The herbaceous Rosemary oils, have great healing value in skin-and haircare treatments, in a diffuser blend to cleanse the room air and enliven the senses. They are often stimulating, uplifting, and potent. You can use Rosemary oil and the herb as part of a Massage oil, Bath oil, or Skin conditioner.
ROSEMARY – plant & Oil Uses
By Jeanne Rose
Introduction ~ Science is an interesting subject and because it is a living study, it often changes, and those changes can be challenging to understand. In the case of Rosemary, it is the name change that occurred in 2017 that will shake you up.
Common Name/NEW Scientific binomial ~ Salvia rosmarinus (was known as Rosmarinus officinalis) and due to studies done, and DNA analyzed, since 2017 it is a part of the sage genus.
FAMILY ~ Lamiaceae
Other Names and background ~ The species name, rosmarinus, comes from the Latin words ros (dew) and marinus (sea), or dew of the sea, in probable reference to the ability of this plant to thrive well in coastal areas (sea cliffs) and exposure to ocean mists.
Countries of Rosemary Origin ~ Salvia rosmarinus (Rosmarinus officinalis) is produced in various countries: the CT camphor is produced in Spain and Croatia; CT verbenone is produced in California, and France; CT cineole is produced in Morocco/US/France.
Endangered ~ Not threatened. This is an introduced plant to the United States and grows well in many areas.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF ROSEMARY HABITAT, GROWTH, USES ~ “Rosemary is a perennial evergreen herb that is irregularly mounded and is valued for its fragrant, ornamental foliage and as an enhancement in cooking. It blooms from fall to spring. Key ID elements are the aromatic linear leaves which are green on top and whitish underneath, and also the axillary flowers.”1 It grows well in full sun where it often produces camphor, and it grows well in cool damp sunny areas where it will produce the cineol or verbenone type.
PORTION OF Rosemary USED IN DISTILLATION, AND YIELDS ~ The leaves, tops, and flowers are harvested, and steam distilled, and CO2 extracted. “Comminuting the pinene type of Rosemary will cause the bioconversion of alpha-pinene to verbenone. [Some plants need to be distilled fresh, some have to be dried, some semi-dried first, some need to be comminuted, that is, cut into smaller pieces, some need to soak for some hours before distillation. Each plant has different distillation parameter requirements.”2
The Yield: The yield can vary from .4 to .7% but is usually in the range of 1.0-2.0%.
ORGANOLEPTICS of ROSEMARY OIL
ROSEMARY Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment /Chemistry ~
Chemistry and Components ~ CT verbenone is a favorite with its Rosemary scent with a hint of fruitiness, CT camphor that has the scent of mothballs and is used for the application to pimples, and CT cineol that smells quite herbaceous is the most often used for applications. All Rosemary is very eponymous in its scent with herbaceous, and woody notes.
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GENERAL PROPERTIES of the ROSEMARY
Rosemary has three main chemotypes and the CO2. CT verbenone is a favorite in skincare and children’s products, CT camphor for application to pimples, and CT cineol in most other applications for pain or aches.
The camphor type is a vein decongestant, mucolytic, tonic, and possibly diuretic. This type is used for external applications for acne or skincare. Camphor chemotype is produced where it is hot. The camphor type has neuromuscular action that is variable depending on the dose. It is a venous decongestant by external application and powerful mucolytic by inhalation. We use it in massage blends for muscle cramps, joint pain, all around aches and pains.
The cineol type is most often used for Respiratory applications, specific for ear and sinus problems, and general external applications for healing. Inhale and apply.
The verbenone type is used for skincare, for oily or to regenerate the condition of the skin, and in products for delicate or sensitive skin. Inhale and apply.
CO2 Rosemary type. This CO2 extract acts as an antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent. It is standardized in Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil. Rosemary Antioxidant CO2 Extract finds application in formulating creams, lotions, salves, balms and water-free products.
APPLICATION/Skincare ~ Rosemary has three main chemotypes. CT verbenone is a favorite for skincare, haircare and children’s products, with its Rosemary scent hint of fruitiness, CT camphor for application to pimples, and CT cineol in most other applications.
Rosemary has several health-boosting benefits aside from boosting prospective memory, it can be used in massage for pain relief, in bathing as it has antiseptic, antioxidant and astringent and anti-aging properties. Rosemary helps with dry and mature skin to produce more natural oils of its own. Rosemary can also help in getting rid of canker sores.
