More Than A Garnish: How To Consume Rosemary To Reap Its Health Benefits
We all know that rosemary can be delicious baked into potatoes or sprinkled atop chicken. But it turns out the powerful herb has applications out of the kitchen, too. Here's the research on how it can potentially help boost mood, memory, and gut health.
How rosemary can enhance mood.
Historically, rosemary was a popular plant medicine used to strengthen memory. It's even featured in Shakespearean literature, with Ophelia saying, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance: pray you, love, remember," in Hamlet. Rosemary is still thought to be good for memory, and a few recent studies have found that it might also have a positive effect on mood and stress levels.
In a 2018 study on mice who were put under chronic stress, rosemary extract was found to have an antidepressant effect.* The researchers suspected that it was because the herb helped manage inflammation in the brain's hippocampus region as well as in the gut.* (There are still some mysteries surrounding the gut-brain connection, but all signs point to the fact that a healthy, thriving gut microbiome can support a sharp mind and positive mood.)
Rosemary also seems to have a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—the body's master regulatory system that is the subject of some fascinating research right now.* Rosemary contains compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. While we still don't quite know how or why, this binding action seems to help balance a number of processes in the body and mellow out our reaction to stress.
How to use rosemary as more than just a garnish.
To tap into the mind-body benefits of rosemary, you'll probably have to consume more than a single sprig with dinner. If you're a tea drinker, you can try a daily rosemary steep—but beware that the flavor is strong and not for everyone. Rosemary essential oils are also available for sniffing, but they should not be taken orally in high amounts. This leaves rosemary extract as the most effective—and pleasant—way to get a rosemary fix.
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You can find pure rosemary extract tonics and supplements on the market, but some formulators and functional medicine experts believe that the herb packs more of a punch when combined with other mood-boosters.
When mindbodygreen set out to create a supplement for easing stress and anxiousness, including the powerful herb was a must. In our formula, we combined it with other natural ingredients that have a balancing effect on the endocannabinoid system, such as hemp extract, clove, and black pepper. When taken together, these are thought to work synergistically to promote a sense of calm.*
"Rosemary contains a mix of potent antioxidants such as carnosol, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic, which support the integrity of the other phytocannabinoids in the hemp formula," Robert Rountree, M.D., a functional medicine doctor who mbg worked with on the formulation, explains.
The resulting hemp multi+ comes in a flavorless capsule that is much easier to stomach than a fistful of rosemary. And while it contains the calming compounds of a cannabis plant, it doesn't contain psychoactive THC, meaning it's legal and suitable to take any time of day or night since it won't leave you with the "high" of marijuana. Try it out to reap the powerful mood-supporting benefits of hemp and rosemary, without any of the bitterness.