Rosemary Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Aromatherapy for anxiety & cognitive function
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)


  • Rosemary leaves contain an oil that is extracted for use in aromatherapy to purportedly relieve anxiety, decrease pain, and improve mood, alertness, and cognition.
  • Rosemary may have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is thought to decrease pain spasms caused by excessive smooth muscle activity in the gut and gallbladder.
  • Rosemary improved hair growth in individuals with alopecia areata when used for at least 7 months and when applied in combination with lavender, thyme, and cedar wood oils.
  • Rosemary may reduce the production of inflammatory compounds that form on the surface of meats during grilling. If this turns out to be true, then it would be a good idea to incorporate rosemary into barbecue rubs as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Rosemary may also have antibacterial and antifungal properties.


  • One study of rosemary aromatherapy for treating tension showed that the rosemary actually seemed to increase anxiety in the participants. Another study suggested that rosemary may worsen blood sugar control in diabetics.
  • Rosemary may lower estrogen levels, which would be a problem for certain estrogen-sensitive individuals and those on estrogen medications.
  • Rosemary may affect lithium levels. Patients taking lithium must therefore use rosemary with caution.
  • Future studies are needed to confirm the benefits and potential concerns.

Rosemary should not be used by women who are or who wish to become pregnant, based on preliminary evidence showing toxic effects to embryos. Overdose on large amounts of rosemary oil could result in inflammation of the stomach lining, pulmonary edema, seizures, coma, or death. Topical application of the oil may cause inflammation or photosensitivity in some people.

DOSAGE:A rosemary bath can be made by steeping approximately 45 g of rosemary leaf for 10-15 minutes in a quart of hot water, and then pouring the water through a strainer directly into the bath water. A tea can be prepared by steaming 1-2 g of leaf in 150 ml boiling water for 5-10 minutes and then straining the leaves.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that while rosemary oil appears to be a promising aromatherapy for anxiety and cognitive function, there is not enough evidence for us to support these indicated uses. Although its common use as an herb suggests low toxicity, rosemary has not undergone comprehensive safety testing. The essential oil can be toxic, even at low doses, and the maximum safe dose is unknown.

“Rosemary.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Rosemary.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Kim, I. et al. Antioxidant Activities of Hot Water Extracts from Various Spices. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2011) 12, 4120-4131
Rosemary. EBSCO Publishing (2011) 1-4

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