Anyone who’s ever eaten a steak, especially lamb will most definitely have heard about this distinctively fragrant and tasty cooking herb, rosemary!
Just chop up a few leaves, marinate or sprinkle on the meat and you will have yourself a delicious aromatic steak in a matter of minutes. But NEVER forget your salt & pepper!
Now I take it that most of us already know how to use this delicate herb for cooking, so I’m not gonna waste your time (or mine!) to explain the number of techniques you can actually incorporate this fresh ingredient in your kitchen.
Today, I just wanted to talk about its nutrition values and health benefits.
So let’s just get straight to the point.
I mean…I hate all the mumbles and rumbles that goes into so many of those boring essay articles too.
No, really, every time I finish reading one of those posts, it felt like I entered a marathon competition without crossing the finish line.
So lets just cut the crap and jump straight to it.
First, we’ll start with the…
Nutritional Value Of Rosemary
(Source: USDA National Nutrient database)
Please note the above nutrition facts data is based on FRESH rosemary leaves taken from the twigs of the plant. Dried ones will be very similar, but will consists of more leaves per gram as herbs tend to shrink after its water content has been dried out.
Another important point to take note is that the above values are based on:
Servings per 20g!
Now think about this for a second…
1 tsp = 0.7g
1 tbsp = 1.7g
So 20g will be equivalent to approx. 28 teaspoons or 12 tablespoons.
And that’s a LOT of aroma if you ask me!
Seriously…I can easily have a rosemary infused bath with 12 tbsp.
So if you ask me whether this particular herb is highly nutritious? I will have to say no purely based on those qualified data.
But in saying that, we all know our body works in mysterious ways when certain types of material or ingredient enters our body. Not to mention all the other naturally health beneficial substances that makes up this wonderful plant in the first place.
This is exactly why we tend not to focus on nutrient data too much. (Though it is important)
Instead, we prefer to stay balance so we get a GOOD TASTE of everything…
While absorbing the GOODNESS from EVERYTHING!
See, even he agrees.
Which brings us to our very next point.
Health Benefits Of Rosemary
The below list contains ONLY scientifically proven benefits with backed up evidence.
1) Prevent Blood Clot
There has been a study ¹ on humans who consumed this herb on a long term basis. The result shows that daily intakes of rosemary can inhibit thrombosis, a formation of blood clot inside the blood vessel.
2) Prevention Of Various Cancers
The carnosic acid found in rosemary has shown to potentially inhibit the growth of ER-negative human breast cancer cells and this natural power was further enhanced with the synergy reaction when combined with curcumin, a main compound found in a common household spice, turmeric.²
Along with its naturally high antioxidant compounds, the polyphenolic properties of carnosol has also been shown to play a major role in the inhibitation of prostate cancer 3, colon cancer 4, liver, stomach, melanoma, as well as leukemia cancer cells 5.
3) May Promote Hair Growth
People with spot baldness (alopecia areata) will be happy to hear that rosemary extracted essential oils, when massaged into the scalp, may assist in regrowing new hair. Though the study 6 included several other natural herbs such as thyme, lavender and cedarwood. But it was deemed successful to a certain degree.
4) Indigestion Relief
Rosemary is a traditional herb and natural medicine used to relieve a variety of indigestion problems including loss of appetite, gallbladder and liver complaints, excessive intestinal gas (Yes, Farts!), as well as heartburn and other digestive related discomfort 7.
5) Improve Memory
A study conducted by the Northumbria University in Newcastle proved that by inhaling rosemary diffused oil, one can improve memory significantly 8.
The participants were split into 3 groups and placed into 3 separate rooms. One room was scented with Rosemary, the next with Lavender and the last room had no infusion of any kind. The rosemary group came out on top and this claim was further verified after participants were blood tested for traces of rosemary oil in their bloodstreams.
6) Reduce Bacteria & Toxic In Food
Several studies suggested that rosemary can inhibit certain types of foodborne pathogens, the micro-organisms, bad bacteria or virus that can cause disease in humans 9.
