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Rosemary Oil Revelations

May 26, 2015 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

I’ve been a long standing admirer of rosemary. Rosmarinus officinalis, an admittedly cool sounding name, is a hardy plant. It thrives in all but the most extreme climates and doesn’t require a lot babysitting. An occasional hosing down or rain shower usually does the trick. That’s why it grows so well in the wild. The scent is pleasant too, but not in an overly floral or cloyingly sweet way. This is more of a rustic, savory member of the herbal community. It’s no accident that it pairs so well with the boldest chicken and meat recipes. But, since this isn’t a culinary or gardening site, I guess I should probably mention that, in addition to all of this, the essential oil of rosemary possesses a multitude of medicinal properties as well!

For many years now, rosemary oil has been valued for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. If you look at the wrappers of many packaged foods and supplements, you’ll likely see rosemary extract listed at the end of the ingredient list. The reason is that it’s a natural preservative. In fact, it’s so powerful that only a very small amount is needed and so is undetectable to our taste buds when used in this application. As or more importantly, clinical research has established that the fragrant oil of rosemary imparts certain healthful effects such as enhancing circulation and reducing inflammation when applied topically.

In modern times, human use of rosemary oil has been primarily in the form of an aromatherapeutic agent. In essence, the inhalation of natural rosemary aroma can be used as a sort of natural medicine. Several studies appearing in peer-reviewed, medical journals attest to rosemary oil’s ability to: a) affect alpha and beta brain ways in such a manner as to promote alertness and positive emotional states; b) support improved cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s disease; c) reduce test-taking anxiety in graduate students; d) bolster antioxidant protection via increased free radical scavenging activity, while lowering cortisol, a stress hormone. Also of interest is a trial that was published earlier this year in the journal Skinmed. In it, rosemary oil was compared to minoxidil, a popular hair growth medication, in a group of 100 patients with androgenic alopecia (aka male pattern baldness) over a six month period. As it turns out, rosemary oil was found as effective as minoxidil, but was less likely to cause scalp itching. So, you can expect to see new hair growth formulas featuring this aromatic alternative in the foreseeable future. And, as you can see (and smell), that’s probably a very good thing!

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Antioxidant Activity of Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Essential Oil (link)

Study 2 – The Potential of Use Basil & Rosemary Essential Oils as Effective (link)

Study 3 – Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of the Essential Oil of (link)

Study 4 – Rosmarinus Officinalis L. Essential Oil Inhibits In Vivo and In Vitro (link)

Study 5 – Investigations Into the Specific Effects of Rosemary Oil at the Receptor (link)

Study 6 – Effects of Inhaled Rosemary Oil on Subjective Feelings and Activities (link)

Study 7 – Effect of Aromatherapy on Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (link)

Study 8 – Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test-Taking Anxiety (link)

Study 9 – Smelling Lavender and Rosemary Increases Free Radical Scavenging (link)

Study 10 – Rosemary Oil vs Minoxidil 2% for the Treatment of Androgenetic (link)

Rosemary Aromatherapy Affects Various Emotions

Source: Sci Pharm. 2013 Jun;81(2):531-42. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health

7 Comments & Updates to “Rosemary Oil Revelations”

  1. JP Says:

    Update 05/26/15:


    Chem Biol Interact. 2015 Apr 21.

    Rosemary tea consumption results to anxiolytic- and anti-depressant-like behavior of adult male mice and inhibits all cerebral area and liver cholinesterase activity; phytochemical investigation and in silico studies.

    Our aim was to investigate the possible effects of regular drinking of Rosmarinus officinalis L. leaf infusion on behavior and on AChE activity of mice. Rosemary tea (2% w/w) phytochemical profile was investigated through LC/DAD/ESI-MSn. Adult male mice were randomly divided into two groups: “Rosemary-treated” that received orally the rosemary tea for 4 weeks and “control” that received drinking water. The effects of regular drinking of rosemary tea on behavioral parameters were assessed by passive avoidance, elevated plus maze and forced swimming tests. Moreover, its effects on cerebral and liver cholinesterase (ChE) isoforms activity were examined colorimetricaly. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of diterpenes, flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic derivatives in rosemary tea; the major compounds were quantitatively determined. Its consumption rigorously affected anxiety/fear and depression-like behavior of mice, though memory/learning was unaffected. ChE isoforms activity was significantly decreased in brain and liver of “rosemary treated” mice. In order to explain the tissue ChE inhibition, principal component analysis, pharmacophore alignment and molecular docking were used to explore a possible relationship between main identified compounds of rosemary tea, i.e. rosmarinic acid, luteolin-7-O-glucuronide, caffeic acid and known AChE inhibitors. Results revealed potential common pharmacophores of the phenolic components with the inhibitors. Our findings suggest that rosemary tea administration exerts anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on mice and inhibits ChE activity; its main phytochemicals may function in a similar way as inhibitors.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update 05/26/15:


    Case Rep Oncol Med. 2015;2015:471861.

