The herb Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis in Latin, is often used to complement a number of food dishes. It is a native of Mediterranean regions, and was often mentioned and used in ancient Greek and Roman times as a memory enhancer and as a treatment for certain forms of limb paralysis, it is also mentioned by William Shakespeare in one of his most famous plays, Hamlet. Because of the shrubs’ water holding qualities, it can be easily grown in semi arid climates, and is commonly found in countries like Cyprus, Greece, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel.
Rosemary is a perennial shrub that resembles pine or fir branches in both appearance and taste. It contains an ingredient known as Carnosic Acid which helps to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals, and as a result helps to protect against strokes and neurodegeneration which can bring on conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Studies made in neuroscience journals show that the carnosic acid found in rosemary helps to protect brain cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Rosemary is also considered to be helpful in preventing breast cancer by blocking an overabundance of estrogen hormone, found to cause breast cancer. Women who have breast cancer are often given carnosic acid to help lower estrogen levels. Due to its strong, evergreen-like odor, rosemary can also be used to rid persons of head lice.
From a nutrient standpoint, rosemary is high in iron, calcium, and vitamin B6.
Consuming too much rosemary, however, can be detrimental, and large quantities should not be eaten by women who are breast feeding, or by those who may be allergic to it. As some people are also allergic to rosemary, it should never be consumed by those who may be allergic to it, as it can result in severe symptoms such as vomiting, spasms, coma, and even death.
Despite any potential health hazards, the benefits of rosemary make it a plant of many uses, especially in the kitchen, where its pine-like taste goes great with both meat and fish dishes, as well as vegetables such as sweet potatoes. It also adds a zest to breakfast omelets.
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