In this guide, you will know more about the origins and types of Rosemary, as well as its uses in the kitchen and field of alternative medicine. More importantly, we will provide you with some useful tips on planting this herb, harvesting the leaves, and making sure that it grows.
The History of Rosemary
This evergreen shrub is from the Labiatae, which is the family of mint. The name is from the Latin word Rosmarinus. Ros means dew and marinus mean sea, which is why Rosemary has the nickname dew of the sea. The name is also probably because of the origins of the plant, which is the seaside Mediterranean region. In fact, according to several accounts, this herb grows in a land where one can hear the sea. It is a mystical herb as it is full of legends.
Different civilizations and countries have various beliefs about where Rosemary is from. In various parts of the world, it has several uses. There are many documentary pieces of evidence proving that it has thousands of years of history.
Romans and Greeks are some of the first ones to incorporate the use of Rosemary in their everyday lives. It is a consistent feature in many Roman gardens. During those times, having Rosemary in the garden is one way to ward off evil spirits from one’s home. Galen and Pliny the Elder are two traditional Romans who wrote about the benefits of Rosemary for the health, specifically for the memory. The work of Shakespeare supports this assertion. In Ophelia, he wrote – “there’s Rosemary that’s for remembrance.” In Herball, a work of Bancke, the author recognizes the usefulness of rosemary in the treatment of gout. Meanwhile, in Historie of the Plant, John Gerard notes the importance of Rosemary in removing stuffing in the head and in relieving the brain from coldness.
Historical uses of Rosemary include weddings, not for cooking, but for decorative purposes. During wedding ceremonies, brides wear a wreath made from Rosemary with scented water. It is a symbol of love and remembrance of the life of the bride before the wedding. Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, was amongst the first ones to wear a Rosemary wreath in her wedding.
Rosemary also has several appearances in folklores, adding up to its mystery. From its uses amongst fairies to helping young girls determine their future husbands, there are many interesting uses of Rosemary beyond the field of traditional medicine.
Different Types of Rosemary
You have to know that Rosemary does not exist in a single form. Various types are available, including the following:
For several centuries, rosemary enjoys the reputation as a wonderful herb because of its many health benefits, including the following:
- Cancer Prevention: Rosemary contains carnosol, an effective anticancer compound. Several studies suggest that it deters the replication of cancer cells to halt the growth of tumors effectively. This is especially useful in the prevention of colon and breast cancer.
- Pain Relief: If you are looking for a natural alternative for ibuprofens and other pain relievers, Rosemary is promising. In the form of tea, it provides adequate relief from pain due to heartburn. It is also an ingredient in several topical products for the treatment of muscle pain.
- Indigestion: Rosemary is also an effective treatment for some digestive problems, including dyspepsia and constipation. In fact, in Germany, the Commission E approves the use of Rosemary for indigestion.
- Memory: It also has a reputation for being a natural memory enhancer. It is best for people who are already aging as it boosts their memory. The aroma of this herb is also useful for the improvement of concentration.
- Immune System: If you need a way to boost the immune system, Rosemary is the perfect natural alternative. It increases the defense of the body from infections and diseases. It has healing abilities to improve the ability of the body to combat sickness.
- Hair: Rosemary also has many benefits for hair health. For instance, it is instrumental in the prevention of hair loss. Also, it regulates oil production in the scalp, making it effective in the treatment of dandruff.
- Oral Health: Do you have bad breath? Boil Rosemary, strain, and use it as a mouth gargle for an instant fresh breath. It is from the mint family, which is why it is a common ingredient in mouthwash. It also has antimicrobial properties, making it useful for the prevention of gum diseases and tooth decay.
- Skin: Topical creams also use Rosemary as the main ingredient, especially those that are for eczema. It can speed up the healing of wounds. Also, because of its potent antibacterial properties, it helps in fighting acne and other skin problems.
- Stress: Rosemary, in the form of essential oil, is also a frequent choice for aromatherapy. It provides a relaxing effect, making it excellent for stress relief. It also lowers cortisol in the body, which minimizes anxiety as well.
Culinary Applications and Other Uses
Aside from its health purposes, there is an abundance of other applications, including the following:
- Meat Flavoring: Stuff sprigs of Rosemary inside a whole chicken or turkey before roasting. Alternatively, sprinkle chopped Rosemary over the top of the meat before grilling or use it as a primary ingredient for the marinade.