This claim was further backed by a test conducted in which a rosemary extract was added to a ground beef patty before grilling. Now in case you didn’t know, cooking meat at high temperature can release a toxin known as heterocyclic amines, which has been linked to several types of cancers.
So when the ground beef was marinated with rosemary extracts, which consisted of rosmarinic acid, carnosol and carnosic acid. It reduced the amount of heterocyclic amines created during the cooking process significantly. In some cases by as much as 90%. 10
Now you know what to add in your barbecue meats, right?
7) Elevate Mood & Relieve Stress
Rosemary oil is a popular essential oil in aromatherapy because it has been proven to lift mood once it enters a person’s nervous system, in which participants claimed to feel more active and fresher 11.
Another study conducted has shown that when inhaled, rosemary essential oil will immediately enhance free radical scavenging activity (FRSA) in the person’s body, while decreasing stress hormones 12
8) Anti-Inflammatory & Pain Relief
Rosemary tea for pain is a well known remedy in the modern society because a single leaf from this extraordinary plant contains several anti-inflammatory substances such as camosol, rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid and oleanolic acid. These natural substances can help relieve migraines, muscle pain, joint pain and arthritis. 13
Essential oil extracted from sprigs of fresh rosemary herb can also be used as a topical solution for pain relief. Simply mix 2 drops of rosemary oil, 2 drops of mint oil and 1 tsp of coconut oil, and rub it onto the painful area for fast soothing effect. 14
9) Bad Breath Fix
Let’s face it, nobody likes stinky breaths so if you are one of those unfortunate people who just can’t seem to get rid of bad breath. You may want to consider drinking more rosemary tea because it has been proven to stop several types of mouth bacteria or to be specific, micro-organisms that causes….BAD BREATH! 15
10) Prevent Brain Aging & Possibly Alzheimer
Aging is a natural phenomena that nobody can run away from. Whether it is our skin, the wrinkles (yay!), our hair, our joints, muscles and even our brain. As we age, signals travelling to and from our brain becomes weaker and weaker, affecting our reflexes, our memory, our problem solving skills and even our personality.
Think dementia and then ultimately alzheimer’s disease which affects many elderly people, as well as some middle age in every part of the world. There is no cure because the brain is such a complex master organ that top doctors and surgeons are still trying to figure out.
Thankfully, according to a Japanese study, there may be a way to prevent this from happening (okay…maybe more like slowing it down until the day we die so technically and theoretically, we don’t actually get it). And the credit goes to….ROSEMARY! 16
11) Other Benefits
Want an easy way to keep your food fresh and taste great? The super antioxidant properties of rosemary can help preserve food and flavor, whether in high heat or low such as during refrigeration 17.
There are many other health benefit claims with using rosemary, but I really couldn’t find sufficient evidence to back up those claims (Believe me, I tried), so unless they are proven facts, I’m not going to waste my time (and yours) by listing them here.
So forgive me, but this is how it’s gonna be!
Possible Side Effects Of Rosemary
While I’m no medical expert and certainly don’t have plans to become one (I Love Food, Cooking, Staying Healthy and Having Fun, Remember?).
I do however feel obligated to ensure anyone who uses this ingredient are using it at the safest possible manner. So this only means more late nights of research for me and possibly some junk food (supper) along the way.
1) Pregnant Woman Should Avoid This Herb
According to the American Pregnancy Association, rosemary has a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States, which basically means it is considered “Likely Safe” when consumed orally in the amounts typically found in foods (small quantity). 18
Then they go on and say:
Because rosemary may have uterine and menstrual flow stimulant effects, it is best to avoid using it.
In other words, rosemary may trigger miscarriage (abortion) when used in high amounts.
So if you are pregnant, I would highly suggest you to stay away from this herb for a while. This includes any supplements which may contain traces of such ingredient. Again, I’m no doctor and don’t plan on becoming one (though I am studying to become a nutritionist), but I just feel that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Okay, I truly understand that 10 months of eating meats and vegetables without some exquisite rosmarinus officinalis flavor (Latin word by the way…) can be really hard to endure.
