Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits.The herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes such as rosemary chicken and lamb, but it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. It is typically prepared as a dried whole herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves.Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender. The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning “dew” and marinus meaning “sea” – “sea dew.”The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth
HOW TO GROW
- Get a rosemary cutting.Rosemary is easiest to grow from a cutting, rather than planting seeds. Go to your local nursery and get a cutting, or better yet, find a rosemary plant you admire and clip off a few 4 inch pieces to propagate. The best time to do this is in the late spring, but if you live in a warmer climate, this can be done during early autumn as well. The plants you’ll be able to grow from the cuttings will have the same qualities as the original bush.
- Propagate the rosemary.Put each cutting into a small pot of soil filled with two-thirds coarse sand and one-third peat moss. Set the pot in a sunny place, but not in direct sunlight. Water the cuttings regularly and keep in a warm spot until the roots form, which should take about three weeks.
- To help the cuttings grow, you can place the entire pot inside a plastic bag with a few holes punctured in the top. This will help regulate the temperature and keep things warm and moist.
- You may also dip the tips of the rosemary cuttings in rooting powder to give them a head start.
- Plant the seedlings.Once roots have formed, you can plant the rosemary either in pots or outdoors in your garden. Rosemary will adapt to most growing conditions and is quite hardy. It’s happy with snow, limestone, high temperatures, by the seaside, and all sorts of soils. It will grow its best however, in a warm to hot, fairly dry climate. Choose a full sun aspect that is fairly dry.
- Decide whether you want to keep growing it in pots or as a shrub in the garden. It can also be trained as a delightfully scented hedge. For cooler climates, containers may be best so that you can move them if needed.
- If planting in the garden, choose soil that drains well. Rosemary can suffer from root rot in waterlogged soil. The more alkaline the soil, the more fragrant the rosemary will be. Dig in some lime if the soil is too acid.
- Water rosemary infrequently.Rosemary prefers a drier soil, so don’t overdo the watering. It will be happy with the average garden watering. It likes to source most of its water from rain.
- Don’t worry about fertilizing.This is not an herb that needs it. However, make sure that there is some lime in the soil.
- Bring the pots indoors in winter if you live in a cold place.Though rosemary is hardy, it can suffer in very cold weather and its branches can get damaged when laden with heavy snow. To ensure the plant survives the winter, it’s best to bring it indoors.
- Prune rosemary as needed.Pruning isn’t necessary for the health of the plant, but rosemary bushes tend to grow quite large and take up a lot of garden space. Cut the branches back by a few inches each spring to help them retain their shape.
- Harvest rosemary.Pick sprigs of rosemary leaves as needed. The bush will just keep on happily growing. Since rosemary is evergreen, you can harvest it all year round.
- Store the sprigs in a cool, dry place.You can also freeze rosemary by placing it in food storage bags and storing in the freezer. Alternatively, strip the leaves from the stems and store in airtight jars. Stored this way, rosemary will slowly dry and will keep for several months.
- Water normally and remember to trim the plants.
- Prune the plants back in the spring and summer to contain the growth. You can take some cuttings and plant them indoors in pots, too.
- If you have cold winters, remember to lightly mulch around the plants after the ground freezes.
- Gray mold
- Root rot
- Rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds- these are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
- Improving digestion
- Enhancing memory and concentration
- Neurological protection
- .According to a study published in Cell Journal, carnosic acid “may be useful in protecting against beta amyloid-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus.”
- Prevent brain aging
- Cancer – Research published in Oncolocy Reports found that “crude ethanolic rosemary extract (RO) has differential anti-proliferative effects on human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells.”
- Another study, published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, concluded that rosemary may be an effective herbal anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.