About Rosemary Leaves
Its scientific name is Rosmarinus Officinali and comes from the Latin name Rosmarinus (dew of the sea). Rosemary is part of the Labiatae family, characteristically grouped as mint herbs. It is a shrubby herb, with evergreen leaves of about one inch long. It comes with a particularly camphoraceous, aromatic smell and its flowers are pale blue in shade and color. Rosemary is said to grow for more than thirty years, and raises up to the height of the Crucifix of Jesus Christ, and will only wither until then.
Properties of Rosemary Leaves
Rosemary is considered is a restorative herb that is known to relieve spasm and stimulates the gall bladder and liver. The plant�s composition has a tannic acid and an oil containing bornyl acetate and esters, which is similar to whatis found in camphene (camphor).It also contains acids (phenolic rosmarinic), carsonol and rosmanol which have bitter diterpenes and tripernes. Its essential oil comprises 1.8 cineole, camphor, borneol, iso-bornyl acetate, 3-octanonem terpineol, verbinol, limonene and b-pinene.
History and Use of Rosemary
- Symbolism and Religious purpose
The shrub is often used by people in the ancient times, as it is believed to have the capacity to sharpen their memories. As such, it is held in a special position from all the other herbs and represents fidelity and loyalty between lovers. But it is not just used for weddings, where brides wear an entwined wreath made of rosemary, but also for funerals and other religious ceremonies. During celebrations, rosemary is decorated all over churches and halls and it is burned to emit incense, making events more magical and spiritual.
Today, it is still customary for the people of Wales to hold branches of rosemary leaves at funeral march, just as how their ancestors practiced it.
- Medicinal purpose
Herbalists during these ancient times used this herb as a cure for indigestion among the elderly. It was also used to relieve headaches and may sometimes be applied on the head to prevent baldness. At the time of the Second World War, with many things short on supply, rosemary was known to be burned in French hospitals and sick chambers, as it was known to purify the air from infectious bacteria.
Studies done for the last years have shown that the leaves and its oil components may be used as spice and flavouring that will help control the progression of cancer or tumors. There are current test done on laboratory animals today and the results are becoming more and more optimistic.
However, while these experiments may be the presents answer to cancer cure, small doses of rosemary oil are also known to cause some intestinal problems. If ingested in large amounts, it could be potentially dangerous. Therefore, pregnant women are advised not to take medicines with rosemary components. But as a seasoning, it should be safe for infanticipating women.
- Other purposes
In the middle ages, rosemary is believed to protect people from evil spirits or plagues.
Kids used to put rosemary sprigs under their pillow, as it is believed to ward off nightmares and bad dreams.
It is believed that putting a small potted rosemary plant on one�s work desk or study desk helps stimulates memory and people will function better.
The ancient people also used rosemary to preserve meats and add to its flavour, much like we do today.
At present, rosemary is used for many different purposes:
Growing and Cultivation of Rosemary
- Tonic to calm the nerves, to be drank as a tea
- Stimulant, also to be drank as a tea
- Cure for asthma
- Relieves menstrual cramps
- A component in making Eau de Cologne
- A component for shampoo, disinfectant as well as other variants of cosmetics
- Potpourri particularly in the kitchen area
Rosemary comes from seeds and is propagated through cutting, layering and dividing its roots. The seeds are first sown in a warm sunny place. When it has grown, it will be cut and removed into a slightly shaded area, preferably in a hand-glass. Its roots should be ripe for transplanting sometime autumn. And by summertime, it should be ready for layering under a sandy soil.
Rosemary that grows from seeds result in germination that is low. However, it is easy to propagate by cutting, once it has grown to a size similar to a stock plant. In some cases, the roots will sprout even on a water glass placed by a well-lit windowsill. The best time to do cuttings is usually during autumn season.
- Clip about 2 to 2 1/2 inch stem
- Snip the leaves on the lower part. Do not pull them off.
- Dip the end about 1/4 inch in a rooting powder
- Place this in a container that has peat moss and perlite in equal amounts.
- Don't forget to spray the cuttings everyday, especially on hot sunny days.
The rosemary root should sprout in two to three weeks thereafter. Once the roots come out, rosemary can be then transplanted to pots of about 3 1/2 inches deep. To encourage branching, the top bud must be pinched.
Taking care of the Rosemary herb plant
Rosemary lives on dry soil, under a good source of light but with a slightly sheltered surrounding. These plants normally need six to eight hours of sun daily. If these plants are cultivated on chalk soil, they may grow more fragrant. Essentially, they also require a good drainage system as this keeps the roots cool, but does not drown it in the sand. To achieve good drainage, soil must be lightened up prior to transport of the rosemary. In many southern climates, the ground is mulched first to prepare good drainage.
If there is a good number of a rosemary plant in your nursery, you may feed them with liquid fertilizer (if possible, kelp-based ones).
During cold seasons, it is recommended that rosemary plants be brought indoors and placed in an area where there is adequate sunlight.
It is known as a plant that compliments well with carrots, cabbage, sage and beans as rosemary helps deter flies, beetles and moths and thereby protects other crops growing beside it.