published in 2007, researchers discovered that inhaling a combination of rosemary and lavender essential oils for just five minutes a day significantly reduced the amount of cortisol in the human body – dropping stress levels instantly but also helping to better prevent stress and anxiety from manifesting in the first place.6
Pain Relieving Properties of Rosemary
As we highlighted above, our ancient ancestors all over the world most commonly utilized rosemary essential oils for the pain-relieving properties that they made possible.
The monoterpenes contained within this essential oil work to combat pain at a molecular level in our bodies, which is why this oil is so commonly used to combat headaches, to wash away muscle pain, and even to effectively fight back against arthritis without having to take potentially dangerous modern medications for the same results.
These kinds of benefits are best uncovered through a topical application of this essential oil (diluted with the carrier oil as we touched on just a bit above in this quick guide). You’ll want to massage this oil into the impacted area for at least five minutes or so, giving you plenty of time to be absorbed into the body and that another five minutes or so to see the pain-relieving efforts at work.7
Immune System Boosting Benefits
The same 2007 clinical study we mentioned just a moment ago also found that after massaging rosemary essential oils into the body and inhaling these essential oils at the same time also resulted in the body having an easier time combating free radicals.
Antioxidant levels increased throughout the body, working to fight back against bacterial infections, disease, and free radicals that may be linked to the creation and proliferation of cancerous cells throughout the human body.8
The study suggests that regular topical application and inhalation of essential oils like rosemary can improve your immune system across the board, allowing you to more effortlessly fight back against illness and disease at every stage of life.9
Breathing and Respiratory Improvements
All it takes to prove that the breathing and respiratory improvement benefits of rosemary essential oils are very real is to simply breathe in a bit of this essential oil yourself.
You may notice a dramatic improvement in your breathing abilities, the air will feel cleaner and healthier, and you’ll also be able to eliminate any coughing, hiccups, or sore throat conditions that you might have been contending with almost right out of the gate. Studies have shown a stimulation to respiratory rates after breathing rosemary.10
The antiseptic properties of the terpene composition of this essential oil also make this a game changer in the world of respiratory infections and illnesses. It’s commonly used in the medical world as a solution for bronchial asthma.11
Safety and Precautions
As far as edible plants are concerned, rosemary is obviously safe for human consumption.
It is, after all, a big piece of the puzzle in a number of dishes from cuisines all over the world and is probably one of the three most frequently called for spices and herbs and many of the dishes you likely make on a regular basis.
The odds are pretty good that you have a jar or package of rosemary in your cupboard or spice rack right now!
That does not, however, mean that rosemary essential oils can be used willy-nilly or without any real thought or concern. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rosemary oils can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals, so you’ll want to be sure that you aren’t allergic before you begin utilizing this herbal solution. Rosemary essential oils are also quite volatile and may cause vomiting or spasms.
It’s recommended that you DO NOT ingest rosemary essential oils the way that you would ingest rosemary herbs or spices!
Before you use rosemary essential oils as a topical solution, you’ll want to dilute it in a “carrier oil” – a neutral oil – that will limit the possibility of contact sensitivity.
Some have responded negatively to having raw essential oils applied directly to their skin, and it’s always a good idea to try and make sure that you apply just a drop or two of diluted rosemary essential oil to a patch of skin on your body before you apply it all over.
Both pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid using rosemary essential oils during these phases of life. There’s potential for the powerful terpenes and biological agents in this essential oil to leach into the breast milk or end up being passed into the fetus. There’s no reason to risk any potential negative side effects that could hurt your baby’s health in the short or long-term with that kind of “contamination.”
It’s also a good idea to speak with your primary care physician before you administer this herbal remedy to children for any of the conditions or illnesses they may be contending with. You’ll also want to make sure that you speak with your doctor before you use rosemary essential oils as a self-medication solution for chronic diseases – including conditions like depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and more – especially if you intend to utilize this essential oil in conjunction with traditional medications or medical solutions.
Obviously, if you begin to experience any negative side effects whatsoever after you begin utilizing the rosemary essential oil, you’ll want to reach out to trusted medical professionals ASAP while discontinuing use immediately.
You want to find out exactly what’s going on at a biochemical level before you even consider moving forward with this essential oil again, particularly if your skin irritations last longer than 24 hours or you find yourself vomiting or spasming after application of these oils.12
At the end of the day, the healing and restorative properties of rosemary essential oils simply cannot – and should not – be overlooked.
Capable of providing a holistic boost to your health that we were only able to barely scratch the surface of about, rosemary really is one of the most important of the essential oils and a foundation of a natural healing approach.
Flexible, versatile, and adaptable, rosemary oils can be used in a variety of different ways. Burners and diffusers are effective delivery systems, just as oils, creams, and lotions are. Even just a few drops of the raw oil, or oil diluted in a carrier oil, can provide the kind of health benefits that you just won’t find anywhere else.
Safe (when used as instructed above) and without any serious side effects that would cause you any long-term negative health impacts, it’s easy to see why the essential oils pulled from the rosemary plan have been used for thousands of years as an approach to all-natural medicine and why they will likely continue to be used for thousands more.
Because of all of the wonderful benefits of Rosemary essential oil, we have incorporated it into four of our personal essential oil diffusers: Active, Vibrant, Zen and Forest. Once you’ve tried them, comment your favorite below!