Rosemary: More Than Meets the Taste Buds
Ah, rosemary…that distinctively aromatic, woody herb. Its pungent flavor seems to go a long way in flavoring many a recipe, but along with its touted fragrance and taste comes a propensity to support health.
Modern scientific research has been validating something our grandmothers and great-grandmothers seemed to know instinctively, namely that remedies for a variety of ailments can be found in the garden just as often as on a doctor’s prescription pad. Complementary and integrative medicine are coming around to what gourmands of various traditional ethnic cuisines have long appreciated—there are reasons herbs and spices play such a large role in the cuisines of the world, from ginger and garlic in East Asia, to turmeric, cumin, and cardamom in India, to the marjoram, thyme, oregano, lavender, and rosemary that make up the “herbs de Provence” used in Southern French cooking. These leaves, seeds, pods, and stems do more than flavor our food. They have beneficial effects on our health, especially when combined with healthy diets and lifestyles.
Rosemary, also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, is native to the Mediterranean region and has a long history of use dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The genus Rosmarinus is derived from the Latin words “ros” and “marinus,” which translates to “dew of the sea.” Rosemary is also sometimes called “anthos,” from the ancient Greek word for “flower.” Throughout the histories of many cultures rosemary has been associated with improving memory. It was worn as a garland by Greeks as a way to clear the head during examinations and in the Middle Ages it was worn by brides as a symbol of remembrance, fidelity, happiness and love. Rosemary also appears as a symbol of remembrance at funerals, where a sprig is sometimes placed in the hands of the deceased. It is also frequently mentioned in literature and appears in five of Shakespeare’s plays. In Hamlet, the character Ophelia is quoted as saying: “There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.”
When delving into the history and modern uses of rosemary, it becomes clear that it is more than just a pretty female name, or a way to flavor roasted potatoes. The phytochemicals in rosemary—the compounds responsible for its unique flavor and aroma—also bring with them powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be helpful in supporting various processes in the body.
We’re accustomed to hearing about aloe vera gel for its ability to helps soothe sunburns, but unbeknownst to most people rosemary extracts taken orally have also been shown to protect the skin from UV radiation that can lead to signs of aging. Certain compounds in rosemary act at the cellular level to fight the free radicals implicated in early aging, as well as reduce the activity of enzymes that may interfere with the integrity of healthy skin tissue.
This aromatic herb may also be helpful for supporting healthy insulin function. Adipose tissue—that is, body fat—may be aesthetically unpleasing to Western eyes, but its negative effects on health go beyond what we see in the mirror. Body fat itself is an active part of the endocrine system, and it generates signaling molecules that may negatively affect insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to a vicious cycle of yet more body fat accumulation. Rosemary extracts have been shown to help modulate the inflammatory response in fat tissue, which may support a proper cellular response to glucose and insulin.
With its wonderful antioxidant properties and its impact on our body’s inflammatory response, rosemary extracts may benefit overall health by allowing cells to receive the proper signals for normal repair and maintenance. Like any other plant, rosemary contains a host of individual compounds that have both distinct and overlapping properties. For this reason, supplements containing rosemary extracts can be extremely helpful, and it also doesn’t hurt to get some rosemary the old fashioned way: with your lunch, dinner, or perhaps as a snack, such as these tasty rosemary roasted cashews.
To capitalize on the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of rosemary, as well as various other herbs and protease enzymes, consider InflammArrest from Formulated Nutriceuticals. InflamArrest is a synergistic formula designed to support a healthy inflammatory response. It includes the herbs curcumin, boswellia and rosemary, along with the flavonoids quercetin and rutin. Also contains the powerful plant phenol resveratrol and a proprietary blend of proteolytic enzymes. This comprehensive combination of nutrients works together in support of a proper inflammatory pathway and also provides antioxidant support, which helps protect the body against oxidative stress. This formula may be helpful for those who may have chronic inflammatory conditions, including:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Chronic Low Back and Neck Pain
- Sports Injuries