It used to be said that if rosemary flourishes in the garden, then the woman wears the pants in the house. Whether that is true or not, a flourishing rosemary tree is an asset to any home.
Rosmarinus Officinalis is one of the most aromatic, beautiful, and useful of herbs. You can use rosemary in the kitchen, the bathroom, even the bedroom; for cologne, cosmetics, simple home remedies and delicious home cooked meals.
Rosemary deserves a place in any well stocked herb garden and is easy to grow. The best position for rosemary is a well drained spot that receives full sun. Rosemary grows well along paths, or anywhere that encourages visitors to brush up against it, releasing the wonderful aromatic fragrance into the garden.
Rosemary is steeped in lore and legend. It is associated with remembrance, and the heady fragrance helps sharpen concentration. If you start feeling stale and tired, and lose concentration, try sniffing a sprig of rosemary, or keep a piece of cotton wool soaked in rosemary oil near your work station to dab on your temples. This will soothe a headache.
One of the most famous uses for rosemary is Hungary Water. First used by Queen Isabella of Hungary, an invalid who claimed it made her feel young again, Hungary Water is simply made by steeping rosemary flowers and leaves in vodka for a month. Other essences, such as rosewater and orange flower water can be added, in which case it can be used as a skin tonic.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can steep the rosemary in equal parts of witch hazel and rosewater, or orange flower water. Put some in a small spray bottle and keep it in the fridge for an instant lift on a hot day. Use this gentle lotion as a skin tonic and you will see why the Queen of Hungary was so taken with it.
Medicinally, rosemary is used to treat headaches and lift the spirits. If you have a lot of study to do, or a heavy workload, rosemary tea will help keep you fresh and focused. If you love sport, try steeping rosemary sprigs in a bottle of almond or sunflower oil. Leave the bottle in the sun for a week or two and use it to massage sore muscles and sprains.
Mediterranean woman have long used rosemary to keep their hair dark and beautiful. A simple rinse of rosemary leaves steeped in hot water (cool before use) makes a wonderful conditioning rinse for brown or dark hair. Rosemary stimulates the scalp and is helpful for hair loss.
Most people know that rosemary is the right herb for cooking lamb, and it certainly makes the best roast lamb you’ve ever tasted. Simply cut deep slits in the roast and insert rosemary leaves with slivers of garlic before cooking for a sweet, tender roast.
But rosemary can also be added to soups and stews to give them extra flavor and goodness, or worked into bread dough to make a delicious accompaniment to any meal. Adding rosemary to a meal aids digestion, which is why it traditionally accompanies rich meats such as lamb.
To store dried rosemary for future use, harvest the long sprigs well after the sun has risen, when the dryness and warmth makes the aromatic oils at their most fragrant. Tie the sprigs in bunches and dry them in an airing closet or hang them in muslin bags in the open.
When the needle like leaves are dry they can be easily rubbed off the sprigs. That’s all you need to do and simply store the rosemary leaves in clean dry jars. Once you have used fresh rosemary from your garden, you will want to use it all year round.