Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits, Rosemary Essential Oil Uses & More
I’m quite sure that we’ve all encountered Rosemary at some point in our lives. Whether in the garden, kitchen or as an essential oil it has a delightful, aromatic, floral and somewhat piney smell. The smell of rosemary is very nostalgic to me. It always takes me back to my childhood years. In fact, it is also known as the ‘herb of remembrance.’
Growing up on a smallholding, I remember helping my mother tend to her herb garden on a regular basis. She used to surround the herb garden with rosemary bushes as a way of keeping pests out as it’s naturally pest-resistant. to encourage bee activity in the spring-time.
Rosemary is an evergreen shrub, so it looks nice all year long and provides a consistent yield all year round. We had so much that it was a common ingredient in most of my mother’s dishes and baking experiments. It was only later in life that I actually encountered rosemary oil for the first time. The smell immediately took me back to that herb garden all those years ago. It’s a powerful and potent essential oil and should be used sparingly, but it’s incredibly effective and has many uses.
From aromatherapy, skincare, and massage oil, to a natural disinfectant and immunity booster -- rosemary essential oil is really a testament to the strength and versatility of natural products. A real gift from basket that nature provides for us.
What Is Rosemary Essential Oil? Where Does It Come From?
The rosemary bush is native to the Mediterranean regions and used during the time of the Roman and Greek empires. In fact, its name is derived from the Latin word Rosmarinus officinalis. Rosemary directly translates to ‘dew of the sea’ (a fun google fact) and has its place in Greek mythology. According to Natural History written by the historian Pliny, Aphrodite (goddess of beauty) was born from the sea draped in rosemary.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, rosemary is an evergreen shrub that is easy to grow and drought-resistant. This makes it ideal for large-scale cultivation. Because of this, rosemary is grown and cultivated all around the world. Some of the largest suppliers are in the USA and Europe. However, France and Spain have become the largest suppliers.
You might be wondering how rosemary essential oil is made. Rosemary oil is the pure extract that is derived from the bush via a variety of different extraction methods. The most commonly utilized method for extracting rosemary essential oil is through a process known as steam distillation. The oil separates from the organic matter by the effects of high pressure caused by steam in the distillation chamber.
Heat breaks down the organic matter and vapor carries small particles of essential compounds to the condensation chamber. Droplets form in the cooling process in the form of pure extract oil. Because its popularity and large-scale cultivation, it’s very affordable and should cost less than $10 per 10 ml on average.
What can Rosemary Essential Oil be used for?
There are many uses of rosemary essential oil. It can be used to treat everything from the flu and the common cold to headaches and nausea. It works well as a mild analgesic and also has strong natural antioxidant properties. Consequently, it is great for helping you detox your system and stay healthier for longer. However, the beneficial uses of rosemary oil don’t just stop there.
About 2 months ago, I accidentally clipped my leg on a branch whilst cycling on an off-road course. The cut wasn’t anything severe. It was an open wound and I was worried about a possible infection.
Whilst on the trail I simply applied a plaster I had with me in my bag, but when I got home I took a warm shower and gently applied a few drops of rosemary oil (and a little lemongrass essential oil extract) to the wound with some cotton wool and dressed it neatly. The oils worked immediately and I felt the light sting of antiseptics going to work on my wound.
I applied the solution twice daily. Within a week, the wound had healed very well and there were no signs of infection or long-term scarring whatsoever. Now I carry a mixture of rosemary oil and lemongrass oil in my bag whenever I go for a ride.
Rosemary Essential Oil For Hair Health
Essential oils are rapidly becoming commonplace in treating and sustaining hair health in both men and women. When used correctly, their natural qualities have amazing and lasting benefits on hair follicles and the scalp. The best part is that there are no side-effects -- or high prices! A lot of people worry that using essential oils will leave hair feeling messy and oily. The key is in using the right oils for the right reasons and ensuring that you follow the correct methods when it comes to applying the oils to your hair.
Many benefits of rosemary essential oil for hair comes from its natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is applicable to hair in the form a hot oil treatment or as an active ingredient in a DIY conditioner. It will help relieve your scalp of any inflammation (which is normally caused by poor diet or circulation problems) that may often lead to a dry and itchy scalp, the route cause of most cases of dandruff.
So essentially, it’s a healthy alternative to costly anti-dandruff shampoos that often dry your hair follicles out or can leave your hair with less nutrients and less volume.
What is the Hot Oil Method and why is it Beneficial For Your Hair?
The hot oil method is essentially heating rosemary oil with a carrier oil such as coconut or castor oil. After mixing, let the oil cool until you can handle the mixture without burning yourself. Then simply massage the concoction into your hair from the scalp down.
After 15 minutes, be sure to wash the mixture out by shampooing as per normal (preferably a natural shampoo product or conditioner -- the fewer ingredients the better). By utilizing this method, the natural antioxidants and conditioning agents penetrate the hair follicles much deeper. This will strengthen and nourish the hair from the core.
By utilizing the hot oil technique, you also remove any excess oil that may remain in the hair follicles or on your scalp. The excess oil often leads to greasy or ‘clumpy’ hair.
