Rosemary History

Rosemary has long been used in holistic medicines

Close up of rosemary leaves
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Rosemary History

Rosemary (botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis), also known as Garden Rosemary, is native to the Mediterranean area. A member of the mint family, it is an evergreen shrub also related to basil, marjoram, and oregano. It is usually found growing by the ocean, and its latin name equates to "dew of the sea."

Some rosemary plants grow up to 6 feet tall or more, but standard varieties are usually around 3 feet and bushy. The small, gray-green leaves look similar to small pine needles and have a bittersweet, lemony, slightly piney flavor. Small flowers range from white to pale blue to dark blue, usually flowering in late spring.

Usage of rosemary dates back to 500 b.c. when it was used as a culinary and medicinal herb by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is still a popular medicinal herb today.

Most commercially used, dried rosemary comes to us from Spain, France, and Morocco. However, it is easy to grow your own in temperate climates.

In 1987, researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey patented a food preservative derived from rosemary. The chemical called rosmaridiphenol, is a very stable antioxidant useful in cosmetics and plastic food packaging.

Rosemary is indeed a versatile, aromatic . It is used in a wide variety of dishes, including fruit salads, , , meats (especially lamb), , eggs, stuffings, , and even . It is also used to scent cosmetics and perfumes, in insect repellants, and has medicinal uses. You will find rosemary a delightful herb in both savory and sweet recipes.

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