Some of our most common herbs can be the most powerful. Widely found in many kitchen cabinets, Rosemary has numerous medicinal benefits and is a good ally to keep around especially for colds and flus. This post will dig into all the ways Salvia rosmarinus can aid us in combatting respiratory illnesses. To learn about the many other medicinal virtues of Rosemary, check out this blog post here.
Common Name: Rosemary
Latin Name: Salvia rosmarinus (previously known as Rosmarinus officinalis)
General Characteristics: Evergreen shrub, very aromatic, grows up to 6 ft, narrow, dark green, pinelike leaves
Harvesting Info: Gather branches in Summer after flowering and dry away from the Sun
Precautions: Avoid if you suffer from seizures
When it comes to colds and flus, our common kitchen herbs like Rosemary can be a great support. This herb is high in oleanic acid, which has been shown to be antiviral against flu viruses, Herpes, and HIV. This is not to say that Rosemary can cure these viral maladies, just that this herb may help your body in fighting these particular viruses. Rosemary is also high in antioxidants that can support the immune system.
She is good for sore throats and makes an excellent mouthwash and gargle. Helpful for the respiratory system, Rosemary is an expectorant that can help clear the sinuses. They are also excellent to use in aromatherapy, and a sinus steam is actually the most effective way to apply Rosemary’s helpful volatile oils directly to the respiratory system’s membranes. Scroll down for a recipe using Rosemary in an herbal sinus steam.
As a diaphoretic and peripheral circulatory stimulant, Rosemary can also help our bodies manage fevers to cook out infections. This is also a great herb to take both during and after illness. They are especially supportive in helping us recover from chronic illness, as well as long-term stress. Stimulating the adrenals, they are a great help in restoring energy levels during difficult times.
Rosemary is also known for being helpful with depression as an uplifting herb that relieves tension and raises the spirits. She is enlivening and encouraging of a more outgoing perspective, helping to improve our mental processes. Rosemary is also particularly helpful for cold conditions wherever sluggishness is involved.
Culpeper wrote that Rosemary is an excellent choice to burn as incense, as the smoke of this herb can help purify the air. This makes Rosemary a great alternative to White Sage, an endangered and protected herb that should not be harvested or burned unless you ethically grow it yourself. To learn more about Indigenous-led efforts to protect White Sage, check out this link from the California Native Plant Society.
Medicine Making with Rosemary
A great way to work with Rosemary to support your respiratory system is through an herbal sinus steam with Rosemary essential oil. If you don't have essential oils on hand, using fresh (or even dried) Rosemary will also work, it just won't be as strong.
Pour boiling water into a wide mug or bowl
Put 1-5 drops of Rosemary essential oil in the water
Cover your head with towel and breath in steam
Be careful not to burn your face - the steam will be hot! Let cool if needed and keep your eyes closed
Breath steam for 5-10 minutes, up to 5 times a day when sick
Cold Care Survival Workshop
If you want to learn more powerful, easy to make at home herbal remedies for surviving colds and flus, check out Artemisia Academy's Cold Care Survival Workshop. This 5-day hands-on workshop comes with a lifetime recording and teaches you to make 5 herbal remedies for cold and flu season from the comfort of your own kitchen.
The information I shared in this post comes from my own relationship with Rosemary, Artemisia Academy’s classes, David Hoffman's Medical Herbalism and Holistic Herbal, Nicholas Culpeper's Complete Herbal, Lucy Jones's A Working Herbal Dispensary, and Andrew Chevallier’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.
About the Author
Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Astrologer, Herbalist and student at Artemisia Academy. Her work centers on facilitating a greater understanding of the cyclical nature of the world and the ways that we as humans fit within the greater whole. She is writing a series of materia medica blog posts for Artemisia to make the wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine more available to more people. Alicia also offers herbal astrology readings and you can find her at www.aliciacielle.com.
Disclaimer: Information presented on this webpage is for educational purposes only, and does not include the diagnosis and treatment of disease nor replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please refer to a licensed health professional for any illness or persistent symptoms before using herbal remedies.
Herbs can sometimes cause discomfort or side effects, and may interact adversely with pharmaceutical medications. Do not use herbs internally without the approval of a doctor or medical professional if you are currently on medications or have a history of medical conditions.