Essential Oil 101: Rosemary

Danh NgoEssential Oil, Uncategorized

Isolated sprigs of fresh Rosemary, one with flowers. Shallow depth of field.Many know that Rosemary is a culinary herb but unaware of its medicinal purposes like pain relief, cognitive boost, and for anti-aging skin care.  Rosemary, also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, has been dated all the way back to the Romans, Egyptians, and ancient Egyptian civilization.   There is a myth where the Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue.  The shrub then became known as the “Rose of Mary”.  Rosemary has an anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory medicinal property as shown in Ulbricht’s systematic review in 2010.

Research has shown that Rosemary has a chemical composition that includes polyphenol like carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, and carnosol.  Rosemary has a 10-20% camphor composition which is important as an insect repellent,  stimulation of nerve endings sensitive to cold (analgesic), increase heart rate, suppression of appetite and slower breathing rate.  Silvia Moreno et al. links the antimicrobial and antioxidant property from its polyphenol composition.   Rosemary extracts showed a high radical scavenging activity which is important for cancer treatment and anti-aging care.  As you can see, Rosemary Essential Oil (EO) can be a great fit for your health needs as detailed below.


Essential oil of any plants or herbs is a concentrated version and more powerful than in its natural plant form.  Every essential oil has a wide range of health benefits and purposes but there is usually a primary mechanism that explains the connection of its role.  Rosemary essential oil’s direct benefits come from its ability to increase circulation which is why you might have an increased heart rate and skin flushing (opening of blood vessels).  Lack of circulation is a common reason for having an illness.  If this stagnation of circulation is directed at a specific organ, then you can see specific illness and disease that progresses due to a specific organ not working properly.  A good article that we wrote called “Circle of Life” explains how your simple symptom can be a small sign of something serious.  All organs work off each other so intake and use of Rosemary EO can have an individual profound effect on your health as circulation is vital for life.

ReVITALize Rehab Club focuses on helping people stay active naturally and we believe that our ability to move with or without pain is a reflection of our internal health.  We will dive into how improving our circulation via Rosemary EO will help you feel better.

The ability of Rosemary essential oil to relieve pain has resulted in its extensive use in treating headaches, muscle pains, rheumatism, and arthritis.   Muscle and tendon become susceptible to wear and tear, like tendinitis or strains, when it has poor circulation.  The recent research of chronic tendinitis, newly termed tendinosis, has validated this theory of poor circulation from misuse, abuse, or incomplete recovery after a tendon has been inflamed from an injury.  Lucarini et al showed that the rosmarinic acid plays a role in Rosemary’s anti-inflammatory property.  Rosmarinic Acid seems to be able to suppress 5-lipoxygenase and 5-HETE synthesis (a pro-inflammatory compound in the omega-6 metabolic chain).   Osakabe et al looked at rosmarinic acid ability to suppress inflammation when rats were injected with an inflammatory agent called TPA.

Proper use of Rosemary EO for pain relief includes vapor baths and topical application.  The chemical compound of Rosemary makes it easily absorbed via the skin.  The enhanced circulation is an aid in coagulation of wounds for faster healing, ease in relief for rheumatic and arthritic conditions.  The benefits of Rosemary EO in a joint disease like arthritis is not from a change in joint integrity, but an improved circulation to the joint capsules and neighboring fascia region.  The side effects of more circulation will be a greater ease to move, thus breaking this stiffness-sedentary-pain cycle that arthritis love.

Rosemary Essential Oil uses:

  • Pain relief via increase blood circulation
  • Improve digestion especially upper GI like indigestion, bloating & peptic ulcer
  • Improve cognitive health like mental speed and concentration
  • Tones skin, removes dry skin
  • Makes hair grow longer and stronger
  • Immune boost via anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Possible anti-cancer benefits

Although many use Rosemary leaves for grilling with red meat or marinating with meat stay activefor the taste, there is an added bonus of breaking down the red meat so you can digest the red meat easier.  The Rosemary composition of carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid are meat preservatives.  Rosemary plant has been shown to reduce the carcinogens side effects when we over char the red meat.  When we use Rosemary in its highly concentrated essential oil form, we get a powerful digestive remedy for common modern world problems like dyspepsia (indigestion), flatulence, stomach cramps, appetite stimulant, and bloating.  The polyphenols in Rosemary EO may play an important role as a prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention.  

