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What are the Health Benefits of Rosemary?

What are the Health Benefits of Rosemary?

What It Is

One of the telltale markers of the holiday season in New York City is the presence of tiny rosemary trees in red foil-wrapped pots that beckon you from every bodega storefront. No joke. These things are cuter than tiny pumpkins. They look like tiny Christmas trees, and they smell like wintertime. Rosemary, which signifies friendship and remembrance, can be enjoyed as ornamentation alone, but the leaves are also used — both fresh and dry — in cooking and for medicinal purposes. It’s probably pretty geeky to get sentimental over nutrition and agriculture, but damn, these little pots of pine make me happy.

The Dirty Deets

You can find dried rosemary in your regular spice aisle at the market, and fresh sprigs are often kept by the herbs. The stems are woody and inedible, so don’t forget to remove them before serving and eating. A tablespoon of rosemary packs in only two tiny calories, but there are amazing nutritional and medicinal benefits to adding this lovely herb to your diet.

  • Rosemary can be used as an anti-inflammatory, and it’s specifically shown to lessen the severity of asthma attacks. It also contains substances linked to improved immunity, circulation and digestion. It looks good, smells good, tastes good and is good for you.
  • Rosemary is also thought to play a role in improving memory and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. (We could all use a little of that, right?) While we don’t have conclusive evidence to date, there’s no harm in trying to use rosemary more in your kitchen.
  • We know plants are full of antioxidants, and this one has us specifically looking at caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid as a cancer-fighter. Still, be wary of rosemary extract, because there is little research or science to support it, so stick to the real deal.
  • There is also some who claim rosemary can be used as a beauty tool in the management of alopecia (hair loss), wrinkle prevention, treatment of cellulite and acne treatment. It certainly won’t hurt you, so you have nothing to lose — give rosemary a go!

How To Chow Down

All of your favorite lean proteins do well with rosemary. Chicken, pork, beef, fish and beans are easy to enhance by adding rosemary to a marinade, roast or slow-cooker recipe. Store the sprigs in an airtight container or baggie in the refrigerator and you’ll have them for weeks to enjoy. Replace your dried version often, however, as it loses its luster quickly.

  • If you make rosemary beef stew, invite me over. If I can’t make it, I won’t miss your rosemary broiled salmon. If (heaven forbid) I miss either of those feasts, I will surely show up for your Brussels sprouts and mushrooms with rosemary, which I dream about regularly. And FYI, I’m never too busy or proud to eat leftovers!
  • Rosemary water is great for drinking and wearing. Lime rosemary water should be a staple on every holiday table — it is both beautiful and quenching. If you want to try rosemary as a beauty agent, you can make a quick rosemary water hair rinse to perfume you through the holidays with squeaky-clean locks.
  • While mixology is all the rage, ask your hipster bartender if he knows how to make a Libertine. This fruity and earthy cocktail is perfect for New Year’s and (of course) features our herb of the day.

In The Know

Sometimes it feels intimidating to toss something in your shopping cart that you haven’t tried before. Go big or go home — put a tree in your basket and look at it, smell it, enjoy it and, yes, eat it! If you’re not a chef, snip a few fresh leaves into your salad or toss it with a little sea salt onto your late-night popcorn. Truth be told, a little bit of those baby Christmas tree leaves sprinkled in your Sunday morning scrambled eggs is delicious andfestive. Enjoy!

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.