Rosemary Essential Oil: Therapeutic Benefits, Uses, & Recipes (Updated April 2020)

How many ways can you use rosemary essential oil? You may be surprised. Rosemary oil has a plethora of different health benefits that can help you deal with a variety of health problems. 

Rosemary may not seem like anything more than a common garden herb, but it has more to offer than its distinctive flavor. Over the centuries, it has proven itself to be very useful in a variety of ways for a variety of applications. 

In fact, rosemary is so useful that it was even considered to be a sacred herb. Among its variety of functions, rosemary was used to ward off evil as well as to protect against the ravages of the plague in the Middle Ages. You'll see that rosemary essential oil can prove itself to be capable of even more benefits in these modern times. 

Here on Aroma Foundry, you can place an order for any of our essential oils with just a tap or a click. We can guarantee purity and quality right from the moment of distillation all the way to the moment you twist the cap off a bottle of one of our essential oils.

Rosemary Essential Oil

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The History of Rosemary Essential Oil

According to one story, the name “rosemary” apparently finds its roots in a mythological tale about the Virgin Mary. The story goes like this: thousands of years ago, the flowers of the rosemary plant were white. However, the Virgin Mary one day came upon a rosemary shrub and spread her blue cloak over it as she settled down to rest.

Because of this, the flowers turned blue as well. Thus, the plant was called the “Rose of Mary,” or “rosemary.”

However, it’s likely that the name “rosemary” was actually derived from “ros” and “marinus,” the Latin words for “dew” and “sea” respectively. After all, its scientific name is Rosmarinus officinalis. Thus, “rosemary” may actually mean “dew of the sea.”

rosemary herbRosemary may seem like a common garden-variety herb, but it actually has a long history steeped in myth.

Rosemary also features in other cultural and religious traditions. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Hebrews all considered rosemary to be a sacred plant. In medieval times, it was used to protect people not just from evil spirits, but from the plague as well.

Thus, rosemary has held a particular importance for a long time. Of course, it’s not just an aromatic, citrusy weapon against dark forces, it’s also an important herb in many culinary traditions.

Its oil has also been found to have a wide range of health benefits. Many of these benefits have been scientifically proven, which means that the functions of rosemary in folk and traditional medicine may actually be rooted in scientific fact.

For example, rosemary has long been considered in folk medicine to be good for the memory. It turns out that 1,8-cineole, one of the major components of rosemary, actually does improve memory and may even be comparable to drugs treating dementia.

Uses and Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential OilSince rosemary has been around for a long time, people have found many uses for it. Its essential oil is just as, if not more, useful as the herb itself.

The aroma of rosemary oil can be quite soothing. Of course, rosemary oil can do much more than simply soothe frayed nerves. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, diuretic, expectorant, hepatoprotective, and carminative properties that enable it to have a wide range of benefits and uses.

There have also been several scientific studies that have explored and verified the medicinal and therapeutic claims about rosemary oil. It seems that a lot of the benefits of rosemary, which have been observed since ancient times, have indeed turned out to have grounding in scientific fact. Read on to find out which of rosemary’s known uses and benefits have been scientifically proven to be true.


1. Improving memory

The natural compound 1,8-cineole makes up about 30% of rosemary oil. Because of 1,8-cineole, exposure to the aroma of rosemary oil has been found to be able to improve cognitive performance.

As we age we start to forget certain things, and our memory begins to get a little muddled . However, while cognitive decline is part of the aging process, that doesn’t mean that there’s no way around it. Rosemary oil can help keep memories and cognition sharp even when they’re supposed to decline.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until you’re gray to start using rosemary oil. Using rosemary oil in aromatherapy can already help you with things like preparing for a test or increasing your productivity.

However, it’s important to note that you should not use rosemary oil on children.

essential oils for cognitive function

2. Protecting against dementia

It’s also possible that rosemary oil in aromatherapy may be able to help improve the condition of dementia patients. A small study has found that rosemary oil can may be able to manage the symptoms of dementia and help patients improve their cognitive performance.

Dementia isn’t actually a singular condition in itself. Instead, it refers to symptoms that include severe cognitive decline and a growing inability to accomplish everyday tasks. Perhaps the most well-known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating condition that makes up 60 to 80% of all cases of dementia.

While Alzheimer’s disease mostly hits people over the age of 65, those younger than that can also be at an increased risk of developing early onset Alzheimer’s. Though rosemary oil can help dementia patients improve their condition, it can also help younger adults avoid developing dementia in their later years.


3. Fighting harmful microbes

Rosemary oil isn’t just good for memory; it’s also good for many other aspects of health. Since it has been found to have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, it can help you sanitize your skin as well as your surroundings.

Microbes are everywhere, and there’s always a good chance that we’ll come into contact with harmful bacteria and fungi. While bacteria and fungi are not necessarily bad in themselves, some strains do cause certain diseases and conditions.

