Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, but it now commonly found in home gardens, as it is quite easy to grow. The characteristic flavor of this robust, woodsy herb adds depth and interest to soups, sauces, stews, roasts and the like! Although just a small sprinkle of this herb will have a large effect on our taste buds, but a relatively small impact on our health, regular use of rosemary will allow you to derive the benefits of its wonderful compounds.
Can Rosemary Improve Memory?
One of the earliest documented uses for this herb was using it as mental stimulant to increase focus. It's powerful oils and fragrance are said to stimulate cognitive activity. The herb itself also boosts the production of blood flow which aids in oxygenating vital organs, including the brain. While more research has to be done on this effect, perhaps it could assist those suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer's?
Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid as well as a number of other essential oils such as camphene and cineol. These substances have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. That's some intensive bad-guy-fighting capability right there! These abilities can assist with oral hygiene, skin conditions, gastrointestinal health, various bacterial infections and immune functioning.
In terms of anti-inflammatory abilities, the compounds of carnosol and carnosic acid are two additional components of rosemary that can help ease muscles, joints and inflammation of the cardiovascular system in general.
Bugs Be Gone!
The oils in rosemary are well known to repel mosquitoes. You can make a simple bug spray at home by boiling about a cup of rosemary in water, then strain, let it cool and pour it into a spray bottle. Voilà! Great for children and pets when playing in the backyard. Think about it for a moment, when given the choice to spray DEET or rosemary water on your skin, which would you choose?
Cooking with Rosemary
Rosemary is commonly used in the dried form but can also be found in fresh sprigs or bundles. The leaves have a tough texture, similar to pine needles. It can be chopped or crushed and added to many diverse dishes. Whole rosemary sprigs can be added directly to soups and stews and later removed before serving.
Dried rosemary retains much of the flavor as well as the scent and can be stored for up to a year in a properly sealed container. Fresh bunches of rosemary should be used within two weeks and can be stored in a cool place wrapped lightly in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag. If one grows their own rosemary then the excess can be dried easily by making bundles of the sprigs and hanging in a dry space.
- Rosemary can be steeped in boiling water to create a pine-like flavored tea that is useful for soothing a sore stomach.
- Try using the abundantly flavorful rosemary as a seasoning instead of salt!
- It can be added into cheese, homemade crackers, olive oil, or kneaded into meatballs for extra flavor.
- Use rosemary to garnish a variety of meats including turkey, prime rib, pork chops and chicken.
When you realize that an everyday herb, which you've been purely using for flavor, actually has an array of health benefits, you're really taking things to the next level! So be sure to make regular use of the hearty and nutritious herb, rosemary.