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6 Amazing Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil and 6 wonderful ways to use it

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

Rosemary is famed as the ‘ultimate’ hair-growth facilitating Essential Oil.

A Rosemary blend is quickly absorbed by the scalp and soon its properties take over, stimulating the very micro-capillaries around the follicle roots.

But did you know how fatal Rosemary Essential Oil can be, on cancerous cells and tumours? … with its potency to significantly debilitate them through its ‘free-radical’ scavenging effect (a.k.a anti-oxidant property)

Or how Rosemary Essential Oil can help combat UV exposure, aging, cellulite…?

Rosemary is known to aid memory and learning by enhancing concentration. Its sharp stinging aroma can spark a zing and perk up the fuzzed up.

Rosemary Essential oil can also be an effective analgesic in managing pain and inflammation when blended with Peppermint, Lavender and Wintergreen…

Studies have even shed light on the scientific effects of Rosemary Essential oil on the Nervous system, on pesky Fungal and Bacterial infections as well as Diabetes and Alzheimer’s

Well let’s find out more right away. This post will discuss:

A. What is Rosemary Essential Oil?

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis earlier and now Salvia Rosmarinus) is an evergreen, aromatic, shrubby herb, native to Asia & Europe especially the Mediterranean regions.

Rosemary Essential Oil is derived from steam distillation of the fragrant needle like leaves.

Rosemary Essential Oil’s curative and potent, bioactive molecules like Triterpenes (ursolic, oleanolic acid), tricyclic diterpenes (carnosic acid and carnosol), phenolic acids (caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid) made it indispensable in traditional medicine for many millennia. Find out more about Essential oils therapeutic benefits here

Considered sacred to Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, the oldest mention of Rosemary has been found on cuneiform stone tablets as early as 5000(BCE). Pliny’s ‘The Natural History’ and Dioscorides’ cult herb-medicine book ‘De Materia Medica’ are both full of Rosemary prescriptions. To know more about the history of aromatherapy click here

B. How to use Rosemary Essential Oil (Top 4 blends).

1. Concentrate Better with Rosemary Essential Oil

Diffuse a blend of Rosemary, Basil and Peppermint Essential oils when you have a hard time concentrating.

Or when you feel overwhelmed, like there’s too much at hand.

Alternately simply inhale a few drops on your kerchief.

Bring in alertness,clarity and confidence, get rid of confusion and frustration.

2. Gorgeous tresses with Rosemary Essential Oil

Blend this combination of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils with virgin Coconut/ Jojoba/ Argan or Sweet almond carrier oil and store in an air tight glass bottle. Find out about the top 21 carrier oils with their skin/hair benefits.

Massage this blend onto your scalp in gentle circular motions of fingertips for 15 minutes, twice a week. Leave overnight and wash off the next day. Repeat each week.

3. Headache Relief with Rosemary Essential Oil

When that splitting headache due to exertion, heat or something else makes it hard to withstand the day's grind, simply settle down and let this wonderful aroma fill up your room and your senses.

Diffuse or inhale this combination of Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender and Eucalyptus Essential Oils and let that pesky headache run for cover!

Alternately add these essential oils to a natural balm base, blend well and massage over your forehead and temples for quick relief.

4. Pain and inflammation relief with Rosemary Essential Oil

For those chronically painful and inflammatory areas, like the knee, the back, the calves or the neck, keep this blend of Rosemary, Wintergreen, Peppermint, Lavender and Eucalyptus handy in an airtight container.

Either mix this combination of essential oils into a natural balm base or in a neutral carrier oil like coconut oil/ sunflower oil.

Massage on to the affected area. Essential oils being volatile, the unabsorbed oil will evaporate quickly. So, repeat application and massage every few hours.

More ways to use Rosemary Essential Oil

5. Anti-bacterial deodoriser with Rosemary Essential Oil

Add 20 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil to 500 ml spray bottle with 25% grain alcohol and spritz all over for a wonderful, energising rush and also an aromatic anti-bacterial deodoriser. Tea Tree And Lemon Essential Oils can also be added to this deodoriser

6. Beating exhaustion, fatigue, stress and anxiety with Rosemary Essential Oil

Diffusing a few drops of Rosemary Essential oil can help beat fatigue by stimulating nerves and bringing about mental alertness. Citrus aromas like Lemon, Sweet Orange and floral aromas like Lavender, Geranium can aslo be added to this blend.

