By Gaye Levy
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
There is something simply enchanting about the herb rosemary. Perhaps it is the the aromatic woodsy fragrance and the simple beauty of it’s feathery fronds. Or perhaps it is the delicate taste that rosemary lends to soups, stews and brewed teas. For me, it is the powerful healing qualities of rosemary essential oil.
WHAT IS ROSEMARY?
Rosemary is a lovely shrub-like green plant with pale blue flowers and long, needle-like leaves. The aromatic leaves and part of the flowers are used to produce essential oil. Although native to the seaside regions of North Africa and the Mediterranean, today rosemary grows in other parts of the world and is quite prolific.
It takes its name from “rosmarinus”, a Latin term meaning “dew of the sea”. This implies that rosemary can thrive without any water other than the humidity carried by the breeze of the sea. Perhaps that is why it grows so well in temperate coastal regions.
In ancient times, rosemary was used as the universal symbol of remembrance. In Egypt, sprigs of rosemary were laid across coffins or tombstones and it is has been determined that this tradition continued well into the medieval period and beyond.
During the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies. The bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary. This tradition continued and later on in history, newlywed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day. If the branch grew, it was a good omen for the union and family.
Throughout history, rosemary oil has been used as both a physical and mental stimulant and as a remedy to for muscle and joint aches, poor memory, indigestion and headaches.
HOW IS IT USED?
Rosemary essential oil has many outstanding qualities. It is an effective antiseptic and an antibacterial/antifungal agent. It also has excellent antioxidant properties.
Like lavender, rosemary is one of the few essential oils that can can be safely applied to the skin in its undiluted form. Be aware, however, that for safety reasons, undiluted rosemary oil should not be used by women who are pregnant or by individuals who are prone to seizures. (This caveat applies to all essential oils, not just rosemary.)
Today I share 12 of the most practical applications of rosemary essential oil. Each use has been time-tested over the ages and promises to foster both healing and wellness over the long term.
12 USES OF ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL
1. Muscle and Joint Pain: Applied topically, rosemary oil is an effective treatment for muscle pain and arthritis. It also helps circulation. It works especially well in combination with lavender and peppermint essential oils. See my all-purpose relief formula below.
2. Heal wounds: Use sparingly on cuts and scrapes to speed the healing of wounds
3. Physical and mental stimulation: Use while bathing to aid in relieving both muscle soreness and mental exhaustion.
4. Relieve anxiety and stress: Rosemary reduces anxiety plus, when combined with lavender oil, reduces stress by calming and relaxing the nerves.
5. Sooth and heal rough scaly skin: A few drops of rosemary oil mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil reduces itching and irritation and heals dry, itchy patches of skin caused by psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
6. Reduce bad breath and promote oral health: When mixed with water, a few drops of rosemary oil helps get rid of halitosis. In addition, by removing bacteria, rosemary essential oil can prevent gingivitis and the excess build of plaque.
7. Relive headaches: Apply a drop of two topically to the temples to relieve tension headaches and migraines.
8. Treat respiratory problems and congestion: Inhale or use aromatically to aid with congestion associated with allergies, colds, flu, and respiratory infections.
9. Promote healthy hair and scalp A few drops in shampoo or conditioner stimulates hair cells and re-growth, and also provides relief for itchy scalps and dandruff.
10. Improve Concentration and Memory: Rosemary increases your ability to concentrate and remember things.
11. Repel bugs: Diluted in water, rosemary essential oil in a spray bottle wards off flies and mosquitos.
12. Control and prevent acne: Apply topically to reduce the oil and sebum production that causes breakouts and acne.
THE BACKDOOR SURVIVAL ALL-PURPOSE RELIEF FORMULA
For years I have used the following formula to relieve muscle and joint pains and also to reduce scarring from cuts, scrapes and even surgical wounds.
Rosemary – 10 drops
Lavender – 10 drops
Peppermint – 10 drops
Combine the essential oils in 2 tablespoons of your favorite carrier oil. My current favorite is a half and half combination of organic coconut oil and olive oil.
You can use this concoction to massage sore muscles, relieve an itchy scalp or topically to heal wounds and mitigate scarring. This is my go-to all-purpose relief formula – I use it for everything.
THE FINAL WORD
The well-regarded herbal authority, Rosemary Gladstar, has this to say about rosemary:
We’ve only begun to uncover the many uses of rosemary. It has long been renowned as a memory aid. It has a tonic effect on the nervous system and is good for circulation. It strengthens the heart and reduces high blood pressure. It has been used for hundreds of years as a cosmetic herb for its beneficial effects on the hair and skin.
I have found that rosemary ranks up there with lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and clove as the most useful essential oils. I use rosemary essential oil neat (topically applied directly to the skin) or mixed with coconut oil, as a scrub in my hand and foot cleaner, and, most recently in a homemade healing salve.
More than ever, these days I am trying to embrace essential oils into my daily routine. As with all things preparedness, becoming skilled in essential oils now will pay dividends if I am ever in a survival situation.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Updated August 2014
Further articles by Gaye Levy:
- 15 Alternative Uses for Honey
- Vermiculture: How To Build A Worm Bin the Cheap and Easy Way
- Spices for the Survival Pantry
- 21 Home Remedies for a Toothache Emergency
- The Miracle of Tea Tree Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival
- 26 Five-Minute Prepping Projects
- 10 Simple Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency
- Creating a Healing Garden: 9 Healing Herbs You Can Grow Yourself
About the author:
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State.
Gaye lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, she speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us. You can find Gaye through her website Backdoor Survival.com, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Gaye’s Facebook page, which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon. In addition, when you sign up to receive Gaye’s email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of her e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.