Rosemary (Mi Die Xiang)
Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis, Salvia rosmarinus
Rosemary is an herb with an ancient history as a medicine and culinary herb. It is one of those herbs that has a thousand uses. As a tea it is a wonderful remedy for colds, headaches caused by stress, and lifting depression. It is known for supporting healthy brain function, boosting the immune system and helping to prevent cancer and strengthen liver function.
Below is an overview of Rosemary (Mi Die Xiang), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Rosemary (Mi Die Xiang).
Western Name: Rosemary
Also Known As: Dew of the Sea, Old Man
Organs/Systems: Brain, Lungs, Liver, Digestion, Immune System
Key Actions: Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Rubefacient, Stimulant, Relaxant, Tonic, Astringent, Diaphoretic, Antifungal, Antiseptic, Anti-aging, Anticancer, Carminative.
Medicinal Uses: Colds, infections, gout, rheumatism, baldness, nervous headaches, depression, anemia, lung infections, supports immunity, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, cancer, stomach aches, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), memory loss, poor focus, lower or increase blood pressure, heartburn, gout, kidney disease, arthritis, improve mental focus, diabetes, headaches, toothache, gum disease
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lung, Liver, Spleen, Heart, Kidney
Key Actions: Moves Blood, Clears Wind Cold, Stops Cough, Clears Damp, Resolves Phlegm, Supports Lungs, Strengthens Spleen, Calms Shen, Tonifies Yang, Builds Qi
Medicinal Uses: Helps promote blood flow, lowers or increase blood pressure, reduce muscle spasms, promote menses, promote healing, colds, flu, asthma, sore throat, cough, cough with white clear phlegm, tuberculosis, improves memory, dementia, Alzheimer’s, improves focus and mental clarity, chronic anxiety, depression, warming, supports immune system.
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Acrid, Slightly Bitter, Warm, Astringent
Caution: Considered very safe, though extremely high doses have been known to cause kidney dysfunction and some people have had allergic reactions to rosemary oil. Rosemary oil not recommended during pregnancy.
History/Folklore: Rosemary has been used since ancient times to heal and as a culinary herb. It is famous for treating almost every kind of ailment, but is especially known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and mood enhancing properties.
Rosemary is in fact an herb, and not just a seasoning or spice. It is an excellent herb for supporting heart health. It can both lower or increase blood pressure, reduce stress that can lead to heart attacks, and improve circulation.
Rosemary oil is used externally as a rubefacient to soothe painful gout, rheumatism, and neuralgic conditions. Applied to the scalp, it is used to stimulate hair growth, prevent premature baldness, and prevent dandruff.
The rosmarinic acid, found in rosemary is a polyphenolic antioxidant that gives the leaves their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties
Rosemary has been shown to increase the shelf life and heat stability of omega-3 oils which can be prone to becoming rancid.
Rosemary oil is often used in bodily perfumes, shampoos, cleaning products and as an incense. The oil that is distilled from the flowering tops is considered superior to oil made from the leaves and stems. The oil contains 15-20% camphor. Pregnant women should avoid using the oil as large amounts or concentrations can be harmful (cooking with fresh rosemary is fine).
Rosemary was considered sacred to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Some Christian folklore claim that the plants can live to be thirty-three years old, the same age as Jesus when he was crucified. It was often used to decorate homes and Churches.
As the herb was already famous for improving the memory it was used in the Middle Ages to help lovers not to forget each other, and was therefore often included in wedding ceremonies. It was a charm for enduring love. The bride would wear a wreath of rosemary around her head and the groom and guests would all wear a sprig of the fresh herb as well. Rosemary has also been used as a symbol of remembrance during war commemorations and at funerals, with a sprig being tossed into the graves as a sign that the deceased would not be forgotten. This tradition dates all the way back to ancient Egypt where the herb was buried with the pharaohs.
Some say a sprig of rosemary kept in the back of drawers will help deter mice and rats. Rosemary is also used to ward off mosquitoes.
Rosemary has been burned as incense in sacred ceremonies and to help clear and clean sick rooms. In French hospitals it was common to burn rosemary and juniper berries to purify the air and prevent infection. Rosemary has been smoked to help calm asthma, coughs and other throat and lung infections. It has long been believed to banish evil spirits.
Rosemary water is said to have been first used by the Queen of Hungary “…to renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs…” Fresh rosemary tops were also added to wine and used as an external poultice. Rosemary wine taken in small quantities was said to help calm anxiety and strengthen a weak heart subject to palpitations.
Rosemary is popularly used in culinary dishes as an ingredient in stuffings and sauces. It is popular for roasting and used as a seasoning for barbecue dishes. A sprig of rosemary can be placed in olive oil to infuse it with the herbs wonderful fragrance and flavor.
Dried rosemary contains 45% of RDA (recommended daily amount) of calcium, 29% RDA of vitamin C, and 18% RDA of vitamin A. It is also very high in the B-complex vitamins, including high levels of folates, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
The word “rosemary” derives from the Latin word for “dew” and “sea” (“ros” and “marinus”). Also translated as “dew of the sea.” Rosemary is known to thrive best in climates located by the sea, similar to the Mediterranean region where it originated from.
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