Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis (Labiatae - Lamiaceae, Mint family)

Characteristics and uses:

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub with leaves similar to fir needles. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but it grows also in cool climates. It needs no much water, it's a drought-tolerant plant. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but here in Sardinia it can be in constant bloom all over the year. Flowers are white, pink, purple, light or deep blue. It is used as a decorative plant in sunny gardens, especially in Mediterranean climate. The leaves, having a bitter, astringent taste and a characteristic aroma, are used as a flavouring in foods: stuffing, roast meat such as lamb, pork, chicken and turkey, as well as roasted potatoes. One teaspoon rosemary provides no nutritional value, but rosemary is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, our best friends, very precious to our heart and arteries. It is one of the recognized herbs for its note-worthy health benefiting phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants, and essential acids. Rosemary herb carry very good amounts of vitamin A, B (folic acid) and C; it is also rich source of minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, copper, magnesium and manganese.


Probably the word comes from Latin: "ros" (dew) and "marinus" (belonging to the sea): truly it often grows near the sea.

Other uses:

Rosemary essential oil is used for purposes of fragrant bodily perfumes, shampoos, and cleaning products, or in aromatherapy, to emit an aroma into a room.

History and folklore:

According to legend, rosemary was draped around the Greek Goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea. It is known as the rose of Mary: the Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when the Holy Family was hiding during the flight into Egypt, and the flowers turned blue. It was also burnt as incense. In the middle age rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies: from this, rosemary was thought to be a love charm. The Queen of Hungary Elisabeth of Poland prepared a "Hungary water" (the first European alcohol-based perfume), to "renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs" and to treat gout. In myths rosemary has a reputation for improving memories (Napoleon Bonaparte himself thought this way). In the language of flowers it is associated with remembrance and friendship.

***** Erbe Matte cannot take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally. *****

***** We carefully dry rosemary stems when they are crisp, at the first bloom; after they are dried out, we remove the leaves and flowers by sliding our fingers down each stem. *****