It is helpful to people who are losing hair and have problems with dandruff as it seems to stimulate hair growth and have less dandruff. Historically, Rosemary has been used to stimulate hair growth. There is one well-known study of 84 people with alopecia areata (a disease in which hair falls out, generally in patches), who massaged their scalps with a combination of Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) Lavender (high elevation), Rosemary (unknown chemotype) and Thyme every day for 7 months experienced significant hair regrowth compared to those who massaged their scalps without the essential oils. But the study was not well designed, and it is impossible to say whether Rosemary caused the hair growth, or it was the combination of oils.
I have made my own shampoo using Rosemary herb (make a standard herbal infusion) as the base with other herbs, calling it “Dark Hair Shampoo” and have been using it and other shampoos that I enhanced with Rosemary herb and sometimes Rosemary oil and 50 years later at 84 my hair is still dark. I give all the credit to Rosemary.
[Herb Infusion: 1 qt. water to a boil, remove from heat, add 1 oz fresh or 1/2 oz dried herb, infuse 20 minutes, then strain. Use the dark liquid as part of your shampoo and herbal rinse.] You can also sip the infusion as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging substance.
Diffusion with Rosemary ~ This is a wonderful oil to diffuse, it is spirited, clean-smelling, vibrant, and its effects are stimulating, uplifting and cleansing. It works in all sorts of blends, particularly herbaceous types and to give sparkling energy to blends with conifers.
Emotional & Energetic ~ Rosemary is feminine in its strength and …” seems to me the wiser, stronger sister of the Lamiaceae family. [Other members are Lavender, Sage and Melissa] Rosemary has spunk and spirit. It is the one to turn to when you feel weak and some stimulation or a strong arm to help you up; it is an oil to remember in the depths of the Canadian winter!” unknown author
BLENDING FOR A PURPOSE ~ Define your purpose and then choose the Rosemary type that best fits the purpose. In certain perfumery odors, you will probably choose the verbenone type, while in massage you will choose the cineol type. Rosemary mixes well with all citrus and citrus scents, resins, Mediterranean herbal scents almost everything except heavy florals. It is used in Cologne, some fern scents, conifer and forest blends and fresh summer odors. Keep the camphor type for therapeutic uses.
Culinary ~ The herb used in all sorts of foods; it is delicious, aids health, is anti-aging, and helps in the production of bile.
HERBAL USE OF ROSEMARY ~ Use this herb in your cooking, in your bath, as part of your shampoo for hair growth, in the rinse waters. Mix herb Rosemary and Lavender together and put in a silk bag and throw into the dryer with clothes to give a clean and fresh scent. Read my book, The Herbal Body Book, for dozens of formulas for the hair, the skin, and the home. The best use is to bathe and shampoo with herbs. Absolutely my favorite is to use herb Rosemary is mixed with Comfrey or Lemon balm and used in the bath as a bath herb (at least a full ounce by weight of the herb(s).
Hydrosol ~ This should be picked and distilled in full flower or just before full flower. At this time the hydrosol will be sweet while later it may be camphoraceous. This hydrosol is stimulating both by external application and internal use. This is the rejuvenating and ‘holding back old age’ hydrosol. It can be taken a teaspoon at a time in a glass of water as a tonic drink, bathed in, used in shampoo or skin care; in other words, submerse yourself in Rosemary herb tea, Rosemary herb and hydrosol baths, and Rosemary essential oil inhalations. The herbal extract and essential oil (and why not the hydrosol) show some powerful uses in diminishing the effects of Alzheimer’s. It is stimulating and when distilled averages 5.5 pH ± .1 …
HYDROSOL — PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
HISTORY & INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ROSEMARY ~ French folklore says that combing the hair once a day with a rosemary wood comb would prevent giddiness and modern folklore says use Rosemary in shampoo and hair rinse helps hair to grow. We also know that it is antioxidant and an anti-aging addition both to the diet and to skincare products.
“For you there’s rosemary and rue; these keep seeming and savour all the winter long: Grace and remembrance be to you….” — W. Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale
Key Use ~ The Herb of Remembrance and the Oil of Anti-Aging and Stimulation
This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.
Books as Reference
Coombs, Allen J. Dictionary of Plant Names. Timber Press. 1995
Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing. Florida. 1976
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose. San Francisco California, 1992
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California.
Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things. Last Gasp Press (ask them to republish it)
Moderation in All Things.
Be moderate in your use of essential oils as they are just not sustainable for the environment.
Be selective and more moderate in your usage.
Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014
Always Look at the color of the essential oils