We’ve done it! We’ve made it to my most favorite time of year. Fall sings to me; cooler weather, warming spices, bonfires, and changing leaves bring clarity and comfort to the Apothecary. Traditionally October is a month of remembrance. Celebrations such as Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, All Hallow’s Eve, and Halloween remind us that the veil between this world and the next are at their thinnest this time of year. It is a time to remember and honor those who have passed before. Few herbs embody remembrance more than Rosemary.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has inspired and delighted humans throughout the ages. This highly aromatic plant is a legendary brain tonic aiding in concentration, memory, and cognition. Rosemary beautifully highlights the intersection between traditional use and modern scientific findings. Traditionally Rosemary was used in spells to boost mental powers and prowess and ceremonially for remembering the dead. It is today being studied for its positive effects in supporting short-term memory and preventing and addressing Alzheimer’s. A 2012 study showed that as little as 750 mg of dried Rosemary had a significant beneficial impact on cognitive function in the elderly.
Rosemary isn’t just a boon for our gray matter! Considered the ‘Queen of Antioxidants,’ Rosemary supports the cardiovascular system, digestion, liver, and mood. High levels of antioxidants help decrease oxidative stress and inflammation making it a useful plant for arthritic pain. Rosemary is highly antimicrobial and before refrigerators were commonplace it would be rubbed into meats to prevent the growth of bacteria. All that healing power packed into what could easily be one of the best smelling plants on the planet!
However you choose to honor this changing of the season, I invite you to bring a little Rosemary and remembrance into your life! Green Blessings to you all!
de la Foret, R. (n.d.). Rosemary monograph. herbmentor.com
Gladstar, R. (2012). Medicinal herbs: A beginner’s guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
Pengelly, Andrew, et al. “Short-Term Study on the Effects of Rosemary on Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population.” Journal of Medicinal Food 15, no. 1 (2011): 10–17. doi:10.1089/jmf.2011.0005.