Clinical Research Regarding Rosemary Essential Oil
The health benefits of rosemary oil can be attributed to its long list of properties. It’s antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antiviral. In more recent years, science has begun to explore the uses of the oil in controlled studies with promising results that support many of the medicinal uses involving rosemary oil by people for centuries. The studies also help to introduce new ways that the oil can be used, both in daily life and in more serious conditions, paving the way for a bright future for rosemary oil.
Rosemary has long been associated with improved memory. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” Now several studies are beginning to discover the scientific links between rosemary and brain function. A 2012 study focused on 28 senior citizens, all 75 years or older, found statistically significant dose-dependent improvements in brain and memory performance with doses of dried rosemary leaf powder. Another study conducted by Mark Moss and Lorraine Oliver at Northumbria University in Newcastle identified that 1,8-ceneole, a main component found in rosemary oil, is an agent potentially responsible for cognitive performance.
Another study by Moss and his team found that memory enhancements of up to 75% were possible when rosemary oil was diffused throughout a room. This would make sense because of the body’s ability to benefit from the oil’s ingredients as it enters the body through the nasal passages and is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. If you find yourself having trouble grasping a new concept or long list of facts, try diffusing rosemary oil while you study or conduct research to help boost your retentiveness of the information.
If your hair seems to be thinner than it was, rosemary essential oil might be the answer. Japanese researchers published the results of their study related to rosemary and hair growth in Phytotherapy Research Journal where animals were provided a testosterone treatment that was intended to interrupt their normal hair growth cycle. They were then administered a small treatment of rosemary each day, measuring at about 2mg. The results were consistent in that hair regrowth was improved that was disrupted by the testosterone as well as in areas where hair was shaved away. Rosemary may be able to help humans the same way.
To use rosemary as a natural hair growth stimulant, add a few drops to your existing shampoo or make a homemade version. You can also make a hair mask with a few drops of rosemary oil and coconut oil mixed together. Apply to the scalp and massage for several minutes before wrapping your head in a towel. Allow it to sit for at least half an hour before rinsing out. The key to using rosemary oil as a hair stimulant is consistency. If there is any sign of irritation on the scalp, slow down your routine or dilute the oil more before continuing.
Mood and Alertness
One of rosemary’s speculated uses is as a mood elevator and may also be able to treat mild depression symptoms. A randomized controlled study that focused on 40 adults and their responses to aromatherapy using lavender and rosemary. After three minutes of aromatherapy, the group that received lavender showed increased beta power and reported feeling more relaxed and displayed a less depressive mood. They were also given math equations before and after the aromatherapy and results showed that they were faster and more accurate at completing the equations after inhaling the lavender. In the rosemary group, their beta power was decreased, which suggests increased alertness. They had even lower anxiety scores, reported feeling more alert and relaxed and were even faster with the math equations, but not as accurate as the group with the lavender. It can be concluded that while several essential oils can have an effect on an individual’s overall mood, rosemary was able to relax and calm someone while also improving their alertness and concentration abilities.
Inflammation and Arthritis
A study published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin in 2001 showed that rosemary prevented inflammation in mice by inhibiting their immune system’s response to allergens. Another similar study in 2004 showed that rosemary could decrease seasonal allergy symptoms in adults. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology showed that rosemary inhibited the progression of arthritis in mice. While further research is needed, scientists are interested in seeing if rosemary may be able to prevent inflammation and arthritis and may be a natural treatment in the future.
Scientific studies have found conflicting results when using rosemary oil in the following circumstances. A large amount of rosemary users have still benefited from the oil though when using it for these conditions.
-Increasing menstrual flow: Rosemary oil may be able to stimulate a woman’s monthly cycle, helping to regulate it and alleviate associated pain. While there is limited research regarding this possible use of the oil, it is still recommended that pregnant women avoid rosemary oil because of the risk of miscarriage.
-Headache: When mixed with a carrier oil, rosemary may be able to alleviate a headache. The oil should be rubbed on the temples, forehead and massaged onto the neck. With limited scientific research, there is no guarantee that this treatment may work for you but the scent alone should help to relax you if you are suffering from a headache.
When using rosemary oil, always dilute it before applying topically, and only after a test patch has been conducted. Avoid contact with the eyes, mucus membranes and sensitive areas. If inhaling the oil, only do so for a few minutes at a time and only diffuse the oil for fifteen minutes out of every hour. While it is safe to add to food and drinks, it should never be consumed alone and can be dangerous in large amounts. Always keep rosemary oil out of the reach of children, as it should never be used on a child under the age of 4.