Rosemary is an aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family, Lameaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region (1). This evergreen plant has greyish green, needle-shaped leaves and produces small, pale blue flowers. Rosemary essential oil is extracted from the flowering tips of the plant through steam distillation. It is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. It is basically a colorless to pale yellow liquid with a piercing, woody, balsamic aroma. This crisp and clean-smelling oil is rich in healthy properties like benefitting phytonutrients, antioxidants and essential acids. It has been used since ancient times as a medicinal and culinary herb by the Greeks and Romans due to its therapeutic properties. It was most commonly used for healing and purification. Rosemary essential oil is most widely used in aromatherapy as it is great for stimulating the brain, improving memory and mental clarity. It has other health benefits as well, which include treatment of congested respiratory tract problems, stiff muscles, and boosting the liver and gall bladder. It is also great for hair and skin care and is used as an ingredient in several products.
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Rosemary Oil Benefits For Health:
Besides its various culinary uses, this refreshing and aromatic oil has great healing, medicinal and psychological effects which makes it beneficial for your health. Here are some benefits of rosemary essential oil on your overall health:
1. Sharpens The Mind:
This oil is a great mental stimulant that boosts focus, concentration, memory and mental awareness. Being an excellent brain and nerve tonic, it is often used by students during exams to improve concentration and memory. It is also a mood enhancer (2) and hence, is a good remedy for tension, anxiety, fatigue, depression and forgetfulness. Inhaling this oil rests your tired brain and can ward off lethargy, while stimulating and improving productivity.
2. Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Disease:
Studies have proved that rosemary essential oil is beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease (3). This is because it helps in enhancing the cognitive function. Thus, this oil is being considered as an alternative treatment for slowing down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease because of this connection between boosted neural activity and the essential oil.
3. Boosts The Immune System:
Rosemary essential oil stimulates the activity of antioxidants which are powerful weapons for fighting infection and disease. The massage and inhalation of rosemary essential oil decreases the cortisol levels. This helps in scavenging the free radical activity in your body. This oil is often used or inhaled in aromatherapy sessions to increase the strength of the immune system (4). It also helps combat diseases caused by free radicals such as cancer and heart disease.
4. Treatment Of Respiratory Problems:
The scent of rosemary oil has proven to be effective in relieving throat congestion and hence, it is used in the treatment of allergies, colds, sore throats and flu. It can treat respiratory infections, thanks to its antiseptic qualities. Being an antispasmodic, it is used in the treatment of bronchial asthma (5).
5. Relieves Pain:
The healing quality of rosemary oil is useful in treating headaches, muscle pains, rheumatism and arthritis. Massaging the affected area with this oil can relieve pain from sprains and joint aches due to its anti-inflammatory properties (6). It also helps in stimulating blood circulation, thus relieving pain and aiding in the coagulation of wounds for faster healing. When used as massage oil or diluted in the bath, it can relieve aches, cramps, pains and spasms, stiff neck, rheumatism and arthritis. Its strong diuretic properties help in removing acids and wastes like uric acids which increase inflammation, thus passing out the pain through urine.
6. Dental Health:
Rosemary oil has astringent and antibacterial properties. This makes it effective for the treatment of dental conditions like bad breath, plaque build-up, cavities and gingivitis (7). Being a disinfectant, it is often used as a mouthwash for keeping your gums and teeth healthy.
7. Other Benefits:
Rosemary essential oil improves the overall health by treating indigestion, flatulence and menstrual disorders. It also improves circulation and keeps your liver healthy. However, it should not be consumed orally as it can cause severe vomiting and nausea. It should be diluted or used for massage and in baths.
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Benefits of Rosemary Oil For Skin:
The astringent properties of rosemary essential oil make it beneficial for skin care. It contains a wide array of nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants. Thus, this oil is effective for all skin types and is used as an ingredient in skin care cleansers, soaps, face masks, toners and creams.
8. Rejuvenates Skin:
Massaging your skin with rosemary essential oil rehydrates and tones your skin (8). It removes wrinkles and bags on the skin, thus keeping it taut and healthy. Its cell regeneration properties are effective in treating visible skin conditions and replacing the damaged tissue, thus reducing the appearance of scars and spots.
9. Treatment Of Acne:
Rosemary oil has powerful disinfectant and antiseptic properties. These help in treating acne and oily skin conditions (9). Massaging your face with this oil improves skin complexion by lightening dark spots and blemishes on the skin.
10. Anti-Ageing Property:
Being rich in powerful antioxidants, rosemary oil slows down the effect of ageing on the skin (10). It helps in tightening sagging and loose skin, thus making it firmer and more elastic. Moreover, it stimulates biological activity and cell growth to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
11. Prevents Skin Infection:
The medicinal qualities of rosemary essential oil make it beneficial for treating chronic skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Its anti-inflammatory properties (11) are useful in reducing the swelling and puffiness of the skin as well as healing burns.
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Hair Benefits Of Rosemary Oil:
In addition to its health and skin benefits, rosemary essential oil is also known to promote hair growth and thickness. It can be used with carrier oils like coconut, olive or almond oils for maximum benefits. The benefits of rosemary oil for hair include the following:
12. Stimulates The Hair Follicles:
Rosemary oil stimulates the hair follicles, thus enabling your hair to grow stronger and longer. By stimulating cell division and dilating the blood vessels, this oil stimulates the hair follicles into producing new hair growth (12).
[ Read: Rosemary Oil for Hair ]
13. Darkens Hair:
Besides being a stimulant for the roots and the scalp, this oil is known for its hair darkening properties and hence, is a better option than dyeing your hair with chemicals. If you have hints of grey in your hair, you can massage it with rosemary essential oil. This will gently and softly darken your hair without the side effects of harsh chemicals (13).
14. Treatment Of Dandruff:
Rosemary oil is beneficial for a dry and flaky scalp and may prevent premature baldness. Regular massage with this oil nourishes your scalp and helps remove dandruff (14). It can be mixed with tea tree oil and basil oil to be more effective.
15. Great Conditioner:
[ Read: How To Use Rosemary For Healthy Hair ]
Nutritional Value Of Rosemary Oil:
Rosemary essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from fresh flowering tops which yield 1 to 2 % oil. This oil contains a wide array of nutrients and antioxidants. Its main chemical components are α-pinene, borneol, β-pinene, camphor, bornyl acetate, camphene, 1, 8-cineole and limonene. Its nutritional value is explained in the table given below.
|Rosemary herb (Rosmarinus officinalis), Fresh leaves, Nutritive value per 100 g.|
|(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)|
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||5.86 g||20%|
|Dietary Fiber||14.10 g||37%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.804 mg||16%|
|Vitamin A||2924 IU||97%|
|Vitamin C||21.8 mg||36%|
Thus, rosemary essential oil offers several benefits but should be used cautiously. This oil should not be used in cases of epilepsy, hypertension or pregnancy. If in doubt, it is advisable to consult your physician.
[ Read: Benefits Of Rosemary Oil For Hair ]
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