This is another reason why women will always and forever have my utmost respect!
See ladies, even Simon salute you on this one.
Good on you buddy!
2) Rosemary Allergy
Now if there is one allergy in the world that I DO NOT WANT, it has to be this one right here! I mean, life would be so difficult without some rosemary herbs. My beef, my chickens, my stews, my potatoes, my roasted veggies…oh please don’t let me think about it!
Though rare, but there has been several cases where people have reported to have allergic reaction after coming into contact with this particular herb, both via oral intakes or external applications such as makeup. 19
Some of the signs/symptoms from rosemary allergies includes:
- Skin rashes and swelling
- Difficulty breathing and wheezing
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Kidney irritations
This edible plant also contains a natural chemical known as salicylate, which is very similar to aspirin in that it has blood thinning effects. So if you already have aspirin allergy, then it may be wise to stay away from this herb, especially in high medicinal amounts.
3) Bleeding Disorder
Since rosemary can increase blood flow circulation and can act as a blood thinner. People with bleeding disorders should avoid using this herb too much, especially in essential oil form whether inhaled or applied externally, because it could lead to increase bleeding and bruising.
In saying that, cooking generally only requires a relatively small amount but if you are to eat this ingredient everyday, then perhaps things can build up.
Just saying…so please always consult with your doctor or qualified personnel.
4) Seizure Disorder
According to the WebMD, people with seizure or epilepsy disorders should avoid rosemary altogether. This is particularly true in undiluted oil form. Rosemary can make the symptoms worse including:
- Strange Emotions & Sensations
- Abnormal Behaviors
- Muscles Spasms
- Loss Of Consciousness
As you can see, these are some serious symptoms so if you or if you know anyone who’s got seizures then it may be best to alert them about this.
Think about it, you really don’t want these symptoms to get any worse (just imagine if the person is driving while having these attackes OMG!).
Again, always talk with your certified physicians, trained medical professionals or doctors for any concerns.
The Bottom Line
I honestly can’t believe I wrote such a long article on this topic (So what’s next…a book?? NOT!), but I must admit I had fun while researching for all these information, which at the end pretty much sums up the:
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits
- Possible Side Effects
- And a bit of jokes while doing so which i’m sure you won’t mind unless you are a robot of course, but then you shouldn’t even be reading this page because food and eating wouldn’t even concern you. Just go and drink some petrol!
Anyways, rosemary is such a fine herb and I cook with it all the time, so I guess it’s only natural that I wanted to learn about this plant as much as possible.
Afterall, I want to know what goes into my mouth, my body, as well as my family’s.
So the bottom line, rosemary is a herb that doesn’t contain much nutrition value (i.e if you are only into calories, vitamin A, B, C etc) in terms of the quantity used in common meals.
However it is jammed packed with amazing health beneficial elements (the goodies!) which only appears and does its magic once it interacts with our body chemistry, whether internally or externally.
It is a top notch herb that is very healthy and super tasty. You can use it for cooking, make a cup of nice hot tea. Then there are rosemary essential oils (NOT EDIBLE!!) that you can diffuse into a room for some aroma therapy or simply rub it onto your skin as a topical remedy for external use.
Like any ingredients though, there will always be certain side effects that may affect individuals (everyone is different!) however it is considered “Likely Safe” when used in foods, so chances are you will be able to enjoy the delicate flavors from this savory herb without too much issue, provided it is in small amounts.
In saying that and just to be on the safe side, always consult with your doctor for professional advice especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
God I’m getting so annoying and I honestly feel like I’m just repeating myself here, which is usually a sign that my brain has been overworked (I need some good sleep!).
So I sincerely hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful because if you did, it will definitely help me sleep better at night knowing that my effort hasn’t been wasted.
And I’m outta here…
Oh and please don’t forget to SHARE with other people.