Rosemary- The Herb of Remembrance
Rosemary is a delightfully fragrant herb that stimulates the palate, the olfactory senses as well as the mind. Its’ pine-like fragrance and pungent flavor adds a savory taste to sauces, dips, dressings, soups, stews. A favorite culinary seasoning used especially during the holiday period rosemary’s wonderful smell is often used while celebrating good food and good times with friends and family. But, because it also offers over 80 important nutrients rosemary can just as easily be associated with good health.
What it’s good for:
Rosemary contains substances that help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow to the brain. Studies show that this increase in circulation stimulated just by smelling rosemary helps to improve mood, memory, concentration, and mental cognition.¹ When you touch the plant it releases volatile organic compounds called terpenes which when inhaled are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. These terpenes are capable of crossing the blood brain barrier where they have a direct effect on the brain by stimulating the synapse receptor sites.
Best growing practices:
Rosemary prefers rich, well-drained, alkaline soil. You can start the plant from seeds indoors planted in organic potting mix ten weeks before the last spring frost. Water daily for the first two weeks then, water every other day for the next four weeks. Continue watering twice a week and fertilize with an organic compost tea twice a month for the life of the plant. Once your plant grows four to six inches high and the soil temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can transplant outdoors into larger pots or sow directly into the garden.
Rosemary is an evergreen and the mature plant will normally survive outdoor wintertime temperatures down to about 20 degrees F. If you live in a region where you anticipate temperatures much colder than that you may want to grow your plants in pots that can be brought inside during the winter months.
¹Moss M., Cook J., Wesnes K., & Duckett P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. International Journal of Neuroscience, 113(1): 15-38.