Rosemary is a robust and most versatile herb with a flavour that complements a wide variety of dishes and ingredients.

Rosemary is a robust and most versatile herb with a flavour that complements a wide variety of dishes and ingredients.

Rosemary and Basil used to be married but decided to take a break when Basil realized she never gave him one thing, thyme. This joke came about as persons compared the rosemary to other popular herbs. Rosemary is a woody herb with an evergreen and pine-like fragrance comes from a plant with pink, blue and purple flowers and is native to the Mediterranean region. It is now popularly used as a spice for cooking and also as a fragrance in soap and other cosmetics.

Rosemary however has traditional uses that did not include cooking. The medicinal use would vary according to the country you belong to. The Africans’ use of rosemary was common for gastrointestinal disorders in Morocco. In Morocco, rosemary is also traditionally used to treat diabetes and hypertension. Rosemary oil is prepared by distillation in Tunisia, and also exported to Europe. Additional uses include: muscle and joint pain treatment with external application of a rosemary-containing remedy, treatment of bloating and flatulence with an herbal infusion, and for the respiratory system.

In Ayurveda, rosemary-containing aromatherapy oil is used for its purported ability to enhance concentration and memory. Other rosemary preparations are used to treat halitosis, migraine headaches, nervous disorders, bites, stings, wounds and upset stomach. Rosemary is also used for food poisoning prevention and to maintain the reproductive system.

The Chinese used rosemary for headache treatment and applied topically to treat baldness while Europeans used it mainly for joint pain and poor circulation. The Europeans however were the ones who mainly used this herb as a flavouring agent.

The Medical Centre at the University of Maryland has acknowledged all of these traditional uses but asserts that not all of them can be supported by science. Research has shown, however, that extended use of rosemary can in fact prevent thrombosis – blood clots developing in the blood vessel and therefore causing poor circulation.

Researchers at the Kyoto University in Japan have discovered that rosemary, which is a rich source of antioxidants, can help prevent brain aging and can lessen the symptoms of breast and leukemia cancers in the body. They also add that by using rosemary as a spice when preparing ground beef, we can prevent the formation of cancer-causing agents.

It is unbelievable that a garnish can have such powerful effects on the body. Although traditionally the world may not agree on what the rosemary herb is good for; regardless of race, colour or creed they are all saying one thing – the herb is good for the body. Science says it, tradition supports it, now all we need to do is eat it.