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Rosemary – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a common household herb grown in many regions of the world. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It’s a dense evergreen bush with long, leathery needle-like leaves. The plant can be used to flavour food and beverages. Caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid are the most significant components of rosemary. These chemicals in rosemary are responsible for its medicinal and health-promoting properties.1  

Rosemary can be ingested. The use of rosemary in food preparations is restricted due to its colour, taste and odour. The chemicals like cyclic diterpene diphenols, carnosol, carnosolic acid, carnosic acid, epirosmanol, methylcarnosate, rosmanol, and isorosmanol have been identified in the rosemary extract. Some of these constituents have antioxidant properties.2 

Rosemary Leaves on a plate

Did you know?

  • Rosemary extract can scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body. source: PMC
  • Rosemary extract has been shown to improve gastrointestinal health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. source: PMC
  • Rosemary extract has been used to improve the shelf life and sensory qualities of meat and poultry products, including odor and color. source: PMC

Nutritional Value of Rosemary:

The nutritional value of rosemary is as shown below: 

Components Per cent/100 gm 
Folates 27% 
Vitamin C  36% 
Pantothenic acid 16% 
Pyridoxine 26% 
Calcium  32% 
Thiamin 3% 
Vitamin A 97% 
Niacin  6 % 
Manganese  42% 
Potassium 14% 
Copper 33% 
Riboflavin  12% 
Iron 83% 
Magnesium 23% 
Sodium  2% 
Zinc  8.5% 
Table depicting the nutritional value of rosemary3 

I have observed that rosemary may have the ability to neutralise food-borne pathogens as indicated by several studies. These studies have demonstrated that rosemary may exhibit inhibitory effects on common food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, B. cereus, and S. aureus. This highlights the potential of rosemary as a natural and effective means of combating harmful bacteria in food.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Rosemary  

It is well-known for its essential oil.1 Rosemary has a wide range of medicinal applications due to its following properties. 

  • It may have anti-inflammatory activity  
  • It might show antioxidant activity  
  • It may posses neuroprotective activity  
  • It may exhibit antidepressant activity  
  • It may have antimicrobial property  
  • It may potentially have anticancer activity  
  • It may have antidiabetic activity  
  • It may show anti-obesity activity4,5  

In light of what I have observed, studies have suggested that rosemary extract may have the ability to inhibit tumour growth by restricting cancer cells from multiplying. For instance, one study showed that rosemary alone or combined with curcumin, may help against breast cancer. Another study found similar effects of rosemary on colon cancer cells. These findings highlight the potential of rosemary as a natural remedy in the fight against cancer.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Usesof Rosemary  

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Stress:  

Rosemary oil’s antistress properties make it useful for stress management. Inhaling rosemary essential oil decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) while increasing dopamine (a neurotransmitter). This helps in the reduction of stress and prevention or cure of mental disorders.6 

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Mental Fatigue:  

Aromatherapy with rosemary essential oil can relieve mental weariness and exhaustion.7 

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Opioid Withdrawal:  

Rosemary can help with the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Because of its anti-inflammatory and psychostimulant properties, rosemary may show to help with opioid withdrawal symptoms such as muscle jerks, convulsions, and musculoskeletal discomfort.8  However, these effects are yet to be proven, so you must follow your doctor’s advice before using rosemary for this purpose.

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Enhancing Memory:  

Rosemary’s memory-enhancing qualities can help you with your memory. It might boost the production of specific molecules in the brain, and potentially improving memory and cognitive performance.9  However you must visit your doctor and follow their advice before consuming rosemary for these benefits.

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Arthritis:  

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary may have been utilised as an anti-arthritic agent. It might work by inhibiting the mediators that cause inflammation, allowing arthritic symptoms to be managed.10  You must consult a doctor before consuming any herb for its benefits for arthritis.

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Gum Inflammation:  

Rosemary has long been used as a toothpaste ingredient because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics, which aid in treating gum problems, including gingivitis.

It lowers gum inflammation by inhibiting the activity of oral bacteria.11  

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Hair Loss:  

Topical application of rosemary oil on the scalp can increase hair growth by boosting blood circulation in the scalp.12 

Also Read: 5 Ayurveda Herbs for Hair Growth

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Indigestion:  

Due to its digestive properties, rosemary may be beneficial for treating indigestion. It might help to manage dyspepsia by improving meal absorption by promoting digestion. It may reduces flatulence by preventing gas production and assisting in the outflow of excess gas from the gastrointestinal system.14  These effects of rosemary are yet to be proven thus follow the advice of your doctors for any digestive issues.

