Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a shrub commonly used as a spice. Its leaves are pointed and needle-like with a unique woody aroma. Thanks to its wide culinary use, rosemary has been linked to many health benefits.
This evergreen herb has long been used as a medicinal plant. While people know only of its leaves, rosemary produces a healthy essential oil, usually sold in small bottles. Studies claim that it is not a true oil because it has no fats. The oil was used traditionally to treat a variety of diseases, and scientists are currently looking into its health benefits. Some study findings have concurred with the traditional uses of rosemary’s essential oil. This article discusses the health benefits of rosemary oil.
1. May Improve Brain Function
Rosemary was used in folk medicine, especially in Greece and Rome to boost memory. Studies indicate that inhaling rosemary essential oil may help inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine – a chemical found in the brain involved in concentration, thinking, and memory. Rosemary can also penetrate the bloodstream through inhalation and travel to the brain for improved thinking capacity. What’s more, inhaling rosemary can help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in adults – a neurological condition characterized by profound forgetfulness.
2. Enhances Hair Growth
Quality, long, and radiant hair is the pride of most women, and rosemary essential oil may help keep them long and stimulate their growth. Male pattern baldness can affect women in some cases. It’s clinically referred to as androgenetic alopecia and the main type of hair loss people suffer from. It occurs when a byproduct of the hormone testosterone invades the hair follicle. Studies have shown that rosemary essential oil prevents hair loss by inhibiting the actions of this byproduct. It is speculated that the oil can produce the same effects of increasing hair thickness as those of minoxidil (Rogaine), which is a conventional remedy for hair loss. Rosemary oil can also treat patchy hair loss, also known as alopecia areata – a common type of hair loss of 5 out of 10 people under 21 years.
3. May Help Alleviate Pain
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism imitated with injury or infections. However, it can be bothersome if it occurs over an extended period causing pain. Rosemary is commonly used in folk medicine to manage mild pain. Evidence suggests that rosemary oil can help relieve pain better than acetaminophen, a common pain reliever.
4. Can Prevent Insect Bite
Rosemary oil has been found to have repellant properties. It can prevent harmful insects from biting you or infesting the garden. One particular pesticideof rosemary oil called EcoTrol can kill certain farm mites by up to 52 percent, with no side effects on the plants. Viruses and bacteria can be spread by certain insects that suck the blood. Interestingly, rosemary can help keep these insects at bay. For example, applying the oil directly to the skin can repel Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the Zika virus. It can also repel mosquitoes by 100 percent for one hour thirty minutes.
5. May Alleviate Anxiety and Ease Stress
Stress is a common mental problem among young and old adults and is caused by several factors, including school tests. One study found that breathing rosemary oil before and during tests could reduce pulse by 9 percent, more than taking the test without rosemary. Increased pulse rate is an indicator of short-term stress and anxiety, and since rosemary can reduce pulse, it can thus reduce anxiety. Another study also found that rosemary oil inhalation can reduce cortisol levels in the blood. Cortisol is a hormone responsible for stress regulation, and a slight increase of it can compromise your immune system and contribute to insomnia, unstable mood, and other signs of stress.
6. May Improve Circulation
Poor circulation is a common problem, and it can be noticed on the body extremities, such as hands and feet. In most cases, poor circulation will present with cold fingers and toes, even in warm environments. Rosemary oil can help in such a situation. Studies suggest that those with Raynaud’s disease – a cardiovascular condition that impairs circulation – can massage their hands with rosemary essential oil to warm their fingers. Raynaud’s disease occurs when the blood vessels supplying your fingers and toes narrow when you are stressed or in the cold. This causes the affected area to become bluish and cold. Researchers believe that this herb’s oil work by dilating blood vessels, making the blood warm and easy to reach the toes and fingers.
7. May Help Refreshen You
In folk medicine, rosemary oil is used to manage mental fatigue and strain. Evidence indicates that it can reduce drowsiness and refresh the mind by up to 25 percent and 30 percent, respectively. It achieves this by elevating blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate, all of which perks up your brain. Additionally, rosemary oil may significantly increase attention, alertness, energy, and mood.
8. May Reduce Joint Inflammation
Joint inflammation is a common symptom of arthritis. It may be coupled with stiffness and pain. While inflammation may be helpful in curbing infection and promoting wound healing as a response of the immune system, oxidative stress may cause inflammation. Studies suggest that applying rosemary oil to inflamed joints may help reduce inflammation – thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The oil can diffuse in the bloodstream and reduce oxidative damage, neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation.
9. Rosemary Oil Is Easy to Use
Rosemary essential oil can be used in two major ways – by inhalation or topically. Due to its high concentration, you only need to use a small amount of it at a time. It is sold in bottles with plastic droppers for easy dispensing. You can open the bottle and inhale the oil or drop it on a wet cloth and breath it in near your face. However, you should avoid exposing your baby to rosemary oil via a diffuser as it their exact dosage is not known.
Rosemary essential oil, extracted from an evergreen herb has a long history of use in folk medicine. Scientists have proved that it can truly help treat a number of diseases. Benefits of this oil-backed by science include improved brain function and enhanced hair growth.