Rosemary (R. officinalis) is a widely used herb that originates from the Mediterranean region. It dates back to the ancient Greeks who hailed the plant for assisting memory and stimulating the brain. The plant contains an essential oil that is needed for survival and known to boost memory. Rosemary is known to have one of the highest properties of spices and can combat fungus, bacteria and cancer.
Rosemary is made up of a wide variety of oils, phenolic acid derivatives, and phenolic diterpenes including:
– Oils: 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, camphene, α-terpineol, borneol with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects.
– Phenolic acid derivatives:
– Rosmarinic acid, found heavily in the leaves, protects the lungs and fights Alzheimer’s.
– Carnosic acid, which protects the brain and has strong antioxidant properties.
1) Rosemary improves brain function and protects the brain
In a clinical study of 144 volunteers, aromatherapy with rosemary improved working memory performance, memory quality, and increased alertness. In another trial of 28 elderly subjects, low doses (750 mg) of rosemary powder improved memory speed. Rosemary tea also has shown to reduce depression in mice. Carnosic acid protects neurons from oxidative stress and over-stimulation. It builds up in nerve cells and other protective cells in the brain, as well as protects part of the brain (middle cerebral artery) from tissue damage like, ischemia/reperfusion injury. It reduces blood clots and brain swelling in rats.
Carnosic acid protects against oxidative stress, which can cause Alzheimer’s and reduces cell death in rat brains (hippocampus).
Rosemary also prevents beta-amyloid plaques, one of the leading causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
2) Rosemary can fight cancer
In human ovarian cancer cells, some active rosemary constituents stopped cancer cell growth and killed existing cancer cells. There is a vast array of data supporting rosemary’s effectiveness against varieties of cancers including: leukemia, colon, pancreas, breast, prostate, ovaries, cervix, bladder, liver, lung.
Recently, Toulison Nutraceuticals Inc. R&D department completed the in vitro phase of testing different natural compounds (mostly derived from plants) on various human cancer cell lines to determine their response and possible selectivity to phytodrugs. In our studies, we discovered that rosemary extract was effective in inhibiting proliferative activity in tested breast and prostate cancer cells during 24 hours of treatment (Figure 1). We also found out that non-cancer cells ( embryonic kidney) responded to this treatment by increasing proliferative activity. This could be a result of “selective targeting” cancer cells by the rosemary extract. More studies are on the way.
3) Rosemary protects the skin
In a study of 10 healthy subjects, rosemary extracts protected the skin from UV damage, increasing its effectiveness with time. More skin cells survived in the volunteers who received rosemary extracts. This protection helps reduce aging, cancer, or UV light damage.
Rosemary oil is also effective against bacteria (P. acnes) that causes acne.
4) Rosemary improves asthma
In a clinical study of 40 asthma patients, rosemary extracts decreased asthma symptoms such as: wheezing, chest pain, coughing, production of sputum (mixture of saliva and mucus).
Additionally, rosmarinic acid and rosemary extracts decreased the production of asthma-induced inflammatory cells (eosinophils, neutrophils, and mononuclear cells) in rats.
5) Rosemary limits weight gain
In rats fed high-fat diets, rosemary extracts decreased weight gain by 64% and fat gain by 57% compared to controls.
Another study found similar results (69% improvements compared to the controls). While the extract did not decrease food intake, it increased fat loss.
6) Rosemary is antimicrobial
Rosemary extracts completely stopped bacterial growth in multiple strains of bacteria (Gram-positive and Gram-negative). The effects were more pronounced for the Gram-positive bacteria. In one study, extracts were able to inhibit 28 of 29 bacterial strains studied. Rosemary also has antifungal properties. Carnosol is a non-toxic compound of rosemary that also has antiviral properties. However, it was not as effective as the rosemary extract.
7) Rosemary has anti-inflammatory properties
At higher doses, rosemary extracts decreased the production of inflammatory molecules (such as IL-1β, COX-1, TNFa, and iNOS) in human cells. It decreases the production of nitric oxide, a product of inflammation.
Rosemary essential oil significantly reduced white blood cell (leukocyte) rolling, another process of the inflammatory response.
8) Rosemary prevents blood clots
Cell and mice studies found that rosemary possessed antithrombotic effects, meaning it stopped blood from clotting and restricting blood flow.
This effect was most likely because rosemary stops platelets activity, which are the molecules responsible for the clotting of blood.
9) Rosemary reduces pain
In traditional medicine, rosemary has been used to fight painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea), especially stomach cramps and kidney colic pain, which is pain caused by blockage of urine from the kidney to the bladder.
10) Rosemary helps grow hair
In a clinical study of 50 patients with androgenic alopecia (permanent balding), rosemary oil significantly increased hair counts after six months.
Toulison Nutraceuticals Inc. R&D department has recently developed the formulation that helps promote hair growth in cases of hair loss, regardless of its cause. Rosemary extract is one of the components in our product.
For more information about this product, please check our website:
11) Rosemary combats arthritis
Rosemary combats the progression of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing oxidative damage to the joints and surrounding tissues.
A meta-analysis found doses of rosemary extract at 0.1-100 μg/mL to be most effective in fighting cancer. However, an effective dose for human use has not been established due to the wide range of concentrations used in different studies.
Overall, the rosemary plant is classified as safe by the FDA. It is found to have very low toxicity in rats, even when used at high concentrations and over extended periods of time.
It is recommended to take 4-6 g of rosemary dry leaf/twig supplements daily and 2-4 mL of liquid extracts three times daily.
The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. Information is shared for educational purposes only.