Potential Uses of Rosemary for Diabetic Kidney Disease:  

Rosemary can aid in preventing diabetic kidney disease, also might be known as diabetic nephropathy, which is frequent among people with diabetes. Rosemary may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities due to its components. These antioxidants might aid to protect kidney cells from free radical damage, reducing inflammation and kidney damage.15  Since the studies and evidence available here is insufficient, you must consult a doctor and consume any herb only under their supervision.

Potential Uses of Rosemary for low Blood Pressure:  

Rosemary’s may have anti-hypotensive properties can aid in the management of low blood pressure.16  

Although studies show the benefits of rosemary in different health conditions, this information is insufficient. Hence, there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of rosemary on human health. Furthermore, every person may respond differently to these herbs. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before using rosemary for any medical condition.

Also Read: Ginko Biloba – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

How to Use Rosemary? 

  • Rosemary tea17 
  • Rosemary extract18 
  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Rosemary infusion19 

Fresh rosemary leaves to be used in daily diet

Rosemary is available in five different formulations. Your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate form based on your requirement.  

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

I usually recommend avoiding rosemary for anybody with high blood pressure, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis as a precaution. It’s always best to consult with a doctor for personalised advice and guidance regarding the use of rosemary or any other herbal remedies, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Side Effects of Rosemary: 

The majority of studies have determined that rosemary is safe to eat and has no harmful effects. However, excessive rosemary consumption can cause skin allergy.20, 21  Therefore, kindly consult a doctor and do not use it to self-medicate.

Also Read: Gokshura – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Precautions To Take with Rosemary: 

Before consuming rosemary, seek medical advice if you have one or more of the following conditions. 


It is not suggested to take rosemary during pregnancy.22 


Rosemary can produce allergic reactions like contact dermatitis, even though the herb does not generally cause sensitivity reactions.20, 21 

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

It is critical to remember that none of the following medications should be used with rosemary. 

1. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

The herb may counteract the effects of ACE inhibitors that are used to treat high blood pressure. 

2. Antidiabetic Drugs

Rosemary can cause blood sugar levels to rise. So, it’s best to avoid it if you’re taking diabetes medication. 

3. Diuretics

Rosemary is a diuretic, which means it might cause dehydration and decrease electrolyte levels. 

4. Anticonvulsant drugs

Rosemary may aggravate seizures. So, it is best to avoid it if you’re on anticonvulsant medication. 

5. Antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication

Rosemary should be avoided with these drugs because of its antithrombotic properties, which may cause bleeding.22 

Also Read: Rosemary Water for Hair Growth: Evidence-Based Tips and Techniques

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):  

1) Can goats eat rosemary? 

Yes, goats can eat rosemary. According to a study, rosemary was added to the diets of nursing Damascus goats at a rate of 10 g/goat/day. This improved nutrient digestibility and milk output.23 

2) How quickly does rosemary grow? 

It takes at least four to seven years for rosemary to reach its mature height.24 

3) Can you grow rosemary from a cutting? 

Cuttings are the most common technique of growing rosemary. Remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of a 10 to 15 cm rosemary cutting, leaving at least five or six leaves. Place the rosemary cuttings in a potting medium that drains properly.24 

4) Does rosemary promote hair growth? 

Yes, rosemary essential oil is very popular for hair growth and alopecia treatment.12  these effects are yet to be supported by evidence. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor and do not use it to self-medicate.

5) How to use fresh rosemary for memory enhancement? 

Aromatherapy with rosemary oil helps in memory enhancement.9  Since the studies and evidence available here is insufficient, you must consult a doctor and consume any herb only under their supervision.

Also Read: Pink Himalayan Salt – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions


  1. Andrade JM, Faustino C, Garcia C, et al. Rosmarinus officinalis L.: an update review of its phytochemistry and biological activity. Future science OA. 2018; 4(4): FSO283. 


