ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis
-- Shakespeare's Hamlet to OpheliaRosemary is an attractive late-flowering woody shrub. Its trusses of blue flowers last through spring and summer in a warm, humid environment. It will grow to a height of between 3 and 5 feet. The whole plant smells, and it is almost impossible to pass by a rosemary bush without pinching a few leaves and rubbing them between your fingers to release the smell. Rosemary has many traditional uses and stories. It is planted in cemeteries for remembrance and it does enhance the memory by improving the circulation. Rosemary vinegar is a powerful disinfectant (recipe to follow).
Propagate from cuttings of the twisted wood of non-flowering branches in early summer, or layer established branches. Rosemary can also be grown from seed. Choose a sheltered position and well-drained soil, and allow the plant lots of sun. The thick shrub tolerates clipping so that the size can be kept in check. In hot weather it will appreciate a good hosing down. In a warm climate it can remain in the same location for up to 30 years, but in climates where freezing temperatures are expected it is best grown in pots so that it can be brought indoors in winter.
History and Tradition
The botanical name Rosmarinus is derived from the old Latin 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. It is a symbol or remembrance and friendship, and is often carried by wedding couples as a sign of love and fidelity.
Tradition says that rosemary will grow for thirty-three years, until it reaches the height of Christ when he was crucified, then it will die. Sprigs of rosemary were placed under pillows at night to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams.
Coming from the Latin words Ros Marinus rosemary translates into Dew of the Sea. It was said to be draped around Aphrodite when she rose from the sea and was originally born of Ouranos's semen. Today the goddess Aphrodite is associated with rosemary, as is the Virgin Mary, who was supposed to have spread her cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting; according to legend, the flowers turned blue, the color most associated with Mary. Per Wikipedia
Rosemary is known to lift the spirits, improves digestion and circulation. It is a restorative herb that relaxes spasms and increases the rate of perspiration while stimulating the liver and gall bladder. It also controls pathogenic organisms.
-Depression Take rosemary with chamomile for stress-related headaches-Headaches associated with gastric upsets.
-Poor circulation, taken regularly. A useful addition to any herbal medicine for conditions associated with cold and poor circulation
-Poor digestion, gall bladder, inflammation, gallstones, and general feeling of liverishness
-As a gargle for sore throats. Useful substitute for sage during pregnancy
-With horsetail for hair loss due to stress and worry
-As an infused oil for massage of cold limbs and aches and pains
-Rosemary will encourage the circulation
-Good circulation to the head strengthens the brain and improves the quality and strength of hair. Two cups of rosemary tea will prevent hair loss through poor circulation and re-stimulate growth after chemotherapy.
Rosemary Remembrance Wreaths
Form heavy gage wire into the shape of a heart by twisting it into a circle about 8 inches in diameter, then pinching at the base and the top to form a heart. Bind slender sprays of rosemary to the heart-shaped frame with florists' wire. Decorate the rosemary heart with dried flowers and herbs, as shown. Rosebuds, also a symbol or remembrance, add a nice touch.
*Avoid large doses in pregnancy, except as advised by a qualified Herbalist. Do not use for treating headaches and migraines that feel "hot". The amounts taken in food are harmless.