    Maintenance Therapy Containing Metformin and/or Zyflamend for Advanced Prostate Cancer: A Case Series.

    Metformin is derived from galegine, a natural ingredient, and recent studies have suggested that metformin could enhance the antitumor effects of hormone ablative therapy or chemotherapy and reduce prostate cancer-specific mortality. Zyflamend is a combination of herbal extracts that reduces inflammation and comprises turmeric, holy basil, green tea, oregano, ginger, rosemary, Chinese goldthread, hu zhang, barberry, and basil skullcap. We propose a maintenance regimen with metformin and/or Zyflamend that targets cancer stem cells and the tumor microenvironment to keep the cancer dormant and prevent it from activation from dormancy. Herein, we report the clinical course of four patients who experienced a clinical response after treatment with metformin and/or Zyflamend.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 05/26/15:


    Pharm Biol. 2015 Apr 8:1-6.

    Transdermal absorption enhancing effect of the essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis on percutaneous absorption of Na diclofenac from topical gel.

    CONTEXT: Rosemary essential oil has been used topically for several purposes (analgesic, anti acne, and anti-inflammatory) in Iranian traditional medicine.

    OBJECTIVES: This investigation aimed to study the effect of essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) on the transdermal absorption of Na diclofenac from topical gel.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS: Diclofenac sodium topical gel was prepared with HPMC K4M and Carbopol 934P as a gelling agent, and several vehicles. The most stable gel was chosen and enhancing effects of the essential oil with different concentrations (0.1, 0.5, and 1.0% w/w) on the permeation of diclofenac were evaluated. The anti-nociceptive effect of preparations was evaluated based on the formalin and tail flick tests in mice.

    RESULTS: The major constituents of the essential oil were 1,8-cineol (15.96%), α-pinene (13.38%), camphor (7.87%), bornyl acetate (6.54%), verbenone (5.82%), borneol (5.23%), camphene (4.96%), and (E)-caryophyllene (3.8%). Topical diclofenac containing 0.5% essential oil showed more analgesic effect after 25, 30, and 35 min (p < 0.001) than the reference drug in the tail flick test. The analgesic effect of preparation containing 1% essential oil was more than reference gel after 15 min (p < 0.05). This difference was observed after 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 min (p < 0.001) too. Rosemary essential oil 1% promoted analgesic effect of drug in comparison with diclofenac gel in the formalin early phase (p < 0.05). The enhancing effect of rosemary was observed in 0.5 and 1% concentration (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively) in the late phase. CONCLUSION: This study proved the enhancing effect of 0.5 and 1% of rosemary essential oil on diclofenac percutaneous absorption. Be well! JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update 06/30/15:


    Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;863:95-116.

    Brain Food for Alzheimer-Free Ageing: Focus on Herbal Medicines.

    Healthy brain aging and the problems of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are a global concern. Beyond 60 years of age, most, if not everyone, will experience a decline in cognitive skills, memory capacity and changes in brain structure. Longevity eventually leads to an accumulation of amyloid plaques and/or tau tangles, including some vascular dementia damage. Therefore, lifestyle choices are paramount to leading either a brain-derived or a brain-deprived life. The focus of this review is to critically examine the evidence, impact, influence and mechanisms of natural products as chemopreventive agents which induce therapeutic outcomes that modulate the aggregation process of beta-amyloid (Aβ), providing measureable cognitive benefits in the aging process. Plants can be considered as chemical factories that manufacture huge numbers of diverse bioactive substances, many of which have the potential to provide substantial neuroprotective benefits. Medicinal herbs and health food supplements have been widely used in Asia since over 2,000 years. The phytochemicals utilized in traditional Chinese medicine have demonstrated safety profiles for human consumption. Many herbs with anti-amyloidogenic activity, including those containing polyphenolic constituents such as green tea, turmeric, Salvia miltiorrhiza, and Panax ginseng, are presented. Also covered in this review are extracts from kitchen spices including cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, sage, salvia herbs, Chinese celery and many others some of which are commonly used in herbal combinations and represent highly promising therapeutic natural compounds against AD. A number of clinical trials conducted on herbs to counter dementia and AD are discussed.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Updated 07/15/15:


    Cancer Lett. 2015 Jul 10.

