10 Uses for Rosemary that Go Way Beyond Cooking

This delightful culinary herb has all kinds of amazing uses that have nothing to do with cooking, from anxiety relief to pest control

Rosemary is best known for enhancing Italian cuisine, but its wonders go way beyond the kitchen.

The herb has dozens of uses in the realms of medicine, housekeeping, natural beauty and more.

Here are a few:

1. Improves memory and cognition

Scientists are learning Shakespeare was right: “Rosemary is for remembrance.”

Recent studies have shown inhaling the scent of rosemary helped elderly people remember to do things they needed to do at certain times, like take medicine, and helped children score higher on memory tests and matching games.

The herb also helps prevent the aging of your brain, thanks to its carnosic acid content which fights off free radical damage.

2. Relieves stress and anxiety

A 2009 study found that breathing in the scent of lavender and rosemary sachets helped reduce the anxiety of nursing students before taking a test. The nurses who sniffed the sachets scored lower on anxiety measures and had lower pulse rates, indicating a more relaxed state of mind.

This backs up the findings of an earlier study, which showed that smelling rosemary oil actually decreased the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the saliva.

3. Pest control

Keep your home bug-free by placing sprigs of rosemary by the doors and in the window sills… or by spraying them with rosemary water (10 drops of rosemary essential oil per one cup of water). This repels all manner of insects, according to NaturalLivingIdeas.com.

Spraying or placing the sprigs along the backs of cupboards is also said to ward off mice.

4. Mouthwash

Rosemary is great for oral health. Its  antimicrobial properties kill off the bad bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, while freshening your breath.

You can make your own potent herbal mouthwash with rosemary and cloves. Simply boil or steep four rosemary sprigs and four whole cloves in two cups of water.

5. Natural deodorant

Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, rosemary essential oil makes a powerful addition to any deodorant product.

Herbs like rosemary, parsley, basil, mint and sage are all said to be natural body deodorizers  and are often found in natural store-bought deodorants and homemade deodorant recipes.

6. Painkiller

Applied topically, rosemary oil can lessen the severity of toothaches, eczema, gout, headaches and joint or muscle pain.

Because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, the German version of the FDA has approved rosemary essential oil as a treatment for muscle pain and arthritis.

7. Relieves congestion

Simmering rosemary in a large pot of water and breathing in the vapor is a fast-acting, powerful decongestant.

Rosemary is a natural antiseptic that helps open nasal and bronchial passages.

8. Skincare

Rosemary infused oil or diluted essential oil can be used topically for relief from and healing of all kinds of skin conditions, including acne and eczema.

9. Strengthen and lengthen hair.

Research has shown that certain essential oils including rosemary lead to faster hair growth and improved hair quality by unblocking hair follicles and stimulating blood flow to the scalp.

Try blending lavender, thyme, rosemary, cedarwood and peppermint into your shampoo and massaging into the scalp.

A strong infusion of rosemary and nettle leaf also makes for a great post-shampoo herbal hair rinse.

10. All-purpose cleaner and disinfectant.

Rosemary has a long history of use in household cleaning. Once a staple in hospitals, rosemary is antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and does it all without the use of synthetic chemicals.

Add a few sprigs, along with some lemon peels to white vinegar and water to make the best all-purpose household cleaner money can buy, for less money. Here’s a recipe.