C. What are the research/ evidence based benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil?

Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil, evidence based:

Volumes of research have been conducted to test the efficacy of Rosemary essential oil. Scientists cum researchers have come away impressed with the feats this humble herb can perform. Research shows how folk medicine used Rosemary for treating renal colic, dysmenorrhea, and muscle spasms (1, 2 )

Overall studies on the flora of Rosemary (1,2, 3,4) also present its antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antidepressant, antiulcerogenic, and antioxidant activities. and its applications in disorders related to nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, menstrual, hepatic, and reproductive systems and others [2].

1. Rosemary essential oil benefits for hair, evidence based.

Hair loss can cause tremendous anxiety.

In one study (5) Rosemary was tested for its clinical efficacy in treatment of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) (baldness/ extensive hair loss) vis-a-vis the popular hair growth drug Minoxidil (2%). It was found that both groups experienced a significant increase in hair count after regular use over 6 months.

Another study (6) involving 86 participants who massaged their scalp daily with a Rosemary, Lavender Essential Oil blended with grapeseed/ Jojoba carrier oil showed a 44% improvement in hair growth (computer analysis).

Other studies have also analysed the hair growth facilitating properties of Rosemary Essential Oil. (7,8)

The conclusion was that Rosemary Essential oil improves microcirculation surrounding hair follicles, inducing vascularity that helps hair follicle regeneration.

2. Rosemary Essential Oil benefits for Skin, evidence based

The skin is the largest organ in the human body; sensation, regulation, and protection are among its most critical functions.

Rosemary essential oil has been found to be effective in permeating the skin simply by topical application. It means one doesn’t have to necessarily consume it to get benefits of its bioactive compounds.

A study proved that essential oil rich in monoterpenoids, especially 1,8-cineole, such as Rosemary Essential Oil are capable of promoting cutaneous absorption (9). This means greater ability to pass on its therapeutic benefits simply by topical application.

(a) Rosemary essential oil for Skin problems such as acne, dandruff, oily congested skin

Studies show that Rosemary in a blend has the ability to mositurize (10) (11) (12) the skin effectively despite its astringent like properties. Rosemary Essential oil has been effective as proved in the studies to reduce pigmentation, acne, dandruff, bacterial/fungal infections and balancing sebum especially oily congested skin (13, 14,15,16,17,18,19,20)

(b) Rosemary Essential oil for Cellulite

A study (21) where 44 women with mild to severe cellulite used a cream with Rosemary and extracts of two other plants showed improvement in the appearance of the cellulite [22].

(c) Rosemary Essential Oil as anti-fungal treatment

Rosemary Essential oil was tested against fungal infections also known as dermatophytes as they live off the keratin on skin, mucous membranes, hair, nails and other body surfaces, causing many related diseases.

It was found that Rosemary essential oil with an 8% concentration was able to inhibit the growth of common fungal and yeast infection culprits like Candida albicans, Candida dubliniensis, Candida parapsilosis, and Candida krusei [23].

A similar study conducted on some more common dermatophytes- skin/hair/nail infection culprits like Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton rubrum, showed that a 10% concentration of Rosemary Essential Oil could inhibit its growth by around 86% [24].

(d) Rosemary Essential oil as Anti- aging serum

Aging is a process that happens internally on a cellular level accelerated by external lifestyle factors such as excessive sun exposure, improper nutrition, sedentary habits and addictions like smoking, and drinking.

These factors together lead to the production of reactive oxygen species and when these surpass the cell’s neutralization capacity, the cell gets damaged leading to aging or diseases like cancer.

So free radicals left unchecked lead to oxidative stress and aging.

Rosemary Essential Oil has strong antioxidant properties (25,26) due to its phenolic compounds. This helps it scavenge on free radicals and reduce the oxidative stress, thereby keeping the cell health better and delay aging.

