Roses may top many folks lists of favorite garden plant, but Rosemary is an amazing herb with so many uses, it may even top the common rose. Originating in the Mediterranean, Rosemary has been favored by cooks and apothecaries since ancient times. Families burned it in the sickroom to purify the air. In courtrooms, branches were spread on the floor to release the essential oils and protect occupants from “jail fever” (typhus).
People even carried rosemary with them as they traveled through the streets to ward off the Plague. Rosemary has too many wonderful culinary uses to count. The leaves impart intense flavor in your stew, red meats or marinara sauce and just thinking of laying fresh sprigs on top of broiled or barbecued roasts is enough to make your mouth water. The leaves add such a distinctive flavor to and the bonus is that it aids in digesting fats! Think herbal butter! All of this is just for taste, Rosemary has many medicinal uses as well. Rosemary eases pain by increasing circulation. Soak the leaves in warm olive oil for several hours, then strain and rub into painful areas to ease muscular pain, sciatica, stiff joints and neuralgia. Rosemary tea stimulates hair follicles, useful for treating premature baldness, and is used as an antiseptic gargle and mouthwash.
Rubbing the leaves and inhaling the essential oil has been shown to lift some types of depression. Due to its circulatory stimulant properties, it has been known to increase memory retention and research indicates consumption of rosemary helps prevent Alzheimer Syndrome. All of this is just “brushing the surface” of what rosemary has to offer. To care for your cut rosemary, keep it in a vase, just like a bouquet, for up to a week. If you can’t use it within a week, bundle it with a rubber band, and hang upside down to dry for a few weeks. Strip the dried leaves from the branches, store in a tightly-lidded glass jar, away from sunlight. Now there’s a “rose” you won’t want to forget!