In our line of medicinal work, we find that many people’s digestive problem is not a product of anatomy anomaly, but a stagnation of circulation impairing the fascial and ligament attachments that support our digestive organs.  Using Rosemary EO will complement any visceral manipulation treatment that we provide.

Rosemary EO, has a tendency to favor muscle and joints cells over our organs.  This does not mean that there are any connections or indirect health benefits.  In regards to other organs, research has shown Rosemary essential oil to be detoxifying for the liver.  Rosemary essential oil helps to regulate the creation and release of bile from the gallbladder, which is important to break down the food we eat.  It also stimulates blood flow and improves circulation, which can benefit the absorption of nutrients from food.

There are numerous cosmetic and oral benefits of Rosemary EO with local applications due to its antimicrobial and antiseptic nature.  The list includes treatment for gingivitis, dry or aging skin, and better hair growth via follicle stimulation.  There is an effective dandruff mixture that includes tea tree EO, basil EO, and rosemary EO.  Many sources do state that regular application of Rosemary EO with gentle massages can have a detoxifying effect on any stagnate skin or hair region.

There should be no surprise at what improved blood flow, anti-inflammation, and antioxidants can do to our brain organ.  Do not think too hard about what that may be.  Rosemary EO has been shown to be a significant cognitive enhancer for dementia, concentration, depression, mental fatigue, and theoretically for Alzheimer’s disease.  There are multiple published research articles like Kathy Abascal’s work in 2003 that looked at using Rosemary EO, in conjunction with a healthier diet, to manage cognitive decline.   Pengelly et al in 2011 looked at different dosing of Rosemary powder and showed that 750 mg enhanced speed of memory but higher dosages impaired speed of memory.

In our line of work, we commonly find that trauma to our head and skull, like contact sports or car accidents, results in stagnation in our skull sutures to have a healthy mico-movements.  This micro-movements is important for our cerebrospinal fluid to cycle through, especially during sleep, to bring in nutrients for our brain cells and tissues.  Application of Rosemary EO directly and nasal inhalation can enhance our manipulation of the skull during management of headache/migraines, chronic neck pain, stubborn whiplash cases, and even auto-immune disorders.

Word of Caution: Rosemary oil may, at times, cause allergic reactions, so it should only be used if prescribed or after thorough consultation with your medical specialist. Since rosemary oil is volatile in nature, the oil occasionally causes vomiting and spasms. Therefore, it should never be ingested. It is strongly suggested that rosemary essential oil should not be used by pregnant, breastfeeding or nursing women. Excessive use of the oil may even lead to miscarriage or a disability in the fetus.

Camphor is toxic in large doses, with side effects of irritability, disorientation, lethargy, muscle spasms, vomiting, abdominal cramps, convulsions and seizures.

Rosemary essential oil is safe as a short-term solution to ease your symptoms and allow a bridge so you can find an exercise, diet, mindfulness, and sleep routine that is both therapeutic and comfortable.

To test if you are sensitive to Rosemary essential oil, dilute the oil with coconut or jojoba oil and apply to a small area of your wrist first. I am a believer of “nothing in extreme” so even if Rosemary essential oil is a “miracle” oil for you, use it sparingly to avoid a maladaptive effect.

Blending: The oil blends well with frankincense, lavender, clary sage, cedarwood, basil, thyme, lemongrass, geranium,  citronella, elemi, chamomile, peppermint, and cardamom oil.

ReVITALize Rehab Club specializes in helping members in Southern California stay active holistically.  We take the time to provide hands-on restorative care and safe prescription of therapeutic exercises so members can move FORWARD towards their desired goal.  Click the Blue button if you need a second opinion about your pain.


The information on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any diseases.