Walking near a bush of rosemary it seems impossible not to run your hand through it, or better still, to rub some of the leaves between your fingers and deeply inhale the fresh perfume that exudes from the plant. A very familiar scent, almost forgotten, but if you pay further attention to it, green and herbaceous notes appear, followed by lavender... Maybe lemon too, or is it oregano?
Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is an evergreen shrub that can grow to six feet tall. Like its botanical name implies (Rosmarinus meaning ‘dew of the sea’) the shrub can be found growing close to the sea.
The leaves and flowering tops of rosemary are distilled for oil, or dried for infusions, decoctions, extracts, spirits, and tinctures. A relative of basil and oregano, it belongs to the Labiatae family and has been cultivated since the ancient days, for use in medicines. Rich in essential oils, flavonoids and phenolic acids that are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, it helps to cleanse and soothe the skin, relax muscles, and add shine to the hair.
Fresh sprigs of rosemary are purchased in the UK.