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Rosemary Benefits And Side effects And Uses

rosemary benefits

Rosemary, an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean region, has long been celebrated for its multifaceted benefits, intriguing side effects, and versatile uses.

Beyond its culinary charm, rosemary boasts a rich history in traditional medicine and modern research, offering a spectrum of potential advantages for health and well-being.

Let’s explore the fascinating world of rosemary, delving into its diverse applications and understanding its effects.

What are the Health Benefits of Rosemary?

Limited research suggests that rosemary may have health benefits. Most studies focus on high-dose extracts and essential oils, unlike culinary rosemary. More research is needed for conclusive evidence. Some of these benefits are:

Therapeutic Compounds

Rosemary extract contains phenolic acids, flavonoids, and diterpenoids, showcasing antioxidative and antimicrobial qualities. It’s utilised in food preservation, particularly in meats and oils like beef and pork, to deter oxidation and contamination.

A 2018 study indicates its potential as a natural alternative to synthetic antioxidants in food and beverage products. The effectiveness in preservation hinges on the extraction method and compound concentration.


Research suggests rosemary essential oil in aromatherapy may enhance exam performance in students and cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. Its inclusion in massage therapy could alleviate nerve pain and enhance the quality of life for those with diabetes. However, further research is necessary to comprehensively grasp its health benefits.

Cognitive Benefits

Research indicates rosemary may improve cognitive health. A 2018 study showed drinking rosemary extract-infused water enhanced cognitive performance in adults. Another study from 2013 suggested rosemary leaf extract could treat and prevent dementia.

Additionally, a 2012 study indicated rosemary might boost cognitive function in older individuals. While promising, further research is necessary to confirm these findings.

Improves Mood and Sleep in Some People

There’s some indication that consuming rosemary supplements at high doses could potentially enhance mood and enhance sleep quality among healthy adults.

A study conducted in 2017 with a small sample size revealed that university students who took a daily dose of 1,000 mg of rosemary for a month experienced reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as better sleep quality, compared to those who received a placebo treatment.

Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties

Rosemary possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties due to its rich content of carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, which inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes.

Additionally, its high levels of antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids help combat oxidative stress, shielding cells from damage caused by free radicals.

These properties make rosemary a valuable herb for promoting overall health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Digestive Health and Detoxification

Rosemary aids digestion by stimulating bile flow, easing bloating, and reducing indigestion. Its antioxidants, like carnosic acid, may protect the digestive system from inflammation and oxidative stress.

While it supports liver function, there’s limited evidence directly linking rosemary to detoxification. However, its overall health-promoting properties may indirectly support the body’s natural detox processes.

Culinary Uses

Rosemary is a versatile herb widely used in culinary practices. Its aromatic, piney flavour enhances roasted meats, poultry, and vegetables, adding depth to dishes like roasted potatoes or grilled lamb. It infuses oils and vinegar, elevates bread, and complements cheeses.

Rosemary also shines in marinades, soups, and sauces, offering a fragrant and savoury essence to various cuisines.

Skin and Hair Care

Rosemary offers numerous benefits for skin and hair. Its antioxidant properties help combat free radicals, reducing signs of ageing and promoting skin elasticity. Additionally, rosemary’s anti-inflammatory properties can soothe skin irritation and promote scalp health, potentially stimulating hair growth.

Its natural astringent properties also help balance oily skin and scalp, making it a versatile ingredient in skincare and haircare routines.

Pain Relief and Muscle Relaxation

Rosemary contains compounds like rosmarinic acid and carnosol, which possess anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds may inhibit certain enzymes involved in inflammation and pain pathways, helping to relax muscles and alleviate discomfort.

Additionally, rosemary’s aroma has been suggested to have calming effects, potentially aiding in stress reduction, which can indirectly contribute to muscle relaxation and pain relief.

You Can Also Read: Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

What are the Side Effects of Using Rosemary?

Rosemary is safe in culinary amounts or topically. Excessive use, especially concentrated forms like essential oils, can lead to side effects, such as:

  • Allergic reactions: Symptoms include skin irritation, itching, redness, or respiratory issues.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Consumption of large amounts may result in stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
  • Seizures: Especially in those prone to seizures or epilepsy, excessive intake or use of concentrated rosemary oil may trigger seizures.
  • Skin irritation: Direct application of concentrated rosemary oil may cause irritation, redness, or a burning sensation, particularly in sensitive skin.
  • Blood clotting: Rosemary’s compounds may thin blood, potentially increasing bleeding risk, especially when combined with anticoagulants.
  • Hypotension: Excessive consumption might cause low blood pressure, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

Use rosemary in moderation, consulting healthcare professionals before concentrated forms or supplements, especially with underlying health conditions or medications. Pregnant women should use caution due to potential complications.

What Precautions Should Be Taken When Using Rosemary?

Rosemary is a commonly used herb in cooking and herbal medicine, but it’s important to take certain precautions when using it, like:

Allergic Reactions

  • Some individuals may be allergic to rosemary.
  • If you have known allergies to other herbs in the mint family, such as basil, oregano, or thyme, you may also be allergic to rosemary.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming large amounts of rosemary.
  • It’s considered safe in normal culinary amounts, but large medicinal doses could potentially be harmful.

Medication Interactions

  • Rosemary may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and lithium.
  • If you’re taking any medications, consult with your healthcare provider before using rosemary medicinally.

Skin Sensitivity

  • Rosemary oil and extracts can cause skin irritation in some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin.
  • Always dilute rosemary oil properly before applying it to the skin.

High Dosages

  • Consuming large amounts of rosemary or rosemary supplements may lead to stomach irritation, kidney irritation, or even toxicity.
  • Stick to culinary amounts in cooking unless under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Essential Oil Use

  • Rosemary essential oil is potent and should be used sparingly and with caution.
  • It should not be ingested without proper dilution and guidance from a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare provider.


  • Rosemary oil should not be used on children under the age of two.
  • Caution should be exercised when using it on older children.
  • Use essential oils sparingly and always dilute them correctly.

Medical Conditions

  • Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy or high blood pressure, should use rosemary cautiously.
  • It may exacerbate these conditions in some cases.

Use rosemary responsibly and moderately like any herbal supplement. For guidance or concerns, consult a healthcare professional or qualified herbalist.

You Can Also Read: Benefits of Taking Fish Oil


Rosemary emerges as a versatile herb, offering an array of health benefits while warranting caution due to potential side effects. Its rich history and diverse applications underscore its enduring significance.

At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult a dietitian, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment at the CK Birla Hospital.


How Much Rosemary Can You Consume Safely?

Rosemary is safe in culinary amounts. Avoid consuming large medicinal doses; excessive intake can cause vomiting, spasms, or pulmonary oedema.

Can Rosemary Help in Weight Loss?

Rosemary may aid weight loss by improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and potentially enhancing metabolism, but more research is needed.

Is Rosemary Oil Safe for Everyone?

Rosemary oil can be irritating to sensitive skin and may have adverse effects in pregnant women; consult a healthcare professional.

Can Rosemary Improve Brain Function?

Rosemary may enhance cognitive performance and memory, attributed to its compounds like carnosic acid, but more research is needed for validation.

Are There Any Risks in Using Rosemary for Cooking?

Rosemary used in cooking is generally safe; avoid consuming large amounts, which may lead to adverse effects in some individuals.

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