Radical Rosemary Oil and Its Multifaceted Benefits
Boasting a lovely, woody aroma, rosemary aka Rosmarinus officinalis is an evergreen herb with needle-like leaves that is native to the Mediterranean. Rosemary joins the mint family called Lamiaceae, along with other herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil and lavender. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make perfumes and for its medicinal benefits. Rosemary essential oil, bears the essence of the plant, is extracted and sold in small bottles. Despite its moniker, rosemary essential oil is not a true oil, as it doesn’t contain fat.
Treat Gastrointestinal Conditions
Rosemary has been used in many cultures as a traditional remedy to treat gastrointestinal stress, from upset stomachs and bloating to constipation and diarrhoea. Its intrinsic anti-inflammatory and stimulant properties can also stimulate appetite and help regulate the creation of bile, which plays a crucial role in digestion. Adding it to your weekly diet can help regulate bowel movements. If you’re suffering from a stomach ailment, combine 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil with 5 drops of rosemary oil and gently massage the mixture over your abdomen. Applying rosemary oil with this method regularly can detoxify the liver and promote gallbladder health.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
There are various factors that contribute to stress, from relationship woes to immense workload. Research has revealed that inhaling rosemary essential oil scent can lower cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the blood. When you’re stressed, it causes a chain reaction that starts with elevated cortisol levels as a result of the body’s "fight-or-flight" mode. High levels of cortisol can then cause weight gain, oxidative stress, high blood pressure and heart disease. These conditions are easily preventable, by simply diffusing rosemary essential oil or inhaling over an open bottle. You can also get creative and DIY your own anti-stress aromatherapy spray, by simply amalgamating 6 tablespoons of water with 2 tablespoons of vodka and adding 10 drops of rosemary oil in a small spray bottle. Give your pillow a spritz right before bed or spray it in your room to help relieve stress.
Alleviate Pain and Inflammation
Rosemary oil has been utilised as a mild pain reliever in folk medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. To reap its benefits, massage the oil on the affected area. Additionally, for ailments like headaches, sprains, muscle soreness, rheumatism or arthritis, you can mix 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil with 5 drops of rosemary oil to create an effective salve. Alternatively, at the end of a long day, soak in a hot bath and add a few drops of rosemary oil to the tub.
Treat Nasal Congestion
The easiest way to use rosemary oil is to inhale it, which also relieves nasal congestion from cold, allergies or flu. Rosemary oil works as an expectorant, offers antiseptic properties and has an antispasmodic effect, which helps in the treatment of bronchial asthma. Besides inhaling an open bottle, drop rosemary oil in a diffuser or add a few drops to a mug or small pot of boiling-hot water and inhale the vapour up to three times daily.
Effects on Hair Growth
A study conducted in 2015 proved that rosemary oil, known amongst many for its effects on hair growth is indeed true. The herb’s main active ingredient, called carsonic acid enhances nerve growth, which could also stimulate nerve healing and restore your lustrous hair. The oil also protects your strands against breakage and this reduces the degree of hair fall. Like any oil, rosemary oil promotes shininess, prevents and reduces dandruff, making it a wonderful elixir for hair care.
In ancient Greece and Rome, rosemary has been associated with having a good memory for centuries. Take cue, parents. A recent study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience assessed the cognitive performance of 144 participants who were exposed to rosemary oil for aromatherapy. The result showed rosemary significantly improved the quality of memory and mental alertness. Another study, published in Psychogeriatrics, tested the efficacy of rosemary oil aromatherapy on 28 elderly dementia and Alzheimer's patients and revealed that its properties can prevent and slow Alzheimer's disease — amazing! To incorporate rosemary oil to your lifestyle, add a few drops of the oil to your lotion and apply it to your neck or use a diffuser to reap the mental benefits of rosemary oil's aroma. Whenever you’re feeling sluggish and need a boost of mental vigour, inhale over the bottle of oil for the same effects.
Boost Brain Function
Interested in boosting brain function? Rosemary oil, or its scent specifically, is said to boost cognitive function. According to research, inhaling rosemary oil helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine — an important brain chemical used for thinking, concentrating and memory. This was proven in a study where 20 young adults were asked math questions in a small room diffused with rosemary oil. The accuracy and speed of their answers showed an increase in direct proportion to the duration the oil was diffused. It also indicated a spike of blood levels containing certain rosemary compounds likewise — further solidifying that rosemary can enter your body through breathing alone. In other research, inhaling rosemary and other essential oils showed some improvement in brain function in older adults with dementia, including those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Keep You Alert
There are times when we could use a jumpstart in the morning or beat that evening slug. Commonly used in folk medicine for mental strain and fatigue, rosemary essential oil contributes to alertness. A study with 20 healthy young adults as the subject inhaled rosemary oil, reported feeling about 30% more mentally refreshed and about 25% less drowsy compared to smelling a placebo oil. The alertness they experienced was consistent with changes in brain waves, increases in heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. Using diluted rosemary oil to your skin can extend the same effects, as it can reach your brain through inhalation. This was evident in another study that used topical application of diluted rosemary oil to the skin, resulting in 35 healthy people feeling significantly more attentive, alert, energetic and cheerful after 20 minutes compared to placebo oil.
Bad Breath Begone
Say goodbye to bad breath! Rosemary essential oil is a natural antimicrobial or disinfectant that can help rid oral bacteria that causes bad breath and prevents plaque buildup, cavities and gingivitis. Smell fresh all day by adding a few drops of rosemary oil to water and swishing it around, just like a mouthwash.
Heal Your Skin
Suffering from skin conditions like acne, dermatitis and eczema? Try treating it the natural way, leveraging on rosemary oil's antimicrobial properties. It can deeply hydrate and nourish the skin while killing bacteria, which makes it a great supplement to a moisturiser. Simply add a few drops to your usual moisturiser for a healthy glow. To treat problem areas, you must first mix it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply it to the affected area. Don’t worry, it won’t leave your skin oily or greasy, rather, It removes excess oil from the surface of your skin by aiding in sebum production.