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Rosemary essential oil: what it is, properties, benefits and uses

Rosemary essential oil is a precious herbal remedy obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of Rosmarinus officinalis.

It is widely used both in the cosmetic field and for the care of the body and mind . In particular, it is used in the treatment of mental fatigue and stress , relieves painful symptoms, effectively counteracts hair loss and acts against some skin disorders.

To benefit from these therapeutic effects, it is sufficient to inhale the essence through aromatherapy or perform localized massages .

The oral administration of the remedy must be done with caution, strictly respecting the indicated dosages. 

Rosemary essential oil: what is it?

It is an interesting natural compound of vegetable origin obtained from the Rosmarinus officinalis plant .

Rosemary is an aromatic and perennial shrub species belonging to the Lamiaceae family that develops spontaneously near the coastal areas present in the Mediterranean scrub.

The product is extracted by steam distillation of fresh twigs and rosemary leaves . 

Rosemary essential oil has a liquid consistency colored a particular pale yellow . It is characterized by its characteristic camphoraceous aroma : strong, penetrating and pungent. 

The herbal remedy boasts interesting therapeutic properties mostly exploited for topical use and is mainly used in cosmetics and aromatherapy. 

Rosemary essential oil: all health benefits

What is the essential oil of rosemary used for: all the benefits 

Improve your memory

The memory strengthening properties of rosemary essential oil have been known since ancient Greece.

By inhaling the aroma released by the remedy , the efficiency of acetylcholine, a chemical component responsible for the correct functioning of the memory activity, is preserved from any future damage.

Furthermore, some scientific researches show that, through the simple inhalation of the essence extracted from the rosemary plant, the cerebral faculties in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be improved . 

It reduces the pain

It has an interesting analgesic action.

The result that can be obtained by using the herbal product is comparable to the benefit deriving from the administration of paracetamol.

Furthermore, the oily remedy is considered a powerful muscle relaxant able to relieve the painful symptoms caused by muscle spasms .

Repellent action 

To ward off garden pests , rosemary extract can be used as a substitute for chemicals. 

By spraying a pesticide based on the oily remedy on tomato seedlings, it is possible to reduce the presence of mites present on the vegetable by 52% without compromising the well-being and development of the plant. 

In addition, the herbal product keeps away some insects carrying viruses and bacteria harmful to the human body . The oily extract is particularly effective in eradicating the Aedes aegypti mosquito. 

Rosemary essential oil to counteract stress

Rosemary essential oil can help reduce anxiety caused by excess stress . The simple inhalation of the remedy is able to effectively counteract the tachycardia triggered by anxiety. 

Furthermore, by inhaling the aromas released by the oily solution, there is a significant reduction in the stress hormone : cortisol . 

Improve blood circulation

The oily remedy is used successfully in the treatment of the symptoms that characterize Raynaud’s disease . A rare syndrome that affects the extremities and causes blood vessels to narrow, manifesting in sensations of pain and cold. 

Performing a hand massage with a few drops of the diluted extract, vasodilation of the blood vessels is obtained, giving a pleasant sensation of warmth in the areas affected by the disease. 

Energy action

Rosemary essential oil is used in mental fatigue . Following inhalation of the remedy there is a significant increase in attention span, alertness threshold and an improvement in mood. 

It fights joint inflammation

The product based on Rosmarinus officinalis can relieve swelling, pain and stiffness conditions caused by inflammation of the tissues. The remedy works by affecting the release activity of chemicals involved in the inflammatory process. 

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis benefited from an effective 50% reduction in pain caused by inflammation in the knee by applying the oily solution three times a day until the symptoms disappeared. 

In addition, the remedy is also used to relieve migraine attacks and muscle pain of various origins and entities. 

Immunostimulating action

Both inhalation of rosemary extract and regular massage with the oil solution can help boost the immune system.

The therapeutic efficacy of the remedy is ascribable to the ability of the essential oil to act on cortisol, protecting the body from damage caused by oxidative stress.

Therefore regular aromatherapy sessions are able to effectively strengthen the body’s defenses.  

Rosemary essential oil: a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders

In the aromatherapy field, this essential oil is also used in the treatment of indigestion, constipation and colitis . 