  1. Nieto G, Ros G, Castillo J. Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, L.): A Review. Med. 2018; 5(3): 98. 


  1. Lixandru M. Properties and Benefits of Rosemary. Nat World. June 20, 2020. 


  1. Rahbardar MG, Hosseinzadeh H. Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2020; 23(9): 1100. 


  1. Rafie H, Soheila H, Grant E. Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary): A Novel Therapeutic Agent for antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Anticancer, Antidiabetic, Anidepressant, Neuroprotective, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-Obesity treatment. Herbal Medicine: Open Access. 2017; 3(2.8): 1-6. 


  1. Villareal MO, Ikeya A, Sasaki K, et al. Anti-stress and neuronal cell differentiation induction effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17(1): 549. 


  1. Araki R, Sasaki K, Onda H, et al. Effects of Continuous Intake of Rosemary Extracts on Mental Health in Working Generation Healthy Japanese Men: Post-Hoc Testing of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2020; 12(11): 3551. 


  1. Solhi H, Salehi B, Alimoradian A, et al. Beneficial effects of Rosmarinus officinalis for treatment of opium withdrawal syndrome during addiction treatment programs: a clinical trial. Addiction Health. 2013;5(3-4):90. 


  1. Pengelly A, Snow J, Mills S, et al. Short-Term Study on the Effects of Rosemary on Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population. J Med Food. 2011; 15(1): 10-17. 


  1. Ghasemian M, Owlia S, Owlia MB. Review of Anti-Inflammatory Herbal Medicines. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2016. 


  1. Valones MAA, Silva ICG, Gueiros LAM. Clinical Assessment of Rosemary-based Toothpaste (Rosmarinus officinalis Linn.): A Randomized Controlled Double-blind Study. Braz Dent J. 2019; 30(2). 


  1. Hosking AM, Juhasz M, Mesinkovska NA. Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Alopecia: A Comprehensive Review. Skin Appendage Disord. 2019; 5: 72-89. 


  1. Tahoonian-Golkhatmy F, Abedian Z, Emami SA, et al. Comparison of rosemary and mefenamic acid capsules on menstrual bleeding and primary dysmenorrhea: A clinical trial. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2019; 24(4): 301. 


  1. Wilson R. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty. Penguin, 2002. 
  1. Hameed IH, Mohammed GJ.Phytochemistry, Antioxidant, Antibacterial Activity, and Medicinal Uses of Aromatic (Medicinal Plant Rosmarinus officinalis).2016 


  1. Khalil OA, Ramadan KS, Danial EN, et al. Antidiabetic activity of Rosmarinus officinalis and its relationship with the antioxidant property. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol. 2012; 6(14): 1031-1036. 


  1. Fernandez L, Palomino O, Gloria F. Effectiveness of Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil as antihypotensive agent in primary hypotensive patients and its influence in Health-Related Quality of Life. J Ethnopharmacol.2013; 151(1): 509-516. 


  1. Ferlemi AV, Katsikoudi A, Kontogianni VG et al. Rosemary tea consumption results to anxiolytic- and anti-depressant-like behavior of adult male mice and inhibits all cerebral area and liver cholinesterase activity; phytochemical investigation and in silico studies. Chem Biol Interact. 2015; 237:47-57. 


  1. O’Grady MN, Maher M, Troy DJ, et al. An assessment of dietary supplementation with tea catechins and rosemary extract on the quality of fresh beef. Meat Sci. 2006; 73: 132–143.  

doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2005.11.008.  

  1. Borges RS, Ortiz BL, Pereira AC, et al. Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil: A review of its phytochemistry, anti-inflammatory activity, and mechanisms of action involved. J Ethnopharmacol. 2019; 229: 29-45. 


  1. Miroddi M, Calapai G, Isola S, et al. Rosmarinus officinalis L. as cause of contact dermatitis, Allergologia et Immunopathologia. 2014; 42(6): 616-619. 



  1. Igarashi T. Physical and psychologic effects of aromatherapy inhalation on pregnant women: a randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med.2013.;19(10):805-10. 


  1. Kholif AE, Matloup OH, Morsy TA, et al. Rosemary and lemongrass herbs as phytogenic feed additives to improve efficient feed utilization, manipulate rumen fermentation and elevate milk production of Damascus goats. Livestock Sci. 2017; 204: 39-46. 


  1. Kassahun BM. Cultivation, Processing and Utilization of Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis L). Dec 2016. 


Also Read: Chandraprabha Vati – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions


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