We love rosemary on potatoes and chicken, but it's so much more than a culinary treat. In fact, rosemary essential oil uses are quite profound! Rosmarinus officinalus was a sacred substance for nearly all ancient peoples, including Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. As an evergreen Mediterranean native, rosemary would have been readily available, so its presence in folk medicine over the centuries is unsurprising.
Ancient peoples used rosemary for many purposes, including:
In recent uses, rosemary is frequently used in skincare and hair products thanks to known antiseptic ability. As with many ancient remedies, rosemary is the subject of modern research as we begin to unlock the medicinal wisdom of generations past.
Do Rosemary Essential Oil Uses Include Cancer?
Although we only have in vitro (cells in a petri dish) studies, researchers suggest that rosemary essential oil can help prevent and treat a variety of cancer cells lines. Of the 30 compounds in the essential oil, there are a few main players: α-pinene, borneol, (−) camphene, camphor, verbenone, and bornyl-acetate. Interestingly, it doesn't seem that any one of these chemicals is responsible for rosemary's anti-tumor prowess. The research actually suggests that it's the synergy of them interacting together, which gives rosemary essential oil the true medicinal effect.
The study suggesting this was published in the journal Molecules after evaluating in vitro antibacterial activities and toxicology properties. of R. officinalis L. essential oil compared to α-pinene, β-pinene, and 1,8-cineole. According to the study, “R. officinalis L. essential oil possessed similar antibacterial activities to α-pinene, and a little bit better than β-pinene, while 1,8-cineole possessed the lowest antibacterial activities. R. officinalis L. essential oil exhibited the strongest cytotoxicity towards three human cancer cells. Its inhibition concentration 50% (IC50) values on SK-OV-3, HO-8910 and Bel-7402 were 0.025‰, 0.076‰ and 0.13‰ (v/v), respectively. The cytotoxicity of all the test samples on SK-OV-3 was significantly stronger than on HO-8910 and Bel-7402. In general, R. officinalis L. essential oil showed greater activity than its components in both antibacterial and anticancer test systems, and the activities were mostly related to their concentrations.” (1)
Four Favorite Rosemary Essential Oil Uses
As for Rosmarine, I lett it runne all over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and, therefore, to friendship; whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language that maketh it the chosen emblem of our funeral wakes and in our burial grounds.”
~ Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)
Alongside the exciting prospect of slowed cancer growth and inflammation spread, rosemary has effects that are useful for our more common needs as well. Here are four of the ways rosemary exhibits its strengths in our everyday lives.
1. Hair Growth
Stimulating for the scalp, rosemary essential oil uses include helping with dandruff and dry scalp treatment that may facilitate hair growth. Some even go as far as to say that it can prevent hair loss and graying.
Years ago, Francesc Casadó Galcerá patented a lotion for scalp and hair (US 6447762 B1), including a mixture of rosemary, hops, and swertia. H found that his blend was able to stimulate (2):
Include rosemary essential oil uses in simple vinegar hair rinses or DIY shampoo and conditioner formulas for improved scalp health and hair growth.
“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance, pray you love, remember.
~ Ophelia (Shakespeare's “Hamlet”)
2. Memory Retention
Rosemary has been known as the “herb of remembrance” for centuries. Greek scholars used it when taking exams to help recall important information, and allusions to its memory improvement have been peppered into poetry throughout the ages. The International Journal of Neuroscience published one study that confirmed these effects in recent science.
Over 140 participants were gathered for the study conducted by University of Northumbria, Newcastle. Aromatherapy including healing rosemary essential oil uses and lavender, as well as a control group were utilized to affect cognitive performance.
In other words, lavender made participants feel relaxed and complacent, while rosemary increased alertness and provoked memory retention. (3)
Test taking and alert feelings pale in comparison to the studies conducted on rosemary essential oil uses in relation to Alzheimer's disease. One such study, published in Psychogeriatrics, evaluated the effects of aromatherapy on 28 elderly people suffering from dementia, with the majority also diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. They were given rosemary and lemon inhalations in the morning, then lavender and orange in the evening. Through multiple tests and forms of analysis, the “patients showed significant improvement in personal orientation” without any deleterious side effects. (4)
3. Liver and Gallbladder SupportThe primary function of the liver is to detoxify the body, and with such heavy levels of toxins exposed to us on a daily basis, sometimes it can use a little help.
Traditional rosemary rosemary essential oil uses includes digestive and gastrointestinal relief. (5) Coupled with liver support, rosemary becomes a fantastic detoxifier. This has been confirmed in studies conducted in India, where it was observed helping the body increase its bile production and improve plasma liver enzyme levels. When these processes are inhibited, fat metabolism and detoxification are inhibited, and risks for type II diabetes increase.
With a properly functioning liver, gallbladder, and gastrointestinal system, nutrients are more readily absorbed and toxins released, bringing balance and wellness to the whole body.
