Aromatherapy: Healing with Rosemary

Long associations with improving and stimulating the mind and memory, rosemary's impressive healing qualities make it an excellent tonic for when you're feeling physically, mentally and emotionally worn out.

This aromatic plant has a warm, strong and invigorating scent that can clear your head and improve blood circulation. It has been cultivated for ornamental, medicinal, culinary and perfumery purposes for centuries.

Purifying fragrance

Rosemary oil is antiseptic and antibacterial. It was often burned in hospitals and sick chambers, and in French hospitals it is customary to burn rosemary with juniper berries to purify the air and aid convalescence.

Rosemary's ability to stimulate the adrenal glands makes it a good remedy for long-term depression and chronic illness, increasing your energy levels and general zest for life.

Active Ingredients of Rosemary

The chemical constituents of rosemary are as follows:


Rosemary contains chemicals known as diterpenes and flavonoids, which promote fat breakdown and reduce the cellular damage that leads to ageing. Flavonoids also improve circulation, especially to the scalp, promoting good memory and healthy hair.


Rosemary oil contains camphor, a stimulant that increases body heat in cold, tense and arthritic joints. It also works as an antiseptic.


This is a stimulant and mild pain reliever. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can relax and ease sore and aching muscles.

Simple Rosemary Solutions

Rosemary is one of the most versatile of all the essential oils. Over the centuries, it has been employed to fight flab, cure colds and even ensure fidelity in marriage.

To Ease Tired Muscles

The warming effects of rosemary oil can help to ease you muscular aches.
Bath oil
Before heading out for the evening, counter daytime exhaustion by adding rosemary oil to a steaming hot bath. Mix it with your shower gel to revitalise tired muscles.

aromatherapy bathing

Massage oil

Mix 4 drops of juniper oil, 4 drops of frankincense and 4 drops of rosemary in a 3% solution of massage base oil or cream to make an invigorating and stimulating blend. Never massage over swollen or painful joints.

To Improve Circulation

Rosemary oil combats poor circulation by increasing blood flow around the body. Avoid using rosemary in the late evening as its stimulating properties may keep you awake.

The oil's warming effects work especially well for combating upper respiratory ailments, clearing phlegm and catarrh from the head and chest.

If you suffer from cellulite, massage the oil firmly over the affected area. This will help to break down and disperse fatty deposits, and prevent new ones from developing.

Rosemary can also help to ease stiffness in the body caused by fluid retention in muscles and other soft tissues, improving such conditions as rheumatism and infections such as flu.

For your Head and Hair

Rosemary stimulates the flow of blood to your head and scalp, encouraging both a keen mind and strong and glossy hair.

To improve your mental stimulation during study and exams, dab rosemary oil onto your pulse points at your wrists and temples.


aromatherapy shampoo

Dandruff is dry flaking of the superficial skin cells of the scalp. Everyone's scalp will flake off to some extent, but with dandruff the flaking is much increased. Doctors suspect it can be triggered by an infection with yeasts which are among the many micro-organisms which live on normal scalps.

Dry to normal hair treatment

Shampoo your hair with a mild, unperfumed product, then towel dry. Massage your scalp with half of the mixture below, paying special attention to the ends which are prone to dryness and splitting. Cover your head with a towel and leave for up to an hour before shampooing again to remove the oil

  • 20ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 drops pure rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops pure chamomile essential oil
  • 1 drop pure lavender essential oil
  • 2 vitamin E capsules or evening primrose oil capsules

This formula is an anti-dandruff and deep conditioning treatment in one. A weekly application is usually enough to maintain a clear scalp and glossy hair. Unless your hair is very thick and long, the quantities given should be enough for two treatments. Put the oils into a dark glass bottle. Pierce the oil capsules with a pin and squeeze the contents into the mixture. Shake well.

Oily to normal hair

Was your hair with mild, unperfumed shampoo, then towel dry. Pour a little hair tonic (recipe below) into the palm of your hand and massage into the scalp and through the hair. There is no need to rinse.

If you have oily hair, you may find that if you use this product three times a week, the over-secretion of sebum will be reduced. For normal hair, a once or twice a weekly treatment is usually sufficient to maintain a clear scalp. The cider vinegar helps restore the skin's natural acid mantle. Essential oils are almost completely soluble in vinegar and they mask the smell.

  • 15ml cider vinegar
  • plastic funnel
  • 4 drops pure rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops pure lavender essential oil
  • 200ml distilled water

Pour the cider vinegar into a dark glass bottle through a funnel, then add the essential oils and shake well. Top up with distilled water and shake again. This should be sufficient for several applications.

Rosemary for Remembrance

Rosemary has long been thought of as an emblem of fidelity for lovers because of its link with remembrance.

At weddings, rosemary was dipped into perfumed water and twisted into the wreath worn by the bride. A rosemary branch painted gold and tied with coloured silk ribbons was presented to wedding guests as a symbol of love and loyalty.

At funerals the mourners carried rosemary to be thrown onto the coffin once it had been lowered into the ground. This is still a tradition in some parts of Wales.

Ancient wisdom
The Greeks and Romans used rosemary for hair decorations so that it would work on memory and intelligence.

Evil spirits
In Spain and Italy, it was used as a general protection from witches and evil spirits.

The Sicilians believed that young fairies, taking on the form of snakes, lie amongst the branches of rosemary shrubs.