- Spread: There are many ways to use Rosemary for a delicious sandwich spread. Chop Rosemary and mix it with soft butter. Also, try mixing it with Greek yogurt for a creamy and delicious spread.
- Soups: During the cold season, soup with Rosemary will surely offer a tasty treat and will keep you warm. Rosemary works well with almost any ingredient, but some of the best include chicken, chickpea, potato, zucchini, and parsnip.
- Flavored Oil: This works best with olive oil. Just put oil in a bottle and drop sprigs of Rosemary. Let it sit for a couple of days for the maximum extraction of flavor. Use the oil as a drizzle or dressing.
- Desserts: Many people use herb when cooking, but it is also a promising ingredient in different sweet treats. For a different flavor, why not try making sorbet using Rosemary and lemon? It is undoubtedly refreshing! It is also popular for pies and shortcakes.
- Kitchen Fragrance: Simmering Rosemary in a pot is a good way to freshen the house. For the best outcomes, mix it with fragrant fruits, such as grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and cranberries, among others. It is sufficient for the kitchen.
- Beverages: Rosemary is also popular as a garnish for many drinks. However, it does not only serve as a decorative piece. It infuses a light flavor in your beverage, which will especially be active with the cold ones. Such as lemonade. It is also popular for cocktails, such as those using gin as the base ingredient.
How To Successfully Grow in the Garden
Thinking of planting Rosemary? It does not need to be a hard task. Even if you are new in gardening, there is no reason to struggle.
The best way to plant Rosemary is through cutting. Seed planting usually leads to a low level of success, so stay away from it. Ask a friend or visit a local nursery for a cutting from a healthy Rosemary plant. Cut 4-inch sprig from the plant. Take off the leaves from the lower end of the plant, preferably an inch from the bottom. Plant it in a container. Once roots start to appear, you can transfer it into a pot or garden.
Rosemary grows even in low-quality soil. For the best output, however, plant it in well-drained soil. Ideally, the pH level must be anywhere from 6 to 7. A slow-release fertilizer will help to start on the right foot, encouraging the healthier growth of the plant.When it comes to proper positioning, the best is in a place where it receives ample amount of sunlight. When growing the plant indoors, supplementing with an artificial light will let the plant thrive. In the garden, meanwhile, see to it that the plant receives up to eight hours of sun in a day.
Depending on the climate from where you live, it is best to plant Rosemary at a distance of at least three feet apart from each cutting. Especially in the case of creeping varieties, they will cramp if you plant too close to each other.
Rosemary is an evergreen plant. This means that you can harvest anytime of the year. It grows thick branches, and you can cut it almost from anywhere. There is also no need to be afraid as the plant will grow back after some time without the need to exert too much effort.
After cutting Rosemary from the plant, pay attention to its proper storage. This is necessary to preserve freshness. Keep it in a cool and dry place. For long-term storage, store it in a sealed plastic bag and freeze. Drying leaves and storing in a container with an airtight seal is also a good idea.
Care and Maintenance
One of the good things about Rosemary is that it does not need too much attention. After planting, as long as you do it right, it will grow on its own with minimal care and maintenance.
Pruning is one of the most important. Rosemary is usually thick and creeps on the ground. Regular trimming is necessary to keep it in its best shape, making it an excellent ornamental herb in the garden. The rule of thumb is not to trim more than 1/3 of the plant to be sure that whatever remains will grow back.
When growing Rosemary indoors, mildew will affect the plant. This powdery fungus results from humidity in the indoor environment. The best solution is to take the plant outside. Also, see to it that the soil is completely dry before the next watering.
Although it does not happen all the time, root rot is one widespread problem in Rosemary. This is because of excessive watering. To prevent this, water the plant only if the soil is already dry from the previous watering. There is no need to water often as Rosemary has the excellent ability to tolerate drought.
In sum, Rosemary is not just an aromatic herb that is perfect for its culinary applications. For centuries, it enjoys the reputation of being a magical herb not only because of folklores but because of its many health benefits. These might provide you with compelling reasons to add it to the garden, which is also an excellent ornamental plant.