The antibacterial action of the remedy against Escherichia coli has also been recognized : a pathogen responsible for infections affecting the digestive tract and urinary tract. 

Preserve liver health

Rosemary essential oil exerts a detoxifying function of the liver and regulates the release of bile in order to ensure proper functionality of the digestive process. 

It also has antioxidant properties suitable for preserving liver health . 

Wellness for oral health

The oily remedy promotes the well-being of dental health . In fact, it is attributed antibacterial properties suitable for eradicating some oral pathogens. 

Through the daily use of a special toothpaste based on rosemary essential oil, it is possible to effectively treat gingival bleeding and reduce the presence of bacterial plaque . 

essential oil of rosemary. cosmetic properties

Cosmetic properties of rosemary essential oil

Improve the appearance of the skin

Thanks to the antimicrobial and antiseptic properties recognized in the remedy, rosemary extract has an adjuvant action in the treatment of eczema , dermatitis and oily acne-prone skin. 

The topical application of the remedy, through a gentle massage, is not only able to tone the skin but also acts against dry skin. Furthermore, the addition of a few drops of the oily solution in the moisturizer enhances the therapeutic effect of the cosmetic product and gives better skin elasticity. 

Scientific studies show that the remedy exerts a powerful antiviral action against herpes simplex virus-1, responsible for the formation of inflammatory and itchy blisters on the skin. 

Combats hair loss 

Rosemary extract is able to effectively treat androgenetic alopecia . It acts directly on a variant of testosterone by preventing it from attacking the hair follicles which lead to hair loss . 

By massaging a few drops of the oily solution , suitably diluted in a carrier oil (jojoba or grape seed oil), an effective increase in the thickness of the hair shaft is recorded.

The results obtained using the herbal product are comparable to those found following the administration of minoxidil : a drug used to treat androgenetic alopecia . 

Furthermore, rosemary oil does not cause itching and can also be used to treat alopecia areata and patchy hair loss. 

How to use rosemary essential oil 

The therapeutic properties of rosemary essential oil can be exploited both with aromatherapy and through topical application of the product.

The remedy is very concentrated therefore a few drops are enough to benefit from the therapeutic action. 

The essential oil is contained in a dark glass vial equipped with a practical dropper that facilitates the correct dispensing of the product. 

Internal use

Liver disorders

To treat fatigued liver , add a drop of rosemary essential oil to a tablespoon of honey and incorporate it into a chamomile or lemon balm tea. Take the remedy 2 or 3 times a day. 

Alternatively, massage the right side of the abdomen with a mixture consisting of three tablespoons of jojoba oil, 10 drops of rosemary essential oil and 10 drops of lemon essence.

Remedy against water retention

To restore the homeostatic water balance , dissolve in half a glass of warm water, a teaspoon of honey containing a drop of essential oil of rosemary, a drop of essential oil of juniper and a drop of essential oil of fragrant geranium.

Rosemary essential oil for migraine

In case of headache accompanied by indigestion and dizziness, incorporate two drops of rosemary essential oil in a tablespoon of honey and add it to half a glass of warm water.

Treatment of intestinal infections

Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, rosemary essential oil is useful in fighting intestinal infections that occur with abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea. 

To benefit from this therapeutic action, add a drop of cinnamon essence, a drop of rosemary essential oil and a drop of tea tree essential oil to a teaspoon of honey.

Dilute the mixture in half a glass of warm water and consume the remedy 2 to 3 times a day. 

Suffumigi to relieve respiratory ailments

The expectorant properties of rosemary extract help relieve breathing difficulties caused by an excessive presence of mucus.

In case of colds characterized by the presence of phlegm , perform fumigations by pouring 20-25 drops of the remedy in half a liter of water. 

Inhale the essences released by the steam, taking care to cover the head with a towel.

Natural remedy to treat intestinal worms

The remedy can only be given to children over the age of 7.

The therapeutic solution is obtained by adding a drop of OE of fragrant geranium, a drop of essential oil of rosemary and a drop of lemon essence to a spoonful of honey.

Then mix everything in half a glass of warm water and take in the evening before going to bed.

