Cultivars at the Nursery:
- ROSEMARY - IRENE (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Irene')
- ROSEMARY - MCCONNELLS BLUE (Rosmarinus officinalis 'McConnells Blue')
- ROSEMARY - MISS JESSOP'S UPRIGHT (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Miss Jessop's Upright')
- ROSEMARY - MOUNTAIN MIST (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Mountain Mist')
- ROSEMARY - PINK (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Roseus')
- ROSEMARY - SEVERN SEA (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Severn Sea')
- ROSEMARY - TUSCAN BLUE (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Tuscan Blue')
Rosemary is an aromatic, hardy, drought tolerant, evergreen shrub with upright to sprawling branches and tough needle-like leaves.
There are different varieties of rosemary shrubs and creepers, each with their own growing habits. The rosemary with a dark blue flower is the Italian Rosemary Tuscan Blue which grows upright like a conifer. The most common rosemary is McConnells Blue. There are the unusual rosemary creepers Irene and Mountain Mist as well as the pale blue Severn Sea. There is the white Miss Jessops Upright, & the pink Roseus.
Plant rosemary in full sun, in well-drained, alkaline soil. It can grow up to a metre in height and spread and will tolerate soil pH 5-8. It grows well in containers or can be planted as a hedge. Rosemary does not like too much water and is prone to a die-back virus. If this happens cut the affected branch right off to the main stem and burn it. Do this immediately before the whole plant dies, and reduce the amount of watering it receives. Prune rosemary after flowering to encourage a continuous lush, bushy growth.
Rosemary originated in the southern European countries around the Mediterranean sea. It is one of the most versatile culinary and medicinal herbs in the kitchen and home. It is the symbol of friendship, loyalty and remembrance and in certain countries students still burn rosemary essential oil during exam time to help them concentrate.
Harvesting and the parts that are used:
Pick fresh leaves and flowering tops throughout the year. Rosemary branches can be gathered and dried in the shade for use in teas, tinctures, vinegars, etc.
Rosemary has a pine-like aroma and is superb in cooking. As it is a very strong herb, it must be used sparingly. Add fresh/dried sprigs to flavour meat and poultry, baked foods, vegetable dishes like potatoes, soups, stews and also to make a tea. Remove the sprigs before you dish up. Add very small amounts, chopped, ground or powdered, to bread, biscuits and scones. Steep fresh sprigs of rosemary in oil, vinegar or wine for a rosemary flavoured salad dressing or sauce. Flowering rosemary tops are edible and can be added to salads, herb butter and cottage cheese.
Rosemary was used for centuries to improve memory by improving blood flow to the head and stimulating the nervous system.
Today we know that rosemary is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It contains diterpenes and flavonoids that inhibit free-radical damage and strengthens the capillaries.
It should however be used with caution as it is inclined to raise the blood pressure.
Chew a rosemary flower to cleanse your breath after eating garlic.
A tea made with Rosemary can be taken to :
- treat depression, migraine, disorders of the liver, sluggish digestion, for long-term stress and chronic illness. Consult a herbalist for the best advice in this regard.
- as an excellent antiseptic gargle and mouthwash
- can be used in a final hair rinse to improve the condition of the scalp, treat dandruff, to strengthen hair growth, prevent premature baldness & for additional shine.
Add freshly chopped rosemary to your shampoo — Macerate 15g herb into 250 ml. of ordinary shampoo and stand for 2 weeks before using.
A rosemary rinse will stimulate hair growth after chemotherapy
Rosemary is a stimulant — not to be taken just before bed time.
Contra-indication: People suffering from high-blood pressure should not use Rosemary internally.
An ointment made with Rosemary can be used to treat neuralgia, rheumatism, arthritis, muscular injuries, eczema and minor wounds. I would like to recommend the following simple and inexpensive recipe as written by Margie Frayne in her book "Help yourself to health: a Guide for home health using healing herbs and good nutrition" 2005.
Recipe for Rosemary ointment:
500gm aqueous cream 1 cup of fresh Rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Place these in a double boiler and heat up. The cream will soften and draw out the herbal ingredients. Then allow to stand for a few hours or overnight. Heat up again and strain into a bowl. Store in clean containers with a tight lid. Label the cream with a name and the date it was made as well as what it is for.
Recipe for a fragrant powder. This can be used as a foot powder or for a body powder to reduce odours:
35 gram each cornflour (maizena) and bicarbonate of soda.
1 table spoon each of ground sage, Rosemary and Thyme.
Mix well. Use when required.