Rosemary for Remembrance

by in Antioxidants, Attention Deficit Disorder, Caffeine, Colds/Flus, Digestion, Headaches, Heart Disease, Heartburn, Herbal Medicine, Kitchen Sink, Memory, Menopause May 28, 2008


Rosemary is a great herb for memory.

Rosemary is often added to recipes dedicated to those that did not survive breast cancer for “remembrance”.

William Shakespeare even wrote in the play Hamlet, “There is rosemary, and that is for remembrance”.

Not too long ago we had some random spring snow here in Seattle, and whenever the sun is not shining (almost all the time) I am drawn to the garden for some sort of UV-free inspiration.

Well everything in my garden was pretty much dead and critically untended to at the time (who am I kidding it still is). The only thing that wasn’t dead were my pots of rosemary growing wildly huge and out of control. Now I love dandelions and just about any other plant that has some hardiness about it. Any flower can be a persnickety rose highly tended to in a pristine flower bed, so I save the most of my admiration for those plants that can grow through cracks in cement and still come out beautiful.

As I stopped to really admire the flourishing lush flowering perseverance of the rosemary covered in snow, I recalled all the reasons it is such a special plant:

  • Memory and mental functioning
  • A gentle, caffeine free invigorating alternative to coffee and black tea.
  • Menopause (rosemary is technically a warming herb though so may cause hot flashes in some, but still worth trying)
  • Antioxidant
  • Cardiovascular system, great for those with poor circulation
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches, gas, fevers, sluggish gallbladder, acid stomach.
  • Anti-fungal, a great herb for candida and yeast infections
  • Anti-microbial
  • Please note: As with most herbs, do NOT use rosemary during pregnancy! Only use herbs advised by your doctor.

Because rosemary is such a hardy plant you can afford to plant a ton of it as future shrubbery and pretty much abandon it to nearly any weather extreme and watch it flourish. Why have senseless shrubbery around your house when you can grow simple medicines?

You can then make an indulgent rosemary oil to massage in to your temples to improve your memory and concentration at the office.

How to make rosemary oil:

  • Pack a clean dry glass jar with rosemary (washed and allowed to dry off so that residual water on the rosemary doesn’t cause the oil to spoil).
  • Cover it with olive oil, or your carrier oil of choice (sesame and almond also work great).
  • Let the oil sit in a sunny window for about a month. Shake gently every so often. Be sure the plant parts are always submerged in oil.
  • Strain the infused oil in to a fresh clean container.
  • You can also speed up this process by gently heating the oil on the lowest setting of your stove for several hours, but a slow extraction is more ideal.
  • Keep the rosemary oil stored in a dark jar or cabinet until needed.
  • For menstrual cramps, simply massage the rosemary oil in to the lower abdomen and cover with a heated pad.
  • Serves as a great massage oil for chronically cold feet!
  • Use for cooking to add more flavor, or when you need a little pick me up.
  • If you do not have access to fresh rosemary, simply add a few drops of rosemary essential oil per ounce of carrier oil and use topically. Do not ingest essential oils internally, or apply without diluting as they will burn your skin!

How to make rosemary “pick me up” tea:

  • Add one tablespoon of dried rosemary, or three tablespoons fresh rosemary to one cup boiling water.
  • Allow to steep, covered for 15 minutes.
  • Strain, and enjoy plain or with lemon and honey.

How to cook with rosemary

Try my favorite salmon recipe: “Dr. Nicole’s Rosemary Remembrance Salmon” great for anyone with ADHD or poor memory!

I also love to add rosemary to cooked meats, soups, and baked goods. rosemary is delicious with chicken, lamb, and seafood. If you have a bread machine you can easily make some whole grain rosemary bread by adding a few tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary.

Learning how to add “tonic” herbs such as rosemary in to your meals will give you that added stamina as you become that much stronger and healthier. Cooking with herbs full of antioxidants such as rosemary is a simple trick to add to any anti-aging program.

Who doesn’t want to be focused, strong, hardy, and durable?

Household uses for rosemary

Sometimes a simple afternoon pick me up isn’t a big cup of coffee but the luxury of grabbing a big handful of rosemary from my garden, crushing it between my palms and inhaling the essential oils (just don’t huff too hard and get a needle up your nose).

You can also simmer a couple lemons in water on the stove and add a sprig of rosemary to freshen up your house in need of a good spring cleaning. The essential oils of citrus and rosemary are a great uplifting treat for anyone sick, shut in, depressed, or just in need of a little pick me up!

Reference: PMID 1269099: Moss M, Cook J, et al, Essential oils of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition in healthy adults.

What is your favorite thing to do with Rosemary?

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician

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  1. Hi Dr. Nicole,

    I never realized that rosemary was so tolerate to the elements. I’ve been wanting to grow a small herb garden, and after reading this, realize it might be easier than I thought.

