Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Weekly Herb- Rosemary


       After putting The Weekly Herb on a bit of hiatus these past few weeks as I buried myself in the blanket of hibernation, I've decided that now that I'm getting back into the feel of blogging again to renew my Weekly Herb postings. When trying to decide what herb to write about this week I'll admit that I rather impulsively chose rosemary after a brief recollection of one of my favourite childhood shows, Rosemary & Thyme. Every week when Rosemary & Thyme came on, my mom would pop a bag of butter popcorn and we'd curl up under the blankets together and watch the two gardeners solve mysteries together. So here's to Rosemary & Thyme and becoming in tune with nature!

A Little Bit of History

         Rosemary derived from the Latin words, 'ros maris' which literally translates to "dew of the sea", was most likely named after its native Mediterranean home along the shore line. Later as Christian influences began to dominate, this herb was named as the Rose of Mary, referring the to Christianity's Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

       During the Middle Ages it was believed that rosemary held protective powers which could dispel negativity and as such it was commonly placed beneath pillows before bed, to prevent nightmares. Rosemary has also been incorporated into wreaths and bouquets since the middle ages to stimulate 'happiness of hearth and home'.

      Historically rosemary has also been associate with love, marriage and fidelity. English folklore encouraged a bride to give her groom a sprig of rosemary on their wedding night to ensure his fidelity. Both Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon's first wife and Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife are said to have incorporated rosemary into their marriages. Josephine reportedly encouraged Napoleon to bathe in rosemary scented waters before their couplings and Anne of Cleves wore rosemary in her hair on her wedding day. Considering that Anne of Cleves was one of only two of Henry VIII's wives who survived him I personally think that rosemary must have provided Anne of Cleves with some protection if not a romance.

Medical Properties

      In addition to being a protective herb believed to dispel negativity, it is also traditionally found in medical cabinets. Initially rosemary was believed to cure migraines, joint disorders, poor digestion and muscle aches. Queen Elizabeth of Hungary was even reportedly cured of the joint paint which resulted in her semi-paralysis by sipping on water infused with rosemary.

       Even today rosemary is highly regarded for its medical properties, it is known to contain salicylic acid, a key ingredient in many acne medications and also a preliminary ingredient in aspirin. Today rosemary oil is used as a massage oil to soothe sore joints.

      Researches have also discovered that the plant contains certain chemicals which inhibit the degradation of acetylcholine (a necessary chemical for proper brain function). As many alzheimer's patients suffer from a loss of acetylcholine it is plausible that in future rosemary may be incorporated into medications to treat memory failure.

Magical Properties 

Protection: Associated with its negativity dispelling qualities
Healing:Associated with it medical properties
Memory / Mental Clarity: Due to its preventative role against acetylcholine degradation
Love: Due to its incorporations into marriage ceremonies

Planet: The Sun
Elements: Fire, I would also add water considering as it is named "dew of the sea"


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