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Rosemary for Remembrance: The Easiest Herb you can Grow in your Garden to Improve Memory

Posted May 29 2008 1:03pm

rosemaryforremembrance.jpgIn honor of Memorial Day, I decided we should talk about memory related alternative health topics this week.

Rosemary is a great herb for memory.

Rosemary is often added to recipes dedicated to those that did not survive breast cancer for ?remembrance?.

William Shakespeare even wrote in the play Hamlet, “There is rosemary, and that is for remembrance”.

Not too long ago we had some random spring snow here in Seattle, and whenever the sun is not shining (almost all the time) I am drawn to the garden for some sort of UV-free inspiration.

Well everything in my garden was pretty much dead and critically untended to at the time (who am I kidding it still is). The only thing that wasn?t dead were my pots of rosemary growing wildly huge and out of control. Now I love dandelions and just about any other plant that has some hardiness about it. Any flower can be a persnickety rose highly tended to in a pristine flower bed, so I save the most of my admiration for those plants that can grow through cracks in cement and still come out beautiful.

As I stopped to really admire the flourishing lush flowering perseverance of the rosemary covered in snow, I recalled all the reasons it is such a special plant:

  • Memory and mental functioning
  • A gentle, caffeine free invigorating alternative to coffee and black tea.
  • Menopause (rosemary is technically a warming herb though so may cause hot flashes in some, but still worth trying)
  • Antioxidant
  • Cardiovascular system, great for those with poor circulation
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Headaches, gas, fevers, sluggish gallbladder, acid stomach.
  • Anti-fungal, a great herb for candida and yeast infections
  • Anti-microbial
  • Please note: As with most herbs, do NOT use rosemary during pregnancy! Only use herbs advised by your doctor.

Because rosemary is such a hardy plant you can afford to plant a ton of it as future shrubbery and pretty much abandon it to nearly any weather extreme and watch it flourish. Why have senseless shrubbery around your house when you can grow simple medicines?

You can then make an indulgent rosemary oil to massage in to your temples to improve your memory and concentration at the office.

How to make rosemary oil:

  • Pack a clean dry glass jar with rosemary (washed and allowed to dry off so that residual water on the rosemary doesn?t cause the oil to spoil).
  • Cover it with olive oil, or your carrier oil of choice (sesame and almond also work great).
  • Let the oil sit in a sunny window for about a month. Shake gently every so often. Be sure the plant parts are always submerged in oil.
  • Strain the infused oil in to a fresh clean container.
  • You can also speed up this process by gently heating the oil on the lowest setting of your stove for several hours, but a slow extraction is more ideal.
  • Keep the rosemary oil stored in a dark jar or cabinet until needed.
  • For menstrual cramps, simply massage the rosemary oil in to the lower abdomen and cover with a heated pad.
  • Serves as a great massage oil for chronically cold feet!
  • Use for cooking to add more flavor, or when you need a little pick me up.
  • If you do not have access to fresh rosemary, simply add a few drops of rosemary essential oil per ounce of carrier oil and use topically. Do not ingest essential oils internally, or apply without diluting as they will burn your skin!

How to make rosemary “pick me up” tea:

  • Add one tablespoon of dried rosemary, or three tablespoons fresh rosemary to one cup boiling water.
  • Allow to steep, covered for 15 minutes.
  • Strain, and enjoy plain or with lemon and honey.

How to cook with rosemary

Try my favorite salmon recipe: “Dr. Nicole’s Rosemary Remembrance Salmon” great for anyone with ADHD or poor memory!

I also love to add rosemary to cooked meats, soups, and baked goods. rosemary is delicious with chicken, lamb, and seafood. If you have a bread machine you can easily make some whole grain rosemary bread by adding a few tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary.

Learning how to add ?tonic? herbs such as rosemary in to your meals will give you that added stamina as you become that much stronger and healthier. Cooking with herbs full of antioxidants such as rosemary is a simple trick to add to any anti-aging program.

Who doesn?t want to be focused, strong, hardy, and durable?

Household uses for rosemary

Sometimes a simple afternoon pick me up isn?t a big cup of coffee but the luxury of grabbing a big handful of rosemary from my garden, crushing it between my palms and inhaling the essential oils (just don't huff too hard and get a needle up your nose).

You can also simmer a couple lemons in water on the stove and add a sprig of rosemary to freshen up your house in need of a good spring cleaning. The essential oils of citrus and rosemary are a great uplifting treat for anyone sick, shut in, depressed, or just in need of a little pick me up!

Reference: PMID 1269099: Moss M, Cook J, et al, Essential oils of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition in healthy adults.

What is your favorite thing to do with Rosemary?

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician


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