History and OriginRosemary is native to the dry, rocky areas of the Mediterranean, especially along the coast. The genus name Rosmarinus derives from the Latin words rosand marinus which together translate to “dew of the sea.” Rosemary has been used since the time of the early Greeks and Romans. Greek scholars often wore a garland of the herb on their heads to help their memory during examinations. In the ninth century, Charlemagne insisted that the herb be grown in his royal gardens. The Eau de Cologne that Napoleon Bonaparte used was made with rosemary. The herb was also the subject of many poems and was mentioned in five of Shakespeare’s plays.
May Improve Brain Function
In ancient Greece and Rome, rosemary was thought to strengthen memory .Research indicates that inhaling rosemary oil helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical important for thinking, concentration and memory.When 20 young adults were asked math questions in a small room diffused with rosemary oil, their speed and accuracy increased in direct proportion to the duration the oil was diffused.Additionally, their blood levels of certain rosemary compounds likewise increased — illustrating that rosemary can enter your body through breathing alone.Similarly, nursing students who breathed rosemary oil while taking a test reported increased concentration and information recall compared to breathing lavender oil or no essential oil at all.Other research suggests that breathing rosemary and other essential oils may improve brain function in older adults with dementia, including those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Rosmarinus officinalis does well if grown in pots or containers. Provide winter protection if the plant is left outside. This herb is especially susceptible to root rot if it is over watered. Use a light, well-drained soil with some added sand or gravel and wait to water until the soil is slightly dry. Prune to encourage branching and to remove dead leaves and stems. Growing rosemary indoors can be challenging but it is well worth the effort. Indoor plants benefit from a sunny window in a cool room, well-draining soil, and regular misting.
Rosemary in Spell work and Ritual
For magical use, burn rosemary to rid a home of negative energy, or as an incense while you meditate. Hang bundles on your front door to keep harmful people, like burglars, from entering. Stuff a healing poppet with dried rosemary to take advantage of its medicinal properties, or mix with juniper berries and burn in a sickroom to promote healthy recovery.
In spell work, rosemary can be used as a substitute for other herbs such as frankincense. For other magical uses, try one of these ideas:
- Make a Magical Herb Wreath: If you use herbs in your magical practice at all—and many of us do—a great way to incorporate them into your daily life is to use them in decorative ways around your home. One of the most popular ways to do this is by crafting a simple wreath from your favorite magical herbs.
- The essential oil of the rosemary plant is great for cleansing your magical tools, such as athames and wands. If you don’t have any rosemary oil lying around, don’t worry. Get some fresh stalks, and crush the leaves in a mortar and pestle to release the oils and fragrance; rub the crushed leaves on your tools.
- Use in aromatherapy to assist with the memory. Add it to an incense blend with some cinnamon and orange peel, and burn it in your home to make you less forgetful. If you’ve got a big exam or test coming up, wear an amulet bag stuffed with rosemary while you study. This will help you remember the information when it comes time to take your test.
- Herb Bundle: Make an herb bundle to keep harmful people and negative energy from making its way into your home.
- Smudging and Purification: Use dried bundles of rosemary to smudge your home and help create sacred space.
- Because rosemary is associated with both loyalty and fertility, it’s useful in hand fasting ceremonies. Incorporate stalks of rosemary into a bridal bouquet or wreath to wear on your hand fasting day, particularly if you hope to conceive a child in the near future.