Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralising harmful particles called free radicals.
In Europe, rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion In fact, Germany's Commission E has approved rosemary for the treatment of indigestion. However, it should be noted that there is currently no meaningful scientific evidence to support this claim.
Enhancing memory and concentration
According to research outlined in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, the aroma from rosemary can improve a person's concentration, performance, speed, and accuracy and, to a lesser extent, their mood.
Scientists have found that rosemary may also be good for your brain. Rosemary contains an ingredient called carnosic acid, which can fight off damage by free radicals in the brain.
Some studies have suggested that rosemary may significantly help prevent brain ageing. The therapeutic ability of rosemary for prevention of Alzheimer's shows promise, but more studies are needed.
Another study, published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, concluded that rosemary might be useful as an anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.
Also, a report published in the Journal of Food Science revealed that adding rosemary extract to ground beef reduces the formation of cancer-causing agents that can develop during cooking.
Protection against macular degeneration
A study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, led by Dr. Stuart A. Lipton, Ph.D. and colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, revealed that a carnosic acid, which is a major component of rosemary, can significantly promote eye health.
This could have clinical applications for diseases affecting the outer retina, such as age-related macular degeneration - the most common eye disease in the United States.
Rosemary is usually safe when taken in low doses. However, extremely large doses can trigger serious side effects, although this is rare.
Side effects include:
- pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)
High doses of rosemary may cause miscarriage; therefore it is not advisable for pregnant women to take any supplemental rosemary.
Rosemary can affect the activity of some medications, including:
- Anticoagulant drugs: These include blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin, Aspirin, and Clopidogrel.
- ACE inhibitors: These are used for treating high blood pressure. They include lisinopril (Zestril), fosinopril (Monopril), captopril (Capoten), and enalapril (Vasotec).
- Diuretics: These increase the passing of urine and include hydrocholorothiazide and furosemide (Lasix).
- Lithium: This is used to treat the manic episodes of manic depression. Rosemary can act as a diuretic and cause lithium to reach toxic levels in the body.