Rosemary oil can be effective against a lot of harmful microbes. For example, it can effectively kill the bacteria Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, which are known to cause urinary tract infection. It can also fight against Candida albicans, a pathogenic yeast that can infect the blood, skin, mouth, and genitals.

Other than UTI and Candida albicans, rosemary oil can also fight against infections caused by bacteria such as E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus.

While there are antibiotics available on the market, these have the potential to build antibiotic resistance. This means that bacteria have the capability of building immunity against antibiotics.

Thus, rosemary oil can be a good alternative. It can effectively kill harmful bacteria without the chance of antibiotic resistance.

4. Reducing anxiety and stress

Stress is a fact of life. It’s a natural reaction to certain triggers, and it can help drive us to act and think quickly when the situation calls for it. However, there are times when stress serves no productive purpose. On these occasions, rosemary oil is effective in helping you relax and ease your anxiety and stress.

For some people, stress can become chronic. This can negatively impact your health, and it can lead to conditions such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, obesity, asthma, hypertension, and diabetes, which can all become difficult to manage. Thus, stress needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Studies have found that rosemary oil has the ability to reduce cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. Rosemary oil can also ease high blood pressure, as well as help you breathe better.

Thus, if you have anxiety, you can try using rosemary oil in aromatherapy. One way to deal with anxiety is practicing breathing exercises, and you can do this while using rosemary oil in a diffuser.

5. Managing pain and inflammation

Sometimes, accidents happen. Even small accidents, like bumping your shin hard against the coffee table, can cause a lot of pain and even inflammation. While this can be manageable, it can also distract you from important things like school or work.

You have the option of taking over-the-counter analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs to help you deal with pain and inflammation. However, you also have the option of using rosemary oil, since it also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and can block pain signals from reaching the brain.

As a bonus, you probably won’t build up a tolerance to the effects of rosemary oil, but it’s possible with over-the-counter painkillers.

If you want to use rosemary oil to help relieve pain and inflammation, dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and massage the mixture into the affected area. Avoid rubbing pure rosemary oil directly on your skin, as there may be chance that it can cause irritation and dermatitis.


6. Relieving respiratory issues

Now and then we get colds, the flu, or sore throat. If you have allergies, certain times of the year may be worse than others. These situations may disrupt our day-to-day lives, as we have to push through symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, headache, and cough.

Fortunately, rosemary oil has been found to be able to relieve symptoms of respiratory issues. If you’re experiencing an infection, rosemary oil also has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that can help clear up symptoms.

Rosemary oil also has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help if you have bronchial asthma. Bronchial asthma is caused by an inflammation in the airways and involves recurring fits of coughing, wheezing, and other symptoms.


7. Boosting immune system

Rosemary Essential Oil for Boosting ImmunityHate getting sick? Let rosemary essential oil help keep colds and other infections away.


Our body’s immune system is vital in keeping us healthy. The world is full of pathogens and microbes that can disrupt several ways in which our bodies function. These pathogens and microbes can cause diseases and health conditions that can affect our work and social relationships.

Fortunately, rosemary oil can help boost the body’s immunity to these disease-causing agents. Rosemary oil has a high level of antioxidants, which can help your body fight infectious diseases. With a stronger immune system, you will be able to maintain your health and keep infections at bay.


8. Improving digestion

Nearly everyone is susceptible to indigestion, as it’s actually highly common. Certain types of food, medication, and conditions such as anxiety and depression can cause indigestion. It may also be symptomatic of another condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or ulcers.

Because so many things can cause indigestion, you may have already experienced it at least once in your life. Indigestion may not bother you all that much, but there may be times when it can be particularly painful.

If you have indigestion, you may experience symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, and a burning feeling and discomfort in the upper abdomen. These symptoms can be quite uncomfortable, but rosemary oil can help relieve them and consequently ease indigestion.

Rosemary oil also has the ability to stimulate appetite as well as the production of bile, which is a key component in good digestion.

However, though rosemary oil can aid digestion, you should not ingest it. Ingesting rosemary oil can cause spasmodic vomiting, and it is therefore best to stick to external applications of the oil.

essential oils for digestion

9. Repelling mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can carry a number of infectious, potentially deadly diseases. The Aedes aegypti mosquito in particular can carry viruses that cause dengue fever, West Nile fever, yellow fever, Zika fever, and more. Unfortunately, mosquitoes transfer these diseases to millions of people each year, and there are still fatalities even with modern medicine.

It’s best, therefore, to keep mosquitoes away. While not all mosquitoes carry disease, we can’t really tell which mosquitoes are carrying a virus and which are not. Thus, it’s best to repel as many mosquitoes as we can to be safe.

Even ordinary mosquito bites can be very itchy and quite irritating. It’s possible to use insect repellent spray and lotions to keep the bugs away, but those products may contain harsh chemicals. Plus, the active ingredient in these products is a chemical called N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, also known as DEET, which has been found to be able to enter the blood.

