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Rosemary Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, and Side Effects

Rosemary Health Benefits

Rosemary Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, and Side Effects


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a spice commonly used in savory dishes. Rosemary is a key ingredient in many pasta sauces, pizza recipes, and vinaigrettes. The perennial woody herb also has a long history of use for medicinal and health benefits.


Some, but not all, of these health benefits are supported by scientific evidence. Learn about how to add rosemary to your diet for both taste and health.


7 Rosemary Health Benefits


In laboratory settings, rosemary is known to have both antimicrobial and antioxidant effects on animals. However, it is not clear whether these benefits of rosemary also occur in humans. Rosemary is used in alternative medicine to treat or improve certain medical conditions.


The following are conditions to which researchers have applied rosemary’s effects; while some have a stronger association with rosemary for potential health benefits than others, more research is needed on the effect of rosemary in general.

Rosmery for hair loss


Early research suggests that applying rosemary oil to the scalp is as effective as minoxidil for increasing the number of hairs in people with male pattern baldness.

In one study, people who massaged rosemary and other essential oils (lavender, thyme, and cedarwood) showed improvement after seven months (source).


However, it is not clear whether it was the rosemary that provided a benefit.



According to the University of Pennsylvania, oils containing rosemary have been used to relieve muscle and joint pain associated with arthritis and also improve circulation. Some early research shows that taking a product containing rosemary, hops, and oleanolic acid can reduce the pain associated with arthritis. More research is needed to confirm the benefit.

Diabetic kidney damage (nephropathy)


Some research suggests that taking a product containing rosemary, centaury and lovage can reduce the amount of protein in the urine when taken with standard diabetes medications. Protein in the urine is a marker of kidney disease in diabetic patients.

Mental fatigue


Early research shows that taking rosemary does not improve attention or mental energy in adults with low energy levels. However, the research results vary. Other studies show that it can reduce the stress of taking tests and relieve anxiety (source).



While rosemary was thought to improve the effects of fibromyalgia, early research suggests that taking a product containing rosemary, hops, and oleanolic acid does not actually improve symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Gum disease (gingivitis)


Early research shows that an herbal mouthwash containing rosemary and other ingredients helps to reduce bleeding and swelling of the gums in people with gum disease when used twice daily for two weeks after meals.

Low blood pressure (hypotension)


A preliminary study found that taking rosemary oil may temporarily raise blood pressure in people with hypotension, but the benefit was temporary.


Other popular uses of rosemary include treating:

  • Cough
  • Eczema
  • Gas
  • Gout
  • Headache
  • High bloodpressure
  • Increasing menstrual flow
  • Inducing Abortion
  • Indigestion
  • Liver and Gallbladder Problems


More evidence is needed to confirm these benefits.


Rosemary Nutrition Facts


When cooking with rosemary, you can use the dried ground herb or fresh rosemary from the vegetable section of the market. Nutritional facts vary slightly because the concentration is different with each version, but using rosemary in your food probably won’t make a substantial difference in the calorie count or nutritional value of your meal.

A one tablespoon serving of dried rosemary provides just under 11 calories, according to USDA data. Most of those calories come from carbohydrates in the form of fiber, but rosemary is not a significant source of carbohydrates, sugar or fiber.


A typical one tablespoon serving of rosemary probably doesn’t provide significant micronutrients either. However, you get a small amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Minerals in rosemary are calcium, iron and magnesium and manganese.


Selection, preparation and storage


Rosemary has a flavor often described as similar to pine. Some also describe it as pungent, lemony, or bitter.


Fresh rosemary is easy to find in the produce section of most markets. It is relatively firm and stays fresh longer than many other herbs when kept crisp in the refrigerator. For that reason, many cooks prefer to use fresh (rather than dried) rosemary.

Like all dried herbs and spices, store dried rosemary in an airtight container in a cool dark place. If stored properly, it will probably last three to four years.


Rosemary Recipes


Rosemary goes well with roasted meat, tomato and vegetable dishes. It is widely used in Italian cuisine. Rosemary is often used in pizza making and is often combined with other herbs in spice mixes.

Some people also flavor oils, such as olive oil, by adding a sprig of rosemary and letting it steep.


Possible Rosemary Side Effects


When used in typical amounts to flavor food, rosemary is probably safe for most people. It may also be safe when used medicinally in appropriate doses over a short period of time. According to medical sources, a typical dosage of rosemary leaf is 4 to 6 grams per day. They advise that rosemary essential oil should not be used internally.

There are some reports of allergic reactions to rosemary when used in high doses. Side effects may include vomiting, spasms, coma, and in some cases fluid in the lungs.


Finally, rosemary dosages should not be used by pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best substitute for rosemary in recipes?


Many cooks use thyme or tarragon as a rosemary substitute in recipes. Sage and marjoram are also used by some cooks.

Can I eat the rosemary stems?


The stem of the rosemary plant is woody and difficult to chew. For that reason, cooks generally remove the tiny rosemary leaves from the stem before cooking, unless they plan to remove the stem after cooking.

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