By Marisa Soski
Rosemary, of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, is one of the most used culinary spices. Arguably, it can be put on just about anything: vegetables, meat, grains, sauces, soups, and even ice cream (this might sound gross, but it is actually delicious!). It is great that it is so versatile because it is also so good for you!
Most often it is the leaf of the rosemary plant that is used medicinally and in cooking. Stripped twigs can also be used as skewers to add flavor to food while cooking. It is extremely aromatic, hence its widespread use in cooking and also as a common essential oil, and is warming and drying in nature.
Important uses include:
- Stress relief
- Improving memory and cognitive function
- Relieve gas and bloating
- Stimulates circulation and menstrual flow
- Promotes the flow of bile and increases in volume, thus aiding in digestion and bile organ health
- Antispasmodic, decreases muscle spasms (e.g. cramps)
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- Protective to the liver
- Antibacterial and immune enhancing
- Essential oil topically can help relieve pain associated with arthritis and stimulate hair growth
Including small amounts into your diet every week is a great way to gain all these benefits over time.
Cooking tips: Cut or crush leaves to release flavor and essential oils before use. Use whole sprigs to infuse flavor and remove before serving. Use flowers or sprig as a garnish. Fresh rosemary is more pungent and has more flavor, but dried will do just fine as well.
Recipe: One-Pan Rosemary Chicken with Root Vegetables
- ½ chicken, either left whole or cut into pieces
- 1 large celery root (celeriac), cut into 1-inch pieces**
- 5 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces**
- 2 medium beets, cut into 1-inch pieces**
- 1 medium turnip, cut into 1-inch pieces**
- 1 large parsnip, cut into 1-inch pieces**
- 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
**You may peel root vegetables if preferred, although often the skins contain the greatest nutritional value.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Mix olive oil, rosemary, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of mixture on chicken pieces.
- Mix the remaining mixture with the root vegetables.
- Put the chicken in a 12’x9’ backing pan.
- Surround chicken with root vegetable mix.
- Put in oven for 40 minutes.
Tilgner, S (2009) Herbal Medicine, 2nd ed. Wise Acres LLC, Oregon.
Murray, M (2005) Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books, New York.
Teusher, E (2006) Medicinal Spices. CRC Press, Florida.
Marisa Soski earned her Naturopathic Doctorate and Masters of Science in Nutrition from NUNM in 2019.