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The spice that had traditional uses at both weddings and funerals

· Spice

In ancient Greece and Rome brides put rosemary twigs in their bouquets to show their love and loyalty and newlyweds planted rosemary on their wedding day.

Rosemary twigs were placed on the graves of loved ones as a symbol of remembrance.

According to legends in the Christian tradition, rosemary is a holy spice. It was believed while escaping with the baby Jesus, Virgin Mary tossed her blue robe over a bush with white flowers. When she picked up the robe, the flowers had turned the color of her robe, blue color…the flowers of the rosemary bush today. “Robe of Mary” eventually became “rosemary.” But these are the legends …. The name is derived from the Latin name ros marinus, which means “dew of the sea.”

In ancient Europe, rosemary was burned in the hospitals to purify the air and prevent disease and in the court rooms to protect officers from prisoners’ contagious diseases. However, the super enthusiastic fans of rosemary are Italy and the Provence region of France, where it is a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes.

Rosemary is the native to the Mediterranean region. It is also grown in almost all over the world including U.S, Algeria, China, Morocco, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, and in India. Rosemary has pointy perennial leaves which are darker green in color. Rosemary is used in the preparation of sweet and savory dishes. Besides its culinary use, rosemary is popularly used in cosmetics and drug industry. Rosemary has carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-rheumatic properties. Rosemary is a very decorative plant and is often planted for ornamental purposes.

Rosemary is very strong in flavor and aroma, it can easily override a dish. It should be used very carefully. It retains in flavor in slow and long cooking. Rosemary comes in fresh and dried form. It can be whole, chopped, crushed, or ground. Fresh and dried are both equally strong. Rosemary retains its flavor and volatile oils even when grounded.

Health benefits

1. Rosemary supports the Brain health and Memory
Rosemary has a special anti-oxidant called Carnosic acid which helps brain in developing memory power. Carnosic acid has potential of easing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
A dangerous amyloid plaque in the brain is supposed to be a key contributor of Alzheimer’s. It is the leading cause of the memory loss and mental decline that are typical characteristics of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suggests that rosemary can suppress the production of this plaque.
Evidences from several studies have illustrated that the aroma of rosemary can improve overall thinking and total memory. According to the International Journal of Neuroscience, one study with 144 people, reported that sniffing rosemary essential oil while performing mental tasks improved memory. In one of the other study researchers declared that smelling rosemary oil before testing reduced anxiety of the students who inhaled it.

2. Rosemary stimulates blood circulation
Rosemary acts as a stimulant for the body and increases the formation of red blood cells and blood flow. It helps oxygenate vital body systems and areas of the body and ensures that adequate nutrients are available to run metabolic activities in those areas. It helps in stimulating nutrient functions.

As rosemary can increase blood circulation, it is very helpful in clearing headache. Rosemary’s quality of stimulating blood flow can open the “headache causing” restricted blood vessels. This opening of the blood vessels (vasodilation) can reduce pain caused by the headache.

Rosemary’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties help in reducing headache as well as pain and inflammation in the body.

3. Rosemary is a super powerful antioxidant
Rosemary’s is loaded with antioxidants - rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and carnosol. Together they make rosemary one of the most powerful antioxidants on earth. It is proved that breathing rosemary oil reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol are linked with an increase in oxidation of cells. Oxidation is the main cause of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.

Rosemary in the kitchen

• Add the whole sprig to the soup or sauce. Whole sprigs used this way can be removed and discarded.
• Add finely chopped leaves to tomato-based soups.
• Add rosemary twigs to desserts.
• Garnish drinks, soups or pickles with fresh rosemary.
• Add rosemary to flavor vegetables like brussels sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower.
• Add finely chopped rosemary to the bread mixes.
• Add a big sprig of rosemary to a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil. Drizzle this rosemary olive oil over veggies or salad or pasta.
• Add dried rosemary and dry garlic to melted butter and enjoy this butter with bread of your choice.

Home remedies

1. For getting most benefit of rosemary, enjoy rosemary tea often.
Add 1 twig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp of dried rosemary to 1 cup of boiling water. Let is steep for 8-10 mins. Strain and drink.
2. For nasal and chest congestion inhale steam with rosemary leaves.

3. For natural room freshener, boil few twigs on rosemary in a huge pot. Let the fragrance with steam spread all over and enjoy the aromatherapy.