    I made a cake with rosemary. The first piece was good (and was something different), but no one else liked it so I sent it to work with a friend. Her coworkers goggled it up, and even asked for the recipe.

  2. I also have recently discovered the wonders of herbs such as rosemary and ginkgo biloba in promoting brain efficiency. There are several herbal remedies out there that are really good in promoting brain health, which more and more people can attest to that. Herbal remedies provide natural solutions that gradually improves overall systemic health without being detrimental.

  3. I LOVED this article. I grow a lot of herbs including rosemary and know quite a bit about them but I learned things about rosemary I did not know. Like the caffeine free pick me up. That is good to know. I don’t drink coffee or tea but sometimes like a bit of a pick me up so I am going to try this. I am very impressed with this site. You have consistently useful information here. That is WONDERFUL! I’ll be baaa-aaack! 🙂

  4. Wow! You remembered all that just by looking at the rosemary bush! Pretty amazing! It must have osmosis properties too! 🙂 J/K I really liked this. I didn’t know it would be good for so much.

    It is a very powerful herb with a pretty big punch. I have an increbible Rosemary Flounder recipe. The only thing I don’t like about rosemary is the texture and how it seems to get stuck in my mouth.

    I can’t decide if I’m brave enought to try it as tea, but I’m like Barbara, I have been wanting to plant an herb garden. Maybe for now, I’ll just plant a rosemary bush around the corner of my house and who knows what all I’ll do with it!

  5. Five years ago I had to throw in the shovel when it came to gardening in the ground. However being the tenacious person that I only sulked for a couple of days and then I picked up a trowel and started a deck garden.

    My deck garden features containers bulging with herbs including rosemary and is companion planted with an abundance of salad veggies and flowers. As aromatherapy and massage are my hobbies I’m delighted to see that rosemary oil recipe up there and I agree that it’s great for foot massage.

    This post inspired me to get up from the keyboard and get a sprig just to roll between my fingers and then inhale deeply …. mmmmm .. love it. 🙂

  6. Hi Barbara- wow rosemary cake sounds interesting! Lavender goes really nice in most baked confections. I am working on an article about my favorite herbal medicines that anyone can grow in their garden so stay tuned! If I can grow it, I believe anyone can! LOL

  7. Hi Robin- glad you are so excited! Do let me know how the rosemary tea works out for you, not everyone enjoys the flavor. I used to be pretty picky but after surviving what I refer to as “Bastyr Fear Factor” I can pretty much swig don’t just about anything if I know it is healthy and good for me. I like to do a blurb on a favorite herb from time to time. I always learn something new too, usually I write off the cuff and then look for my references and such later. It is a fun way to remind myself of all the magic in the plants around us!

  8. Hi Timethief! I have a patio/pot garden too. It is amazing what you can grow in a limited amount of space. Someday I will have my organic ranch, but until then…I am left to be VERY creative. You should take some pictures of what you have growing and blog about it! I think it would be very educational for your readers, and of course interesting to me (selfish selfish I know)

  9. Hi Jennifer- well you can always just pluck a bit of rosemary off and roll it between your fingers for an uplifting treat. I am working on an article about medicinal herb gardening that anyone should be able to grow, so hopefully we can all do it together. I love to garden, but am not that knowledgeable yet, so if I can grow it then just about anyone can. Herbs are pretty much just weeds for the most part 😉

    “The only difference between a weed and a flower is judgment.”

  10. Wow–I cook with Rosemary a lot. A server friend of mine got me hooked after making a coconut-milk rosemary pork chop dish. Since I am fortunate to have access to a huge plant, it’s easy for me to grab.

    This was a fascinating article. As a pregnant mom–I’d like to thank you for adding the warning regarding the essential oil. I highly recommend http://www.aromaticsinternational for the amazing wealth of education information available, including safety information.

    I’m going to try that lemon-and-rosemary-simmering trick.

  11. Hi Maria- Yum rosemary pork chops! Please don’t use rosemary if you are pregnant…at least not in large doses, it doesn’t just pertain to the essential oil. Strongly medicinal and anti-parasitic herbs even culinary ones like rosemary, garlic, onions, etc in large doses can cause a miscarriage. Thanks for sharing your website!

  12. I find rosemary goes best with a lamb dish with a little garlic. It’s a fragile herb that doesn’t take kindly to over cooking.

    Always makes me think of Simon and Garfunkel too and their Scarborough Fair song 🙂

    Linda’s last blog post..Press Release: Free Pre-Registration on 30 Day’s Sugar Free

  13. […] grow like weeds in your back yard! If you don’t spray your yard with pesticides you can use rosemary, dandelion, stinging nettles, garlic…and if you aren’t sure what to do with an herb […]

  14. […] Rosemary for Remembrance : Kitchen Table Medicine […]

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