Rosemary has been used for centuries for a variety of health and beauty benefits. Native to the sea cliffs of the Mediterranean, Rosemary essential oil gets its name from the Latin term meaning ‘Dew of the Sea.’
This essential oil is known for its stimulating, soothing and pain-relieving properties. Rosemary essential oil contains limonene, Linalool, camphor, camphene, 1,8 cineol, and a-pinene.
These ingredients help reduce stress levels, ease fatigue, stimulate hair growth, and strengthen the immune system.
What is rosemary essential oil?
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a small perennial plant that belongs to the mint family. It has fragrant, needle-like leaves, with pink, purple, blue or white flowers.
The name rosemary is derived from the Latin word Rosmarinus, where Ros means dew and Marinus means sea, hence dew of the sea.
Rosemary essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and the flowering tops of this plant. It distinctive woody and refreshing aroma make rosemary essential oil a favorite ingredient in personal care products.
History of rosemary essential oil
Rosemary essential oil was considered sacred by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Hebrews. The Greeks and Romans used rosemary garlands during weddings and religious ceremonies.
The Egyptians used rosemary extracts for incense. During the Middle Ages, rosemary was used to prevent bubonic plague and to ward off evil spirits.
Rosemary was also considered a symbol of remembrance and was tossed into the graves of loved ones as a promise that they would not be forgotten.
Rosemary was also used in cosmetics for its antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Rosemary oil benefits
Rosemary oil is rich in vitamin A, C, B6, folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and calcium. These nutrients provide rosemary oil its healing and beneficial properties.
These are some of the benefits of rosemary essential oil –
1. Prevents hair loss
Rosemary essential oil stimulates hair follicles and makes hair grow longer. It is also known to slow down hair loss and greying of hair.
Rosemary oil is also helpful in treating androgenetic alopecia. During a randomized controlled trial, 50 patients with androgenetic alopecia used either rosemary oil or minoxidil for six months.
After six months both groups found a similar increase in their hair count and with lesser itching in the group that used rosemary oil (1).
This study shows that rosemary oil is as effective in treating hair loss as conventional treatments, with lesser side effects like itching.
Regular hair massage with rosemary oil is also useful in treating dry and flaky scalp. It also helps prevent premature greying of hair.
2. Improves cognitive function
Rosemary essential oil is an excellent brain tonic. It improves concentration and is an excellent remedy for forgetfulness, mental fatigue, and depression.
According to a study published in 2012, when 20 volunteer performed tasks related to concentration in a room diffused with rosemary, their performance improved due to better concentration (2).
During another study, scientists tested 144 volunteers for the impact of lavender and rosemary oil on their cognitive performance.
The results showed that rosemary produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors. Rosemary oil also made people more alert and provided a feeling on contentment (3).
Several studies have shown that you can use rosemary essential oil for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
During one such study aromatherapy was performed for 28 days on 28 older adults with dementia, of which 17 has Alzheimer’s disease. At the end of this study, all patients showed a significant improvement in personal orientation related to cognitive function (4).
3. Relieves stress
Aromatherapy with rosemary essential oil helps to relax and distress. It has also been proven to decrease salivary cortisol levels.
Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone, which is released during the flight or fight response of the body. Excess cortisol in the body can lead to hormonal imbalance and can also affect the metabolism.
According to a study by the Department of Oral Physiology, Meikai University, inhaling lavender and rosemary oil for five minutes can reduce the levels of cortisol significantly, which would protect the body from oxidative stress (5).
4. Relieves pain
According to a 2015 study, rosemary oil has analgesic properties and is a useful adjunct treatment for pain medication (6).
Massaging the affected area with rosemary oil can help get relief from joint pain. Vapor baths with rosemary oil are also helpful in treating rheumatism.
Rosemary oil also helps in stimulating blood circulation, which leads to faster healing of wounds.
5. Helps fight cancer
Recent studies have shown that rosemary oil has strong anti-tumor properties. Rosemary contains a compound known as carnosol, which is a promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent.
