“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.”
Hamlet. William Shakespeare.
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Rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary is an evergreen perennial shrub native to the Mediterranean region, Portugal and Spain. It has silvery, needle-like foliage and delicate blue pink and white flowers. (The colour of the flowers is dependant on the variety.) The botanical name Rosmarinus is said to be derived from the old Latin word for 'dew of the sea', a reference to its pale blue dew-like flowers and the fact that it is often grown near the sea.
Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance, loyalty and friendship. It is associated both with weddings and funerals. Since the herb was said to be a gift from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, brides in Greece wore the herb in wreaths as an indication of their fidelity.
There is a delightfully romantic legend relating to the restorative and healing properties of rosemary. In the 14th century, when 72-year-old Queen Elizabeth of Hungary used rosemary as a medicine for her rheumatism and gout, the potion made of rosemary and lavender that she used, made her so beautiful and healthy that the 26-year-old King of Poland fell in love with her and requested her hand in marriage. The potion came to be known as Budapest or Hungary water and was used as a beauty aide by women for hundreds of years.
Rosemary has been used in pest control and has always been considered to have curative properties. Its benefits are said to effects many health problems, ranging from gout to plague.
Its association with remembrance is such that Greek scholars wore garlands of rosemary during examinations, in order to improve their memory and concentration. Shakespeare also wrote that it improved memory.
In Christianity rosemary is called the “Holy Herb”. It is so named because according to Spanish legend, during the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, Mary draped her cloak over a rosemary bush and turned the colour of the blossoms from white to blue. Another Christian tradition says that rosemary grows for thirty-three years, until it reaches the height of Christ when he was crucified. Then it will die.
Sprigs of rosemary were traditionally placed under pillows at night to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams. The wood was used to make lutes and other musical instruments.
In traditional European medicine, rosemary was used internally as a tonic, stimulant, and as a carminative to treat flatulence. It also treated dyspepsia, mild gastrointestinal upsets, colds, headaches, and nervous tension. In India and China, rosemary leaves were said to cure headaches.
Early in American history, rosemary found use as an antispasmodic, appetite stimulant, and digestion aid. http://health.learninginfo.org/herbs/rosemary.htm
Rosemary has, for lack of a better description, an “assertive flavour”. Reminiscent of pine and camphor scents, rosemary is woodsy and has a slightly ginger-ish finish.
Unlike other delicate herbs that need to be added at the end of the cooking process, rosemary stands up well to being cooked along with the food, especially lamb.
Excellent with roasted meats, especially lamb & pork, the herb also adds fine flavour to poultry, fish, beef, veal and game. Rosemary lends itself well to stuffed vegetables, tomatoes, spinach, peas, mushrooms, squash, cheese, eggs, lentils, and complements the herbs chives, thyme, chervil, parsley, and bay in recipes. The gentle unctuousness of eggplant and potato soups gets strength from the flavour of rosemary. It is excellent also in marinades, salad dressings, (if using in a dressing be sure to mince finely if fresh, or crumble if dried. It is otherwise irritating to get it in your teeth) and cream sauces. Rosemary is an important part of the traditional bouquet garni. Sprigs of the fresh herb also make very attractive garnishes.
Rosemary is a good source of the minerals iron and calcium, as well as dietary fibre. Fresh has 25% more manganese (which is somehow lost in the process of drying) and a 40% less calcium and iron, probably due to the higher water content.
Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=75
Rosemary teaThis can be used as an aid to digestion and taken at bedtime as a soothing drink to calm the nerves and induce sleep.
Though this has not been conclusively proved, 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.
Side Effects of Rosemary
Large quantities of rosemary can cause stomach and intestinal irritation, kidney damage, erythema, allergic contact dermatitis (toiletries containing rosemary can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals) and abortion. The extract of the herb also effects the menstrual cycle. Rosemary contains monoterpene ketones, which are convulsants, and in large doses have caused seizures.
A case of occupational asthma caused by rosemary has been reported.
Hair conditioner This recipe has an excellent conditioning effect on the hair, helping to control dandruff and even, it is alleged, curing baldness. Take a bunch of fresh rosemary and crush or chop the leaves; add 300 ml (1/2 pint) boiling water and allow to stand for an hour, then drain. Use it as a final rinse after washing and towel - drying the hair.
New packaging uses rosemary to keep meat fresh
"...scientists report that their study shows that an extract of rosemary added to packaging keeps meat pink for weeks. The use of carbon monoxide (CO) to keep packaged meat looking fresh is used in the US and in other countries but is banned in the EU due to food safety concerns."
This story is provided by: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
To read the complete story go to: http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2006/09/28/new-packaging-uses-rosemary-to-keep-meat-fresh/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.foodnavigator.com%2Fnews%2Fng.asp%3Fn%3D70796%26m%3D1FNE925%26c%3Dbnihmezwhicaqig&frame=true
How to Grow Rosemary Shrubs
Rosemary is very easy to grow. It is advisable to grow plants grown from cuttings, since rosemary is difficult to grow from seed.
Rosemary likes the sun and a lime-rich soil but will do well in almost any other soil. In cold climates it is advisable to grow rosemary in containers so that the plants can be transferred to a cool, sunny room in the winter. In a warm climate, rosemary should not be left near a hot window. Rosemary hates wet feet, so watering should not be overdone. It does however, need some watering. Rosemary tolerates dry soil conditions and drought. It usually does not require fertilizer.
Rosemary is drought tolerant and suitable for xeriscaping. Rosemary is also known to attract bees, butterflies and birds. It has fragrant flowers and is suitable for growing in containers, the outdoors and for hydroponics alike.
The Book of Ingredients: Philip Dowell and Adrian Bailey; Penguin/ Mermaid Books 1993
The Complete Book of Herbs; A practical guide to growing and using herbs: Lesley Bremness: Dorling Kindersley 1988
Note: Therapeutic uses of Rosemary, side effects and toxicology from http://www.family-health-information.com/herbal-medicines/rosemary.html
--Radhikab70 03:00, 3 August 2007 (EDT)