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Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Cam

Search Health Information    Rosemary

Rosemary

Uses

Botanical names:
Rosmarinus officinalis

Parts Used & Where Grown

Rosemary is a small, fragrant evergreen shrub. The rosemary plant originated in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. However, it now grows in North America as well. The leaf is used in herbal medicine.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Atherosclerosis
Refer to label instructions
Rosemary is traditionally reputed to have a positive effect on atherosclerosis.

Butcher’s broom and rosemary are not well studied as being circulatory stimulants but are traditionally reputed to have such an action that might impact atherosclerosis. While butcher’s broom is useful for various diseases of veins, it also exerts effects that are protective for arteries.4

1 Star
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
Refer to label instructions
Rosemary is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.

Carminatives (also called aromatic digestive tonics or aromatic bitters) may be used to relieve symptoms of indigestion, particularly when there is excessive gas. It is believed that carminative agents work, at least in part, by relieving spasms in the intestinal tract.5

There are numerous carminative herbs, including European angelica root (Angelica archangelica), anise , Basil , cardamom, cinnamon , cloves, coriander, dill, ginger , oregano , rosemary , sage , lavender , and thyme .6 Many of these are common kitchen herbs and thus are readily available for making tea to calm an upset stomach. Rosemary is sometimes used to treat indigestion in the elderly by European herbal practitioners.7 The German Commission E monograph suggests a daily intake of 4–6 grams of sage leaf.8 Pennyroyal is no longer recommended for use in people with indigestion, however, due to potential side effects.

1 Star
Infection
Refer to label instructions
Rosemary is an herb that directly attack microbes.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Throughout history, rosemary was used to preserve meats.1 It has long played a role in European herbalism and popular folklore. Sprigs of rosemary were considered a love charm, a sign of remembrance, and a way to ward off the plague. Rosemary was used by herbalists as a tonic for the elderly and to help with indigestion .2 In ancient China, rosemary was used for headaches and topically for baldness.3

How It Works

Botanical names:
Rosmarinus officinalis

How It Works

A number of constituents have shown activity in the test tube. The volatile oil, including eucalyptol (cineole), is considered to have potent antibacterial effects9 and to relax smooth muscles in the lungs.10 Rosmarinic acid has antioxidant activity11 and another ingredient of rosemary, known as carnosol, inhibits cancer formation in animal studies.12 No human studies have confirmed rosemary’s use for these conditions.

How to Use It

The German Commission E monograph suggests 3/4 to 1-1/4 tsp (4 to 6 grams) of rosemary leaf per day.13 A tea can be prepared by adding 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of herb to 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water and allowing it to steep in a covered container for 10 to 15 minutes. This tea can be taken several times per day. Rosemary tincture, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 ml) three times per day, may also be used. The concentrated volatile oil should not be taken internally.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Rosmarinus officinalis

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Rosmarinus officinalis

Side Effects

There is no evidence to indicate that intermittent intake of moderate amounts of rosemary poses any threat during breast-feeding. However, internal intake of the herb and oil should be avoided during pregnancy because the oil may act as an abortifacient (an agent that may induce an abortion).14

An extract of rosemary taken with a meal by healthy women inhibited the absorption of non-heme iron (e.g., the form of iron in plant foods) by 15%.15 Frequent use of rosemary could, in theory, promote the development of iron deficiency in susceptible individuals.

References

1. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. New York: Bantam Books, 1991, 452–6.

2. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 185–6.

3. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 446–8.

4. Felix W, Schmidt Y, Nieberle J. Protective effect of Ruscus extract against injury of vascular endothelium and vascular smooth muscle caused by ethracrynic acid. Int Angiol 1983;3:77.

5. Forster HB, Niklas H, Lutz S. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Planta Med 1980;40:303–19.

6. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425–6.

7. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 185–6.

8. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 198.

9. Huhtanen C. Inhibition of Clostridium botulinum by spice extract and aliphatic alcohols. J Food Protect 1980;43:195–6.

10. Aqel MB. Relaxant effect of the volatile oil of Rosmarinus officinalis on tracheal smooth muscle. J Ethnopharmacol 1991;33:57–62.

11. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 446–8.

12. Singletary K, MacDonald C, Wallig M. Inhibition by rosemary and carnosol of 7,12-dimethyl-benz [a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced rat mammary tumorigenesis and in vivo DMBA-DNA adduct formation. Cancer Lett 1996;104:43–8.

13. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al., eds. The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 197.

14. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 229–30.

15. Samman S, Sandstrom B, Toft MB, et al. Green tea or rosemary extract added to foods reduces nonheme-iron absorption. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:607–12.

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