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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves that are used in cooking. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes many other herbs. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m tall, rarely 2 m. The leaves are evergreen, 2-4 cm long and 2-5 mm broad, green above, and white below with dense short woolly hairs. The flowers are variable in colour, being white, pink, purple, or blue.
The name rosemary has nothing to do with the rose or Mary, but derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, which is presumed to mean "dew of the sea", though some think it too may be derived from an earlier name.
The fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine as a herb; a tisane can also be made from them.
Since it is attractive and tolerates some degree of drought, it is also used in landscaping, especially in areas having a Mediterranean climate. It can in fact die in over-watered soil, but is otherwise quite easy to grow for beginner gardeners. It is very pest-resistant.
Rosemary has been found to be a stimulant and mild analgesic, and has been used to treat headaches, epilepsy, poor circulation, and many ailments for which stimulants are prescribed.
Can be used as a disinfectant, fever, as a mouth wash and for rheumatism.
Externally it can be used in hair lotions a few drops of Rosemary oil massaged into the scalp then rinsed with an infusion of nettles can revitalise the hair. Used in this manner it supposed to prevent premature baldness. Rosemary is also reported to stop dandruff.
Hungary water was first invented for a Queen of Hungary to 'renovate vitality of paralysed limbs'. It was used externally and is prepared by mixing 180g of fresh rosemary tops in full flower into a litre of spirits of wine. Leave to stand for four days then distill. It is also supposed to work as a remedy against gout if rubbed vigoursly on hands and feet.
For a tonic against headaches put some sprigs into a teapot add hot water strain and serve.
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