External uses

Lotion to stimulate hair growth

Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a tablespoon of sweet almond oil and rub the remedy into the scalp for ten minutes.

The remedy stimulates the circulation of the scalp by reactivating the hair bulbs. 

Draining and analgesic massage oil 

With the essential oil of rosemary you can make a massage oil useful for draining liquids , to eliminate lymphatic stagnation and relieve muscle and joint pain .

The oily solution consists of 6/8 drops of rosemary essence to be mixed in two tablespoons of sweet almond oil or extra virgin olive oil.

Apply the remedy by performing a gentle massage twice a day until the symptoms subside. 

Natural anti-cellulite remedy

Useful for combating cellulite , water retention , localized circulatory disorders and the presence of excess fat on the thighs and buttocks. 

To benefit from these therapeutic properties of the remedy, incorporate 10 to 15 drops of rosemary essential oil in 100 ml of sweet almond oil and rub. 

Toning bath with rosemary extract

To regain calm, counter tension and stress and soothe painful ailments, add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil in a tub of hot water.

Anti-fall hair lotion

Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a neutral shampoo and proceed with the usual wash. Then, rub 4 drops of the remedy into damp hair and scalp.

This remedy is also suitable for fragile, weakened hair, with dandruff and prone to alopecia . 

Aromatherapy use of rosemary essential oil

To obtain a relaxing, regenerating and memory-stimulating atmosphere, use an essence diffuser and add a drop of rosemary essential oil for every square meter of the room to be perfumed. 

Risks, contraindications and side effects

The essential oil of rosemary, similar to the other oily solutions obtained distilled, must be used with caution as it is not totally free from side effects. 

Being a concentrated liquid extract it could trigger adverse skin reactions . To avoid these problems, the essential oil must be suitably diluted in a carrier oil (jojoba oil, hemp oil, olive oil and coconut oil) before topical use. 

The remedy could give rise to allergic symptoms . Performing a skin patch test before topical application is to be considered a valid method for assessing the sensitivity of the skin to exposure to the active components of the oily solution.

Furthermore, rosemary oil has a volatile nature and following its use, some subjects have occasionally experienced vomiting and muscle spasms. 

The remedy is not suitable for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding . Furthermore, oral administration in high doses can be toxic.

Rosemary extract must be carefully closed after use and stored in a cool, dry place , away from light and heat.

Rosemary essential oil: buying guide

You can buy it from your trusted herbalist, in pharmacies, organic supermarkets and shops specializing in natural essences.

Choose the 100% natural product without chemical additives . To choose a quality essential oil, check the presence of a specific certification that reports:

  • Botanical name of the plant ( Rosmarinus officinalis ).
  • Vegetable part of the plant used.
  • Organic cultivation method.
  • Steam distillation extraction technique.
  • Batch number and date of manufacture. 

The price of pure and organic essential oil that presents a good quality / price ratio is around 16 euros in the 10 ml format. 


The name rosemary derives from the union of two Latin words rosa and maris which translate into ‘rose of the sea’, with reference to the spontaneous growth of the plant on the coastal areas. 

The first uses of medicinal plant extracts for therapeutic use date back to the ancient Egyptians who exploited both the bactericidal and antiseptic properties of the essence. 

Furthermore, in ancient Greece the burnt twigs of the plant were used in temples to replace Arab incense . The Ancient Romans attributed to rosemary the emblem of immortality and cultivated it on tombs. 

In medieval times an edict was sanctioned by Charlemagne which provided for an obligation for peasants to introduce a rosemary plant in the gardens.

The reason for this arrangement is associated with a popular belief that the shrub symbolically represented the soul of the earth due to the intense fragrance released by the foliage. 

  1. Nebojsa Pavlovic , Chemical composition of the rosemary essential oil.
  2. Joana M Andrade , Rosmarinus officinalis L .: an update review of its phytochemistry and biological activity.
  3. Yunes Panahi, Rosemary oil vs minixidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial.
  4. Lucia Montenegro, Rosemary Essential Oil-Loaded Lipid Nanoparticles : in vivo topical activity from gel vehicles.
  5. Winai Sayorwan , Effect of Inhaled Rosemary Oil on Subjective Feelings and Activities of the Nervous System.

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