2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Rosemary

What Is It?

A silvery evergreen shrub that originated in the Mediterranean region and is now grown worldwide, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is prized both as a culinary and healing herb. Many of the current uses of this aromatic plant have been handed down from ancient times.

Historically, Greek and Chinese healers used rosemary as a soothing digestive aid and to relieve intestinal gas (flatulence). In many countries today, rosemary leaf tea is a standard treatment for these purposes. Germany’s Commission E, for instance, has even given its official approval to rosemary leaf tea for treating indigestion, gas, bloating, and other digestive symptoms. The tea can be prepared from dried rosemary leaves; alternatively, small amounts of either the tincture or the liquid extract can be mixed with warm water.

The ancient Greeks also believed that the plant could enhance memory, and students were known to take their examinations wearing garlands of rosemary. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia in her mad scene lists rosemary among the herbs she’s wearing: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”

The herb’s enduring reputation as a memory aid may in part be due to its high concentrations of health-promoting antioxidants. These compounds help to protect the brain and other parts of the body against unstable oxygen molecules, called free radicals, which can damage cells in the body. Rosemary may also sharpen memory by helping to prevent the breakdown of a brain chemical called acetylcholine.

Inhalation use: Today, aromatherapists commonly recommend inhaling rosemary oil for sharpening the mind, countering mental fatigue, and treating nervous exhaustion. The essential oil of rosemary can be inhaled directly, added to bath water, or diluted with a neutral carrier oil and used for massage.

Topical use: Rosemary oil, which is steam-distilled from the plant’s pale blue flowers, may help soothe muscle sprains, strains, and arthritic joints. The oil contains camphor, a skin irritant that can increase blood circulation to the skin when applied topically. The aromatic oil is frequently added to hair preparations. One recent trial found that rosemary oil, when combined with thyme, cedarwood, and lavender oils in a neutral carrier oil (jojoba) may help to lessen a type of patchy hair loss of unknown cause called alopecia areata.

Internal use: Rosemary oil is one of the four essential oils recently made available in capsule form for internal use. Herbalists often suggest capsules containing rosemary oil along with the essential oils of oregano and thyme for the treatment of yeast (Candida) overgrowth in the intestines. This blend is used in part because of rosemary’s apparent antibacterial and antifungal properties.

General Interaction

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with rosemary.

Cautions

Only take rosemary oil internally in the form of an enteric-coated capsule. When taken in any other form, it can irritate the stomach and cause heartburn.

When applied topically, rosemary oil can cause dermatitis and skin redness in people who are sensitive to it. If this happens to you, stop using the herb.

If you are pregnant, don’t use rosemary in therapeutic amounts. High doses could potentially cause complications. The amounts that typically appear in food or cosmetics pose no risk, however.

If you have epilepsy, don’t take medicinal amounts of rosemary; the camphor in the herb could potentially aggravate seizures.

If insomnia is a problem, don’t take a rosemary bath in the evening; its stimulant effect may keep you from falling asleep.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • “I Am So Bloated!”

    Susan wrote this on our WholeHealth Chicago form in the section marked “What’s the main problem?” She went on to tell me she’d been suffering for years, her stomach feeling like some gremlin was inflating a balloon every time she ate. When the bloating was especially severe, she said she looked like she was in her fifth month of pregnancy. Susan was so embarrassed she’d Read More

  • Major Breakthrough: A Highly Accurate Blood Test For Fibromyalgia

    Although I’ve taken care of well over 2,000 fibromyalgia patients since first opening WholeHealth Chicago in 1995 (and also written a successful book on the subject), I was always troubled by two questions. First, exactly what is fibromyalgia? How can there be a condition that’s severe enough to be disabling, manifesting as widespread muscle pain, profound fatigue, poor sleep, headaches, and a half dozen other Read More

  • Glandular Therapies

    A surprising number of so-called alternative therapies actually have their roots in conventional medicine. While reflexology (once called Zone Therapy) is arguably thousands of years old, its modern use was made popular by an ear-nose-throat specialist who used the pressure from rubber bands applied to the fingers and toes for surgical anesthesia. The “Bach” of Bach Flower Therapy is prominent British physician Edward Bach, who Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!