Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Rosemary





This fact sheet provides basic information about Rosemary. Rosemary grows as a small evergreen shrub with thick aromatic leaves. The plant has small pale-blue flowers that bloom in late winter and early spring. Although rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, it is now cultivated worldwide.

Rosemary is a widely used culinary spice. Tradition holds that rosemary will grow only in gardens of households where the "mistress" is truly the "master." The plant has been used in traditional medicine for its astringent, tonic, carminative, antispasmodic, and diaphoretic properties. Extracts and the volatile oil have been used to promote menstrual flow and as abortifacients. Rosemary extracts are commonly found as cosmetic ingredients and a lotion of the plant is said to stimulate hair growth and prevent baldness.

Historical reports regarding the therapeutic use of rosemary as a medicinal plant are available. Rosemary is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs, having been used centuries ago to enhance mental function and memory.

Common Names

Rosemary, Old Man

Latin Names


What It Is Used For

  • Rosemary has been reported to decrease capillary permeability and fragility. Extracts have been used in insect repellents. The plant may have anticancer properties and has spasmolytic actions, liver and immune effects, and other various actions from asthma treatment to aromatherapy. It has antimicrobial actions against a variety of bacteria, fungi, mold, and viruses.

How It Is Used

Rosemary leaf was approved for dyspepsia, high blood pressure, and rheumatism by the German Commission E at doses of 4 to 6 g/day. The essential oil has been used at doses of 0.1 to 1 mL.

What the Science Says

  • Generally recognized as safe or used as food. Avoid dosages above those found in food because safety and efficacy are unproven. Known to have emmenagogue and abortifacient effects.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Certain molds may grow on rosemary.


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