Botanical name: Salvia rosmarinus Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosmarinus angustifolius, Salvia fasciculata
Rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. Its forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 5 ft tall, rarely 6 ft 7 in. The leaves are evergreen, 2-4 cm long and 2-5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense short woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue. Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses. The plant is said to improve the memory and is used as a symbol of remembrance, especially in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate ANZAC Day. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, like stuffings and roast meats. The name derives from the Latin words ros marinus, which translate as dew of the sea. According to legend, it was draped around the Greek goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea, born of Ouranos's semen. The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the 'Rose of Mary'.
Medicinal uses: Rosemary contains the antioxidants carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, and other bioactive compounds including camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, rosmaridiphenol, and rosmanol. Some of these may be useful in preventing or treating cancers, strokes, and Alzheimer's Disease.
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