    Diterpenes from Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Defining their potential for anti-cancer activity.

    Recently, rosemary extracts standardized to diterpenes (e.g. carnosic acid and carnosol) have been approved by the European Union (EU) and given a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Incorporation of rosemary into our food system and through dietary selection (e.g. Mediterranean Diet) has increased the likelihood of exposure to diterpenes in rosemary. In consideration of this a more thorough understanding of rosemary diterpenes is needed to understand its potential for a positive impact on human health. Three agents in particular have received the most attention that includes carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmanol with promising results of anti-cancer activity. These studies have provided evidence of diterpenes to modulate deregulated signaling pathways in different solid and blood cancers. Rosemary extracts and the phytochemicals therein appear to be well tolerated in different animal models as evidenced by the extensive studies performed for approval by the EU and the FDA as an antioxidant food preservative. This mini-review reports on the pre-clinical studies performed with carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmanol describing their mechanism of action in different cancers.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 08/11/15:


    Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2015 Jul-Aug;20(4):460-4.

    The effect of Rosmarinus herbal tea on occupational burnout in Iran Chemical Industry Investment company employees.

    BACKGROUND: Burnout is one of the most important problems that the employees encounter. Many health problems arise due to burnout which is to be dealt with by the employees and the owners in the industry. Among many different ways of dealing with this problem, herbal therapy seems to be a promising solution. The present study intended to investigate the effect of Rosmarinus officinalis (RO) on burnout in employees who work in industrial environments.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: An experimental study was performed to see whether RO has an effect on burnout or not. A total of 66 employees, aged between 20 and 60 years, who had worked for at least 1 year in the technical wards of Iran Chemical Industry Investment Company took part in the study. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups of control (n = 33) and RO (n = 33). The RO group received 4 g of Rosemary in 150 cc water per day for 2 months. The control group, on the other hand, did not receive anything. The data were collected via Geldard (1989) Burnout Inventory before and after the treatment. A t-test was performed to analyze the collected data.

    RESULTS: The results of statistical tests showed that after intervention, the score of occupational burnout in RO group was better, and a significant difference was found between the control and experimental groups (P = 0.03), in favor of the experimental group.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results of the study revealed that Rosmarinus had a positive effect on burnout in employees in this study. Further studies in this field are suggested.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 06/26/16:


    Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Feb;22:93-8.

    Evaluation of the efficacy of a polyherbal mouthwash containing Zingiber officinale, Rosmarinus officinalis and Calendula officinalis extracts in patients with gingivitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: Gingivitis is a highly prevalent periodontal disease resulting from microbial infection and subsequent inflammation. The efficacy of herbal preparations in subjects with gingivitis has been reported in some previous studies.

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of a polyherbal mouthwash containing hydroalcoholic extracts of Zingiber officinale, Rosmarinus officinalis and Calendula officinalis (5% v/w) compared with chlorhexidine and placebo mouthwashes in subjects with gingivitis.

    METHODS: Sixty patients participated in this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial and were randomly assigned to the polyherbal mouthwash (n = 20), chlorhexidine mouthwash (n = 20) or placebo mouthwash (n = 20). Participants were instructed to use the mouthwash twice a day (after breakfast and dinner) for 30 s for a period of two weeks. Gingival and plaque indices were assessed using MGI, GBI and MQH scales at baseline, day 7 and day 14 of the trial.

    RESULTS: There were significant improvements in all assessed efficacy measures i.e. MGI, GBI and MQH scores from baseline to the end of trial in both polyherbal and chlorhexidine mouthwash groups; however, the scores remained statistically unchanged in the placebo group. MGI, BGI and MQH scores in the treatment groups were significantly lower compared with those of the control group at both day 7 and day 14 of the trial. However, there was no significant difference between the polyherbal and chlorhexidine groups, neither at day 7 nor day 14 of the trial. Polyherbal mouthwash was safe and there was neither report of adverse reactions, nor any drop-out during the course of study.

    CONCLUSION: Polyherbal mouthwash containing hydroalcoholic extracts of Z. officinale, R. officinalis and C. officinalis (5%) was effective in the treatment of gingivitis and its efficacy was comparable to that of chlorhexidine mouthwash.

    Be well!


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