(Rosmarinus officinalis)

Description : Perennial, or annual in cold climates. 18". Evergreen shrubby plant with thin inch-long fragrant leaves that curl under and grow thick along stems. Camphorous taste. Small pale blue flowers. Where perennial, makes a good hedge.

Culture : Sow seeds in sterile medium early in the season, water from below and transplant later to sunny location. Or plant from cuttings in August under glass or plastic and move to garden later. Keep misted. Or use layering method by pinning lower branches under sandy soil until rooted. Keep soil cultivated and feed occasionally. To keep over winter, transplant in small pot, set on sunny sill, and spray mist.
Preservation : Pick leaves and dry in shade.

Uses :
  • Culinary : Pungent cooking herb. Best fresh. Use with chicken, pork, or lamb. Lightly with eggplant and other vegetables, breads.
  • Medicinal: Tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, stimulant. Tea is supposed to cure headache.
  • Fragrance: Perfume and toiletries. Hair lotion can be made with borax and rosemary.
Colonial opinion: Gerard tells us that the distilled water of rosemary, drunk morning and evening, "taketh away the stench of the mouth and the breath." Parkinson notes its "civill weddings, funerals, etc., to bestow among friends." And, according to Culpeper, "to burn the herb in houses and chambers correcteth the air in them."

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