You probably have rosemary in your spice cabinet, even if you don’t typically use it. Although many recipes call for rosemary, cultures have also used this herb as folk medicine to treat headaches, relieve muscle pain and improve memory. However, strong scientific research about all the purported benefits of rosemary is lacking. Rosemary does contain antioxidants, which can help prevent damage from free radicals.
Germany’s Commission E approved rosemary leaf for relieving digestive distresses, including indigestion. The Commission E is responsible for determining the safety and efficacy of herbs. Rosemary is a carminative herb, which can help relieve gas and calm an upset stomach. However, New York Langone Medical Center states that no valid research supports this use. Despite the lack of such evidence, some European herbal practitioners recommend that elderly patients take rosemary to calm indigestion and other stomach ailments.
Rosemary may help to relieve stress and increase concentration and memory, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A 2012 study published in “Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology” discovered that the amount of 1,8-cineole, the primary chemical in rosemary in the blood may affect cognitive performance and mood. Researchers found that the higher concentrations of rosemary led to improved performance on both speed and accuracy tests. Mood was also slightly improved with more rosemary aroma. Drinking rosemary tea would provide the scent of rosemary and thus may help with mental functioning.
New York Langone Medical Center states that rosemary has other potential benefits, but more research is needed. An animal study suggests that rosemary may help mitigate the effects of withdrawals from narcotics. It might also have anti-cancer, blood thinning and diuretic properties. Traditional cultures and Germany’s Commission E often use rosemary oil externally to treat muscle and joint pains. It is unclear if drinking rosemary tea would provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Most of the research on anti-inflammatory properties and rosemary has focused on rosemary extract.
Consult your physician before starting to include rosemary tea in your diet. Rosemary is generally considered safe, but it could cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you take blood thinners, ACE inhibitors or diuretics, rosemary could potentially interact with the medications. People with diabetes, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, colitis or high blood pressure should not drink rosemary tea without talking to their doctor. You can make rosemary tea from fresh or dried leaves.
Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.