Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

Family: Labiatae

Hindi Name: Rusmary

Rosemary is native to the dry hills of the Mediterranean, from Spain westward to Turkey. It is cultivated in Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, England, US and Mexico.

Rosemary is strongly aromatic, resinous and slightly bitter. Rosemary leaves have the fragrance of tea, and crushed rosemary has an agreeable and fragrant, spicy aroma with a camphoraceous taste. The herb and root of rosemary are the parts used for culinary purposes.

Dried rosemary leaves have the following typical composition:

  • Moisture: 5.7 %
  • Protein: 4.5 %
  • Fat: 17.4 %
  • Fibre: 19 %
  • Carbohydrates: 47.4 %
  • Ash: 6 %
  • Calcium: 1.5 %
  • Phosphorus: 0.70 %
  • Iron: 0.03 %
  • Sodium: 0.04 %
  • Potassium: 1 %
  • Vit A: 175 1U/100g
  • Vit B1: 0.51 mg/l00g
  • Vit B2: 0.04 %
  • Niacin: 1 %
  • Vit C: 61.3mg/100g

The leaves contain about 1-2.5 per cent essential oil. Cinoel, camphor, borneol, acetate, alpha-pinene and others contribute to the complex taste. The oil of rosemary is distilled from the plant tops and used medicinally. Rosemary contains tannic acid; which is a bitter resin and a volatile oil. It is more potent in the dried than in the fresh state.

Rosemary is a popular spice in many Western countries, but its usage is most popular in the Mediterranean countries, especially Italy and France. It is present in the spice mixture, herbes de Provence, and bouquet garni. It may be used to flavour vinegar. It also used for fish, meat and poultry, and also for vegetables. It is frequently used for potatoes, and for vegetables fried in olive oil.

In Italian cuisine, mutton is hardly ever cooked without rosemary. Here even broiled poultry wrapped in rosemary twigs is very popular.

Fresh tender tops are used for garnishing, and for flavouting cold drink, pickles, soups and other foods. The dried and powdered leaves are mixed, with sage in pork and veal stuffings.

Rosemary oil is used in room sprays and inhalants. Superior graded oil is used in eau-de-cologne, and for flavouring sauces, stews, soups and meats. The volatile oil is used in perfumery and medicine. Rosemary is tonic, astringent, and diaphoretic and stimulant. The essentail oil is also stomachic, nervine and carminative and cures many types of headache. The oil is also said to ward off the formation of dandruff when applied on the scalp regularly.

Rosemary tea is said to remove colic, colds, headache, nervous diseases and flatulence. A few drops of rosemary oil taken internally, act as a heart stimulant. The tincture obtained by mixing oil of rosemary in alcohol is used as a circulatory and cardiac stimulant. Shampoos and hair lotions containing pure extract of rosemary prevent baldness. The flowering top and leaves are used for vapour baths in rheumatism.

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