Rosemary Oil For Hair Growth
Rosemary is very useful for promoting hair growth when used correctly. In fact, it forms the basis of many natural (and typical pharmaceutical) products aimed at stimulating hair growth or slowing/preventing hair-loss. Generally, over-exposure to air-pollution or constant use of chemical treatments on your hair can lead to the buildup of free-radicals in your follicles and scalp. Free radicals will block up your pores and could even lead to poor blood cell circulation when left untreated for a long time.
This could slow hair growth and in some cases even lead to hair loss. Rosemary is rich in natural antioxidants which will help to encapsulate and remove free-radicals.
One main cause of alopecia in men is based on a biochemical process that may occur anytime after puberty. Essentially there is an enzyme in your hair follicles (known as ‘5-alpha-reductase’). This enzyme converts the testosterone that your body produces into a hormone known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
The DHT becomes stuck in the base of your hair follicles and slows your hair’s natural rate of growth. It can eventually even ‘choke’ the follicles, causing them to fall out or die off at the stem. Massaging rosemary oil into your scalp will inhibit the production of DHT. In turn, it allows the hair to grow at a steady rate and ensuring long-term health.
Rosemary Essential Oil For Skin Benefits
As I mentioned before, rosemary oil is a strong natural antiseptic. It’s an ideal topical treatment for open wounds and in preventing bacterial infections such as athlete’s foot. Like I said, I always carry a bottle of the stuff around with me whenever I go cycling. The same applies to those who go to the gym often or workout a lot.
There are so many benefits found in rosemary essential oil for your skin health. The oil has a pleasant and long-lasting aroma and can be an effective natural ‘roll-on’ deodorant. It not only makes your pits smell good, it kills germs or bacteria that linger after a workout. This means that you’ll smell fresh and feel good for longer. There’s no risk of staining your clothes or drying out your skin. This happens quite regularly with most standard roll-on types.
Try applying rosemary oil to areas afflicted by muscle pain. It will improve blood circulation, alleviates you of direct pain, and will leave your skin balanced and moisturized. Rosemary is also great for targeting cellulite and stretch marks. The plant’s natural ability to improve blood circulation means that your body is able to flush out toxins more regularly.
The flushing of toxins leads to healthier skin. Helping blood circulation improves skin elasticity and ensures that your skin re-hydrates quicker -- helping speed up the healing process. Rosemary acts as an antirheumatic agent. This means it can help reduce joint pain often caused by heavy lifting or rheumatism.
Rosemary Oil For Acne
The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of rosemary oil mean that it can remove any germs or excess debris (free-radicals) that may get stuck to your skin and buildup over time. This buildup of debris and dead skin cells (something happens every day and is unavoidable), coupled with an excess of sebaceous oil produced by naturally oily skin types generally leads to blockages which cause blemishes on our skin such as blackheads and can eventually lead to acne.
By washing your face regularly with warm water and gently applying the rosemary oil with cotton wool to the affected areas, you essentially moisturize and tone your skin while allowing the antibacterial qualities to take effect and kill off any germs. However, it is important to note that skin conditions like acne aren’t always treatable entirely from a topical approach. It is important to ensure that you are getting enough rest on a daily basis and that your body is regularly hydrated (at least 2 liters of H2O a day).
However, rosemary is effective in treating topical skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. One of the many benefits of the essential oil is that it conditions and moisturizes the affected area as well as fighting inflammation and removing excess skin cells. It’s a wonderful natural replacement for the countless pharmaceutical creams and lotions that cost a small fortune and often have severe side-effects.
— SF Massage Supply (@SFMassageSupply) February 17, 2017
How To Make Rosemary Essential Oil
There are two really simple ways to producing your very own rosemary essential oil in the comfort of your own home, and I’ll explain both to you briefly!
- Place 1 cup of rosemary leaves in a slow cooker and add 2 cups of sunflower oil to that, covering the oil.
- Set the slow cooker to low heat and allow it to simmer for 6 hours.
- Once the time has elapsed, filter the oil through a sieve or cheesecloth filter -- the remaining oil is what you’re after.
Note, if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can also bring a medium-sized pot of water to a simmer (not boiling) and place a heat-resistant glass bowl on top of that with the rosemary and sunflower oil inside and cover with a lid or thick cloth.
Option 2 is really simple, it just takes a lot longer. Place a cup of rosemary in a seal-able glass container and then fill the container with your carrier oil (extra virgin olive oil also works well). Then simply leave the jar on a sunny windowsill or outside in the sun for about a week. Filter the oil through a sieve or cheesecloth and voila! Rosemary oil.
Rosemary has played a real part in my life -- outside of healthcare and my passion for natural products. By learning how this plant plays such an important role in nature first hand, I gained my first insights into the workings of the so-called ‘natural way’ as a child. Experience like that is truly priceless. On the other hand, the logical adult in me is inspired by how much influence a simple herb has on the history of our species.
From inspiring myth and legend to healing those affected by all means of ailments -- rosemary is more than just a herb. It’s really a solution, a tool -- perhaps even a symbol. A symbol of how if we take the time to really focus on our surroundings and our environment, we’ll realize that everything we’ve ever really needed is quite often right in front of eyes, waiting to be discovered, utilized or harnessed.