Rosemary is a perennial woody aromatic herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. Traditionally used by the Greeks. A common herb in cooking, rosemary has a wide range of health benefits. It can be taken as an extract, powder, oil or tea form. In addition to its great flavor in cooking, it contains phenolic acid derivatives and phenolic diterpenes that give its medicinal properties. It contains several essential oils such as cineol, camphene, bornyl, borneol, alpha-pinene and acetate. Rosemary oil is distilled from the flowering tops and has all the essential oils giving rosemary diaphoretic, immune supportive, astringent and stimulant properties.
To begin with, rosemary functions as a cognitive stimulant. It is said to improve memory and increases intelligence and focus. Rosemary contains an essential oil that boosts memory. According to study rosemary-based aromatherapy was said to improve working memory, memory quality and increases alertness as well. It boosts the nerve growth factor and supports brain function as well as healing of neurological tissue. Carsonic acid (CA) found in rosemary protects the brain from damage including ischemia due to low perfusion and toxin mediated degeneration as a result of free radicals. As such, carnosonic acids protective effects on the neurons shields them from oxidative stress and hyperstimulation thus preserving brain function.
Rosemary has an immune supportive function as it detoxifies the blood and protects the body against invasion by foreign bodies. It has a slight diuretic due to action of carnosol that helps flush out toxins. Additionally, rosemary helps eliminate free radicals, promotes healthy inflammatory response and regulates cell growth thus curbing any processes that may interfere with immune system due to the presence of phenolic diterpenes such as carnosol. Rosemary creates a healthy inflammatory reponse. Carnosol targets inflamed cells to reduce inflammation. The two compounds that confer these functions are carnosol and carnosic acids that produce a healthy inflammatory response of muscles, blood vessels and joints. High concentrations of rosemary extract reduce the production of molecules such as COX-1, TNF-alpha and iNOS. Rosemarinic acid and caffeic acid help to minimize damage to body cells by free radicals that induce DNA damage.
Rosemary also, contains various minerals each with a unique health function. Potassium helps in cardiac functioning and regulation of the heart rate. Others include, copper, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B vitamins such as pantothenic acid, riboflavin and pyridoxine. Manganese in combination with superoxide dismutase prevents and protects against unregulated cell division.
The herb also supports regulated cell growth by eliminating non-viable cells. It does this by decreasing the level of heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Besides, the fact that carnosol has selective toxicity towards harmful non-viable cells makes it beneficial as it spares the neighboring healthy cells. Rosemary also promotes a healthy muscular response. This is due to its ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response while improving circulation at the same time.
Above all, rosemary extract is beneficial for the skin. It nourishes blemishes in the skin to give it a natural shine and a youthful look. Additionally, it protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays which reduces aging or damage to the skin cells. It has also been reported to enhance and hasten the wound healing process when applied externally thus aiding in skin repair.