Medical Uses of Rosemary

Medical Uses of Rosemary image by Patti Haskins/
Medical Uses of Rosemary image by Patti Haskins/


Rosmarinus officinalis, or rosemary, grows wild on sea cliffs around the Mediterranean. This evergreen bush has flowers that vary in color and small, dense, narrow, pointed leaves. Rosemary grows in many shapes, from rounded bushes to columnar varieties that are 10 feet tall.

Parts Used

Leaves and flowering tops are used in medicinal remedies. Plant clippings can be taken any time of the year and left to air dry. Once completely dry, strip the leaves off the stem and store in an airtight container.


Rosemary contains antioxidants that help stop free radicals before they damage your cells. It also contains antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria and fungi.

External Use

Diluted rosemary essential oil can be used topically to relieve muscle cramps and arthritis pain in the joints. When massaged into the scalp every day for seven months along with thyme, lavender and cedarwood oils, it was found to stimulate hair growth and relieve balding caused by alopecia. But the University of Maryland Medical Center, which reported the study that included 84 people, called the study flawed and cautions that it cannot be concluded that rosemary oil was the effective agent.

Internal Use

Infusions of rosemary are taken internally to ease cramping, bloating and gas. It is a traditional digestive remedy.


Rosemary increases alertness, memory and concentration when used as a tonic. It also reduces fatigue, depression and anxiety and encourages calmness.


Extremely high doses can cause vomiting, spasms, coma, pulmonary edema and miscarriage.


  • University of Maryland Medical Center: Rosemary
  • "The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs"; Reader's Digest; 2009
Keywords: rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, medicinal herb uses

About this Author

Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.

Photo by: Patti Haskins/