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romatherapy Materia Medica

(Rosmarinus officinalis)

© Kathi Keville, Mindy Green
 (Excerpted from Aromatherapy)

Rosmarinus means "dew of the sea," where this Mediterranean herb loves to grow. Rosemary delights the late winter with prolific blooms. Rosemary was the main ingredient in "Hungary Water" and the first cologne. The old French name incensier came from rosemary's celebrated history as church incense. Until the 20th century, the fragrant leaves were burned to purify French hospitals. Commoners burned rosemary instead of frankincense; it symbolized both love and death at funerals.

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Extraction: Distilled from flowering tops or leaves. The powerful fragrance is herby, sharp and camphorous.
Medicinal Action: Rosemary is one of the best stimulants. It also improves poor circulation, lowers cholesterol, eases muscle and rheumatism pains, and treats lung congestion, sore throat and canker sores. It stimulates the nervous system, motor nerves, adrenals and a sluggish gallbladder. It is often used in penetrating liniments.
Cosmetic/Skin Use: An age-old remedy for dandruff and hair loss, the branches were even used as hair brushes. Rosemary helps sluggish, underactive skin, and is used on dry, mature and couperose skin types. It also helps in the treatment of cellulite and skin parasites.
Emotional Attribute: Rosemary improves memory, confidence, perception and creativity, and helps balance mind and body. It prevents dizziness, dark thoughts and nightmares (and helps you remember the good dreams). The smoke was inhaled for brain weakness. (As Shakespeare said, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance . . . ")
Considerations: Rosemary can overstimulate, and may increase blood pressure.

Associated Oils:
Rosemarinus officinalis has several chemotypes:

Borneol type -Helps overcome fatigue and infections, and is a heart tonic.
Camphor type -A vein decongestant, mucolytic, cardiac tonic and diuretic.
Cineol type -For lung congestion, cystitis and chronic fatigue.
Verbenone type --Mucolytic, sinus infections, antispasmodic, and helps balance the endocrine and
nervous systems. For oily or regenerative skin care, but contains some potentially hazardous ketones.
Rosmarinus Pyramidalis (R. pyramidalis) --This has respiratory applications, but is specific for ear and sinus problems.

About The Author
Kathi Keville has studied herbs since 1969. Her attraction to fragrant plants led to an involvement in aromatherapy. Her other books include Herbs for Health and Healing;......more
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