3. Rosemary Essential Oil benefits for Diabetes care, evidence based

One study found Rosemary Essential oil had a significant α-glucosidase inhibitory activity – a 60% decrease (27), while, in another study, Rosemary Essential Oil came out as the most potent among 31 other extracts of herbs and spices tested (28)

Another study concluded that Rosemary Essential Oil’s phenolic constituents, particularly carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, and carnosol, could combat diabetes by regulating glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism and hence has anti-hyperalgesic and neuroprotective properties (29)

4. Rosemary Essential oils benefits as an Anti-Inflammatory agent, evidence based

Rosemary’s The bioactive compounds of Carnosol, carnosic acid, ursolic, oleanolic and micromeric acids lend the Rosemary essential oil with its anti-inflammatory properties. (30,31) This is a critical property that must be possessed by a medicine to be efficacious across a variety of disorders.

5. Rosemary Essential Oils benefits to the Nervous system, evidence based

Rosemary Essential Oil compounds particularly rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid are being recognized as promising natural medicines in the treatment of the nervous system disorders (32)

(a) Rosemary Essential oil to enhance Memory and learning, aid in dealing with Alzheimer’s

Free radicals are responsible for oxidative stress and aging. Rosemary Essential oil polyphenols rich in antioxidants are an effective shield here.

In particular the inhibition of prolyl oligopeptidase -POP (an enzyme involved in maturation and degradation of memory related properties) might be effective in enhancing learning or treating Alzheimer’s (39). Rosmarinic acid administered to mice over 2-3 weeks showed a cognitive-improving effect in mice. (40)

Another study conducted on mice administering Rosemary’s anti-oxidant components to them over 90 days revealed positive effects on their memory and learning. (41)

Inhalation of rosemary oil amongst 144 healthy volunteers showed an improvement in their mood as well as their cognitive performance (42).

Another study on Exam students showed the aroma of Rosemary Essential Oil improved performance by enhancing free radical scavenging and lowering cortisol levels (43).

A study showed Rosemary having positive influences on older adults (average age 75yrs) with regards to the speed of their memory as well as time taken to access information from working memory, (44). Another study showed Rosemary Essential oil helped with long-term memory (45)

(b) Rosemary Essential Oil as an Anti- depressant

Regulating the amount of dopamine and dopaminergic pathways is an important goal in controlling depression. Studies conducted on animals show that Rosemary Essential oil has an anti-depressant kind of an effect because of carnosol, ursolic acid, betulinic acid and 1,8-cineole. (33, 34)

(c) Rosemary Essential Oil for Nerve related pain and inflammation

The studies conducted on this, validates the traditional use of Rosemary Essential oil as an effective treatment for neurological disorders (relating to inflammation) and pain relief

In one study Rosemary Essential oil was successfully used to treat chronic constriction injury of sciatic nerve in rats over 14 days (46)

In another similar study Rosemary was able to reduce neuropathic hypersensitivity and protect nervous tissues (47)

Some more studies suggest that Rosmarinic acid could be a promising compound with its ability to protect against neuro-inflammation (48, 49).

6. Rosemary Essential Oil benefits in fighting cancer, evidence based

Rosemary Essential Oil and its Extracts have been extensively studied and recognized as a possible anticancer remedy predominantly because of its antioxidant activity.

As mentioned before, Rosemary essential oil has the capacity to scavenge on free radicals, and guard against oxidative stress and damage to cells. The anticancer action of its main polyphenols: carnosic acid, carnosol, rosmarinic acid, rosmanol, methyl carnosate and betulinic acid have been identified as inflictors of cytotoxicity on cancerous cells. (50)

Listing below some of the studies where Rosemary Essential oil was found valuable in complementing cancer treatment:

(a) Colon Cancer: 51, 52, 53, 54, 55

(b) Gastric Cancer: 56,57

(C) Pancreatic cancer: 58

(d) Hepatocellular Carcinoma: 59,60,61,62,63

(e) Lung Cancer: 64,65,66,67,68

(f) Cerebral neo plasma: 69,70,71,72

(g) Ovarian carcinoma/ Cervical cancer: 73,74,75

(h) Skin cancer: 76,77,78,79

(i) Oral Cancer: 80

(j) Kidney Cancer: 81,82

(k) Prostate Cancer: 83,84,85

(l) Breast Cancer: 86,87,88

References: evidence based study on Rosemary Essential Oil

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