Herbalism

Rosemary: Remembrance for Folks of European Ancestry


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This month on Patreon, we’re focusing on Indigenous solidarity. One plant that stands out to me when I concentrate on this theme is rosemary. Much like the at-risk white sage (Salvia apiana), this plant can be burned as incense and to purify, protect, and bless people, objects, and ceremonies. Unlike white sage, however, this plant has a much longer history of use by folks of European descent, and is also widely grown and easily acquired without endangering the plant population. Here’s a plant profile on rosemary, including some information on its use for smoke. This plant profile was originally shared alongside a podcast and resource document for patrons supporting my work at $3/month and up – learn more here.

Rosemary Plant Profile

Salvia rosmarinus

Lamiaceae, Mint family

Where it Grows: Commonly found as a hedge in landscaping

When to Harvest: Year-round, but has beautiful purple flowers in the spring! 

Parts Used: Flowers and leaves, sometimes twigs

Special Qualities: Warming aromatic plant commonly used for cooking, this herb is a carminative, helping the body to dispel gas and bloating during the digestive process. It also has a bitter component, stimulating the liver, gallbladder, bile production, and digestive juices. Cerebral vasodilator, which means this herb improves blood circulation to the brain, making this plan excellent for headaches, studying, and other cognitively demanding tasks. An expectorant – beneficial respiratory actions and frequent ingredient in fire cider. Antioxidant properties which protect the blood vessels and the brain. Also considered antidepressant, possibly because of its overall warming and stimulating effects. I consider this a stimulating nervine. Due to its heavy warming action, it’s also used in cases of arthritis and other cold, boggy conditions of the joints. Rosemary is also a helpful herb for stimulating hair growth. 

As a Smoke Herb: Rosemary has a long and varied use as an herb affiliated with many different spiritual events and public occasions. In Ancient Greece and Rome, rosemary was used at funerals, weddings, festivals, in magical spells, and as incense in religious ceremonies. Rosemary was thought to be a cure for Bubonic plague, and was burned in hospitals and sick rooms throughout Europe as an incense to purify the air. There is a strong historical association in many European cultures between rosemary and memory, or, as the saying goes: “rosemary for remembrance.”

My Favorite Preps and Uses: 1. Tea blends 2. Hydrosol 3. Tincture

Safety Considerations: 

Avoid using large doses during pregnancy or when trying to conceive, in cases of vasodilative headaches, and if you are actively bleeding/attempting to staunch blood flow. 

Sources:

If you enjoyed this plant profile, you’d probably like being on my mailing list. You’ll hear from me about twice a month – I like to share herbal resources and insights as well as notes on my upcoming events. Subscribers also get to vote on the topics of my annual free community workshop series.  I’m not on social media, so this is the best way for us to keep in touch. 

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