Rosmarinus officinalis   “rose of the sea”

Rosemary is one of my favorite plant allies. She is gentle and safe yet powerful. It is an easy plant to grow and harvest in great abundance. It is in the Lamiaciae or mint family with many more gentle friends, such as lemon balm, catnip, and motherwort. It is aromatic which gives me the metaphorical sense of infusing itself through the toughest of blockages and obstructions in the body. It feels to me as though it can penetrate deeply into tissues and gently wisp away sticky collections of toxins in the cells. It has no boundaries in the body and even penetrates difficult areas, like the brain or the ocular lenses. That property lends itself to support problems such as memory loss or canine cognitive dysfunction and oxidative damage to the lenses, such as cataracts. Like any other plant that sits in one place near the moist ground full of bacteria and fungi or commingles closely with its brothers and sisters, it is full  of antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. These properties are touted in some plants and overlooked in others. However, all plants have developed such properties, aka phytochemicals to protect themselves in their vulnerable state. We and our animals developed the ability to chew them up and absorb them to protect ourselves.

Another benefit common to rosemary and pretty much anything green with roots in the ground is its level of antioxidants. The label “superfood” and antioxidant rich is a bit misleading. It is used commonly to market foods. They are popular terms and help sell foods for those trying to make more money from a certain species of plant. However, it is unfair to the rest of the plant world that grows equally beneficial and high numbers of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds too. What I have said is an over generalization but is more accurate than saying goji berries imported from Africa for $15/lb are more healthful than blueberries grown for free in your yard or down the road in your local farmer’s field. How about exchanging that expensive spirulina for the super organic, free chickweed outside your door? .. or taking it easy on the cod populations in the oceans 2000 miles away and picking a little rosemary from your herb garden each day and nibbling on it. That simple step will help keep the inflammation at bay.

In any case, Rosemary can be used to fight most any infection and is great for allergies, as it reduces histamine production (like benadryl). It is known to lower blood pressure and could be used in older cats with this problem. It could even be dosed transdermally, because of its volatile nature. This property is especially beneficial to cats who are difficult to administer pills to (such as amlodipine for lowering blood pressure.) Contact a holistic veterinarian concerning a dose, as cats can be sensitive to volatile oils.

Another great use is pain management. It can be used in conjunction with fish oil, glucosamine, msm, and boswellia to control pain with natural methods. It can also be used in conjunction with NSAIDS, such as carprofen (rimadyl), metacam (meloxicam), and deramaxx (deracoxib) to improve functionality or even lower the dose.

It is hard to beat Rosemary as a respiratory herb. It is easy to infuse the oils into the respiratory tract to reduce inflammation and fight off any bugs taking hold there and to reduce inflammation. It is a great healer and a friend to us and our pets. It can be easily harvested, particularly since many bushes are trimmed annually anyway. Simply hang the boughs upside down in your home for the beauty and healthy infusing of your air or remove the leaves and put them in an airtight container for later use. They can be easily crushed or ground and mixed into food. They can be infused into the air, by gently heating them in a pot of water or even pouring off the tea into a dehumidifier. The leaves can also be tinctured with alcohol or even in vinegar, although I do not see a need for this extra step, since it is so easy to ingest the leaves and they can be picked all year in planting zones 8-9. Fresh is best. However, if it is not available, essential oils may be purchased and used.

Making shampoos for your pets with rosemary is fun and easy too. See here for more information and a simple recipe.

Grow Rosemary! It is evergreen in zones 8-9. The hardy variet, “arp” can be grown outdoors in zones 6-7. It is wonderful inside in a pot too, since your family will benefit from the volatile oils always being given off. It is like having an indoor air scrubber. See this link for organic gardening’s page with more information on growing it.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner before using this herb if you or your pet is pregnant or has a history of seizures.

I highly recommend that everyone has this great plant ally outside their door. A little tlc to her will reward you for years with a safe and effective medicine.