Oil of Rosemary can be taken internally as a powerful antioxidant or externally for scalp and skin health. Guaranteed wild. Rosemary is known to anyone who has eaten gourmet lamb dishes. Yet there seems to be no other common use for this herb in the American diet. Thus, unfortunately, rosemary is essentially and unknown herb in American cooking as well as medicine. In fact, in America, it is taken more as a decoration than medicine or food. Go to your cupboard now and look: Do you have rosemary? Probably not.The herb rosemary that is in common use is the leaves, or , more correctly, needles of an evergreen shrub known botanically as Rosemarinus officinalis . This shrub grown in moderate climates, as in the Mediterranean, near sea-swept shores. Like other evergreens rosemary has needle-like leaves and exudes the typical balmy camphorous odor. This odor is representative of the natural oils contained within the rosemary leaves, and these oils account for it's medicinal properties.Rosemary HerbRosemary herb consists simply of the leaves, that is needles, of the rosemary bush. For health, as well as culinary purposes the finest rosemary is wild rosemary of the species Rosemarinus officinalis. There is no guarantee that commercial rosemary is from the medicinal species.Rosemary herb is rich in trace minerals, particularly calcium. According to Tierra the type of calcium found in rosemary is easy to absorb. However, it's greatest attributes are as a result of it's volatile oil content.Oil of RosemaryRosemary oil is a unique compound possessing several beneficial properties. Huang notes in Cancer Research that rosemary oil is a naturally occurring antioxidant exhibiting high antioxidant activity. Umek describes in Planta Medica that rosemary oil is strongly inhibitory against viruses. Engleberg et al. In the International Journal of Immunopharmacology denotes it's impressive powers in halting severe inflammation and edema. Navarro and colleagues found that rosemary oil avoids toxic liver damage. Huhtanen determined the oil to possess significant antibacterial actions. Aqel, publishing in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, discovered that rosemary oil is antispasmodic, meaning it inhibits constrictions and spasms of the internal muscles of the lungs, intestines, stomach, and uterus. Incredibly, Inatani found that rosemary oil was four times more powerful as an oxidant than BHT, the synthetic type allowed in commercial foods. Singletary, of the University of Illinois, discovered how rosemary oil increases the production of the liver's cancer fighting enzyme, glutathione-S-transferase. Amazingly, adding rosemary to the diet of rats increased liver glutathione levels by some 400%. That is a tremendous increase.Ancient UsesThe ancients used rosemary heavily, both as a food herb and medicine. While we might use a dusting of it on special dishes, the ancients used it so aggressively that some of their dishes might taste to us like mentholatum. As a medicine, its ancient use is extensive, and Lawless notes that it is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. Perhaps its most ancient use is enhancement of mental function; the Greeks used it to enhance memory. In Medieval Europe it was purported to enhance mental prowess and intellectual acumen. Europeans used it as a cardiac and kidney tonic.Modern UsesEuropeans use rosemary extensively. They are well aware that it is a circulatory stimulant; it increases blood flow to the muscles, head and brain. Chevallier notes that rosemary reverses headaches, even migraines, probably as a result of improved blood flow to the brain and scalp.Chevallier also describes how rosemary is effective in stress induced illnesses. Prolonged stress damages the adrenal glands and rosemary is described as an activator of adrenal function. By assisting adrenal function, the toxic effects of stress are reversed.In testing on animals French researchers discovered that the intravenous infusion of rosemary doubled the output of bile. Currently, in Europe it helps as an aid to liver function and is particularly useful for ameliorating liver congestion and inflammation.According to Jean Valnet, M.D., author of The Practice of Aromatherapy, rosemary helps relieve sore throat, asthma, bronchitis, sour stomach, gas, gall bladder ailments, liver dysfunction, jaundice, impotence, constipation, bowel infections, colitis, weakness, muscular fatigue, diarrhea, indigestion, heart disease, palpitations, migraines, menstrual difficulties (PMS), arthritis, lice, scabies, failing eyesight, infected or poorly healing wounds, mental disorders, memory loss, psychosis, and adrenal failure. No doubt this is a massive list.