4. Reduced Cortisol LevelsThe Meikai University School of Dentistry in Japan conducted a study that monitored cortisol levels in saliva after just five minutes of rosemary essential oil uses and lavender inhalation. Twenty-two volunteers participated, and both essential oils had excellent results. Not only was the “stress hormone” cortisol reduced significantly, but free radical scavenging activities were increased as well. (6) So the oils help to prevent added stress, then go a step further to help erase effects of previous stressful exertion.
Enjoying Rosemary Essential Oil Uses
Clearly a safe and effective oil, rosemary's benefits can be implemented in many ways. Here are just some of my favorite DIY recipes for application:
Note on Seizures & HyptertensionThis is tough one for me to figure out because there's virtually no research on that rosemary essential oil uses are contraindicated because of seizures in the last 20 years and the only couple articles that I can find are case studies. (7, 8) Nonetheless virtually every blog that I see on the topic state that rosemary is contraindicated for epileptics and people prone to seizures.
According to Aromatherapist Lauren Bridges, a mother of an epileptic child, this issue has become convoluted by myths and jumping to conclusions prematurely.
“Long story short, a lot of the seizure lists floating around the internet are not accurate nor real pictures of the risks and threats. None of them seemingly account for species or chemotype, which makes a difference in this matter. As far as a list of oils with convulsant properties, I would check essential oils safety expert Robert Tisserand's work, but with the understanding that this list can no way give a complete risk profile because of the nature of epilepsy an other seizure disorders.”
Same message applies to hypertension. According to Tisserand “I believe that there is no case for contraindicating any essential oil in someone with high blood pressure. As well as closely examining the evidence above, I also refer to more recent research, which confirms that the four “Valnet oils” present no risk. The lack of compelling evidence is reason enough to let go of this chimera.” (9)
Originally shared by Dr. Zielinski
WHAT IS DANDRUFF (i.e. DRY SCALP?)
Dandruff is a very common condition that can be cause for some embarrassment. By the age of 20, about 50 percent of Americans have suffered an outbreak. A small amount of flaking is normal as skin cells do die and flake off your scalp, but some people experience an unusually large amount of flaking, either chronically or as a result of certain triggers. Dandruff may also be accompanied by redness and irritation.
Dandruff is believed to be caused by a fungal infection, specifically a species called pityriasis capitis. Another yeast-like fungus, malassezia globosa, has also been implicated. The fungi live on your scalp, feeding on skin oils.
The malassezia globosa fungus uses enzymes called lipases to metabolize the oils, creating a by-product called oleic acid. The acid penetrates your skin and triggers skin cell shedding.
Grossed out yet? Me too.
The most commonly used treatments for dandruff and dry scalp are Selsun Blue or Head & Shoulders. In its basic formulation, these shampoos contain selenium sulfide as the active ingredient. Selenium sulfide is an anti-fungal agent which may be helpful in treating the skin yeast infection tinea versicolor, scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) and athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
Why would you look for a treatment besides Selsun Blue? While they can be affective at stopping dandruff, some of the harsh chemicals can cause more sensitive scalps to burn, itch more, and possibly result in chemical burn (some blog recommend overnight use of these shampoos which can definitely trigger an unwanted reaction).
AN EFFECTIVE, NATURAL SOLUTION
Here is a testimony where essential oils (Tea Tree & Lavender) were used to not only combat the symptoms of dandruff (dry itchy scalp and flakes), but attack the underlying issue as well. Results were immediate plus lasted longer in between shampoos than over the counter dandruff shampoos.
"Don’t let anyone tell you different, Dandruff is massively embarrassing. For about the last three years I’ve been struggling with a persistently dry and itchy scalp. You’ve probably detected I’m avoiding calling it what it is - DANDRUFF. It’s become both infuriating and highly embarrassing to constantly see specs of white on my shoulders or when I look in the mirror to see snowflakes in my hair.
The only treatment that worked for me was Selsun Blue, even Head & Shoulders regular shampoo wasn’t tackling it. The main problem I had with Selsun Blue was that it felt hot against my scalp to the point I felt a mild burning. And like crack cocaine, once you started you couldn’t use anything else, otherwise it would come back with a vengeance. Admittedly, the feeling on my scalp was quite nice, that cool burning sensation! That being said, one read of the ingredients in the treatment was frightening. We blindly put all kinds of crap onto our skin, or into our bodies especially when there doesn’t appear to be any alternative to it and I’m no different.
So when my wife came up with one of her “blends” I was excited if a little skeptical. I’m not sure why (I suppose a resignation that I would be using Selsun Blue for the remainder of my hair’s days) as I’ve born witness to the most amazing results with her blends, from anxiety to sleep disorder, and appetite suppressants. So unsurprisingly, it’s worked an absolute charm. I now use a combination of Tea-Tree oil and Lavender, with argan oil as a carrier oil and for additional moisturizing and rub into my scalp liberally after shampooing with a natural mild shampoo.
No oily mess or residue, and not so much as a flake has extracted itself from my head since. "
- Ward, age 39