Carnosol has been evaluated for its anti-cancer properties in prostate, skin, breast, leukemia and colon cancer with promising results.
Studies have also shown that when you administer carnosol to animals, it has selective toxicity towards cancer cells as compared to non-tumorigenic cells (7).
A more recent study showed that rosemary extract has potent and effective anti-cancerous properties for various cancers like colon, pancreatic, breast, prostate, ovarian, cervical, liver, lung and bladder cancer (8).
6. Boosts liver function
Rosemary essential oil is an excellent liver cleanser and booster. It has choleretic and hepatoprotective properties. This essential oil regulates bile flow which helps neutralize the acidic food from the stomach.
It also cleans out the dangerous toxins that accumulate in the body and helps to flush them out of the liver.
According to a 2014 study, when researchers gave rosemary leaf extracts to rats with chemically induced liver cirrhosis, it provided liver-protective benefits. Rosemary extract was able to prevent tissue damage caused by cirrhosis (9).
7. Boosts immunity
Rosemary essential oil encourages the cleansing of the excretory ducts and organs which drains the hepatobiliary system. This process helps in strengthening the immune system.
According to a study, simultaneous massage and inhalation of rosemary essential oil
lead to a significant increase in free radical scavenging activity (10). So the regular use of rosemary essential oil can strengthen the immune system and help fight ailments associated with free radical like cancer and heart diseases.
8. Prevents dental problems
9. Improves digestion
Digestive benefits are one of the most well-known qualities of rosemary essential oil. It is traditionally used as a cure for an upset stomach for centuries.
Rosemary oil can cure indigestion, constipation, bloating, cramping and flatulence. Inhaling this essential oil also helps prevent nausea and vomiting. It stimulates the blood flow and improves circulation, which aids the body to absorb food better.
10. Skin care
Rosemary essential oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial qualities which make it a practical solution for eczema, dermatitis, acne and oily skin.
Topical application with rosemary oil boosts circulation of the skin, which helps in improving skin tone and complexion.
The natural astringent found in rosemary oil helps clear acne. It also reduces age spots and wrinkles.
Uses of rosemary essential oil
There are many different uses of rosemary essential oil. Its many forms include sprays, gels, lotions, and shampoos.
You can mix three or four drops of rosemary oil in coconut oil and rub it on the back of your neck. You can diffuse it in the room for 30 minutes. This practice promotes relaxation, boosts alertness and brain function. It also improves memory.
Dilute rosemary oil with coconut oil and massage it on to the lymph nodes. The massage will stimulate the body the rapidly eliminate waste and soothe the digestive system.
Blend rosemary oil with peppermint oil and dilute it with coconut oil and rub it on your aching muscles and joints. Massaging it on the aching muscles and joints can help relieve aches and pains.
You can use rosemary oil in different ways to make your hair thicker. You can massage a few drops of rosemary oil directly on the scalp or dilute it with coconut or jojoba oil before using it. Mixing it into your shampoo also helps.
The anti-microbial, antiviral and antiseptic properties of rosemary oil make it the perfect cleaning spray. Dilute it with some white vinegar and pair it a spray bottle. Use it to clean surfaces.
Precautions and side effects
Do not use rosemary oil directly on the skin as it may cause skin sensitivity. Always dilute rosemary essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil.
Do not use rosemary essential oil topically or diffuse it around children less than six. Keep it away from pets.
Taking rosemary in medicinal amounts is considered unsafe for pregnant women. It can stimulate menstruation and lead to miscarriage.
Rosemary contains a compound that is very similar to aspirin. It might cause a reaction in people who are allergic to aspirin.
People with seizure disorders should not use rosemary as it can make the symptoms worse.
Rosemary is a small plant that belongs to the mint family. Rosemary essential oil is extracted from the leaves and the flowering tops of this plant.
This oil is best known for its stimulating, soothing and pain-relieving properties. It can be used topically, used in massage, diffused and is added to soaps, face washes, and shampoos.