Health Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary is a popular evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean and used in cooking all over the world. Its leaves can be eaten fresh or dried, and it is popularly consumed as a tea or infused oil.

The medicinal uses of Rosemary have been praised for centuries, but scientific research has only recently corroborated these claims. Initial research affirms rosemary as an important addition to the diet, as it contains a wide variety of nutrients that are essential for health. 

Health Benefits

Rosemary is high in Manganese, an essential nutrient for metabolic health. Manganese also helps the body to form blood clots, allowing injuries to heal faster.

Rosemary has a number of additional health benefits, including: 

Potentially Reduced Risk of Cancer

Rosemary contains carnosic acid, a compound known for its powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have found that carnosic acid can slow the growth of cancer cells in the body and even lower the risk of developing tumors. 

Immune System Support

Studies have shown that the carnosic and rosmarinic acids in rosemary have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Consuming rosemary regularly can potentially help lower the risk of infection and help the immune system fight any infections that do occur.  

Stress Reduction

Although more research is needed, preliminary studies indicate that rosemary has a positive impact on reducing anxiety and stress. In a randomized trial conducted on university students, rosemary was found to improve the students’ sleep quality and lower their anxiety levels when compared with a placebo. 

Improved Memory and Concentration

Rosemary has been used for centuries as a memory aid, and studies in aromatherapy using rosemary have corroborated some of these claims. One study found significant improvements in cognitive performance within 20 minutes of inhaling rosemary essential oil. 

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Nutrition

Rosemary is especially rich in phytochemicals. While phytochemicals aren’t essential for survival like vitamins and minerals are, they are nevertheless important for fighting disease and maintaining overall health. 

The phytochemicals in rosemary may help to improve eye health, regulate liver function, and lower the risk of asthma

Rosemary is also a superb source of: 

Nutrients Per Serving

A single sprig of rosemary contains: 

  • Calories: 3.9 calories
  • Protein: 0.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6 grams 
  • Fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Portion Sizes

While rosemary is a nutritious herb, it is not for everybody. It should be avoided during pregnancy, as it is known for stimulating menstrual flow. 

How to Prepare Rosemary

Dried rosemary leaves are a traditional condiment in Mediterranean cuisine. Rosemary can be purchased at just about any grocery or herbal store, but it’s also a popular plant to grow in the home. The sprigs can be eaten fresh or dried. 

To prepare rosemary, rinse the leaves under cold water to remove any stray dirt or particles. Cut the stems off and use the remaining sprigs as a garnish for savory meat dishes, vegetables, and baked goods.

To make rosemary oil, fill a saucepan with olive oil and add your rosemary sprigs. Cook on low heat for up to 10 minutes until the scent of rosemary rises from the pan. Turn off the heat, allow the oil to cool, and then strain and discard the rosemary sprigs. The resulting oil can be refrigerated for up to six months. 

Here are a few ideas for including more rosemary in your diet: 

  • Sprinkle sprigs of rosemary over chicken, beef, or pork dishes. 
  • Boil fresh rosemary leaves with water to make rosemary tea. 
  • Add rosemary to roasted vegetables while cooking. 
  • Rosemary paired with potatoes is an especially popular combination. 
  • Use fresh or dried rosemary as a pairing with pasta dishes. 
  • Mix rosemary into your butter and spread it over bread. 
  • Add sprigs of rosemary to lemonade for a refreshing take on a classic beverage. 
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 18, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

AllRecipes: “Rosemary Recipes.”

American Pregnancy Association: “Herbs and Pregnancy.”

Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine: “Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis and Platanus orientalis extracts on asthmatic subjects resistant to routine treatments.”

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: “Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on memory performance, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality in university students: A randomized clinical trial.”

Future Science OA: “Rosmarinus officinalis L.: an update review of its phytochemistry and biological activity.”

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: “Manganese.”

Nutrients: “Anticancer Effects of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) Extract and Rosemary Extract Polyphenols.”

The Spruce Eats: “Fresh Herb Infused Rosemary Oil.”

Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology: “Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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