If you’re looking for a natural and less harmful solution to warding off mosquitoes, rosemary oil may be a good alternative to insect repellent sprays on the market. It was proven to be effective in repelling mosquitoes, and it was also found to be far less harmful than DEET.

However, you should not apply pure rosemary oil directly on your skin. Make sure to dilute the oil first in a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil. Doing so will ensure that you will not develop skin irritations as a reaction to the pure rosemary oil.

10. Promoting hair growth

Unfortunately, hair loss does happen to some of us. There are many causes of hair loss, like aging, hormones, certain medications, and certain medical conditions. Hair loss can also have a genetic cause, and it can affect both men and women.

A lot of products claim to be able to stimulate hair growth. While there may be some truth to these claims, studies have found that rosemary oil can also serve the same purpose. Rosemary oil has been found to be able to help stimulate hair growth, reduce hair loss, and even nourish the hair and scalp.

If you’re interested in using rosemary oil to help reduce hair loss, or even just to make your hair and scalp healthier, you can check out the recipe section below to see how to make your own rosemary essential oil shampoo.



While rosemary oil is generally safe to use, it can have adverse effects if not used properly. Other essential oils are the same. Since pure essential oils are highly concentrated, they may cause irritation and other kinds of harm when applied on the skin or ingested in high amounts.

Usually, diluting essential oils in carrier oils or water can made them safe to use on the skin. Some essential oils can be applied to the skin, but only an as much as a few drops at most.

However, rosemary oil is best applied to the skin diluted. You should also apply the diluted oil to a small patch of skin on your arm or leg first before using it in a larger area.

If you plan on using rosemary oil for medicinal purposes or to supplement medications or treatments, you should consult your doctor first. There’s a possibility that rosemary oil may interfere with your medications, and you may also be allergic to it. Thus, avoid using rosemary oil medicinally without your doctor’s advice.

Rosemary oil also should not be ingested as it can cause vomiting.

It’s also best not to use rosemary oil on babies and children at all. One of its active ingredients, 1,8-cineole, can improve memory but can also be harmful to young children. This is because 1,8-cineole can slow children’s breathing, or even stop it altogether. Children should also avoid even the aromatic use of rosemary oil.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid using rosemary oil. It can affect the developing fetus, and it can also reduce milk supply.



essential oilsWhat can you do with rosemary essential oil? Let your imagination run wild. Photo source: Pixabay


You can use rosemary oil in a number of safe and effective applications. Rosemary oil blends quite well with other essential oils, carrier oils, and other ingredients. You can make your own shampoo that can help stimulate hair growth, or come up with different blends for your diffuser.

If you don’t have rosemary essential oil yet, you can buy one now and try the recipes below. Aroma Foundry offers 100% pure and all-natural rosemary oil, as well as other essential oils that you may need.


Rosemary shampoo

A lot of shampoos on the market are full of potentially harmful chemicals. Many contain parabens, ethanolamines, and preservatives that can release formaldehydes. If you’re looking for a safer, all-natural solution that can also help stimulate hair growth, you can create your own rosemary shampoo with a few other ingredients.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 20 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¾ cup of aloe vera gel
  • ½ cup of baking soda

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a glass mixing bowl. Afterward, transfer all of the contents to a glass push pump bottle. You can use the mixture like any other shampoo, but it will be safer and free from harmful chemicals.

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Rosemary spray

If you’re trying to finish a school paper or maybe an overdue business report, you’ll need all the help you can get. A simple room spray can help stimulate your mind and help you stay focused, thus enabling you to get your work done. Try this recipe out and see if it’s effective for you.

These are the ingredients:

Take a glass spray bottle and pour in the witch hazel. Add the essential oils next, and gently swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients. Pour in the water then screw on the cap. Make sure it’s screwed on tightly.

After this, shake the bottle as well as you can to blend all the ingredients together.

Now you can use the spray mixture around the room if you need help with improving your concentration.


Rosemary aromatherapy bath blend

If you’re experiencing body pains and aches for any reason, one way to relieve them is to apply diluted rosemary oil onto the affected area. However, you can take this up a couple of notches by making your own rosemary bath blend. Not only will this help relieve pain, it can also help you relax.

This blend is easy to do and takes very little effort. Here are the things you’ll need:

Blend all of the ingredients in a glass bottle. Run a warm bath, then pour all the contents of the bottle into the water. Once this is done, you can soak in the bath and let the essential oils work their magic.

This is a very simple procedure, but you may also want to whip up a bigger batch so you can have the blend on hand next time you want to use it. If you want to prepare the blend ahead of time, store it in a glass pipette bottle, which can help preserve the quality of the essential oils.

The bottle should be stashed away in a cool dark place away from humidity. This means that you should not store the bottle inside your bathroom.

Rosemary diffuser blend

You can combine rosemary oil with other essential oils for a number of different aromatherapeutic purposes. These blends can help enhance memory, boost your immune system, or stimulate your creativity.

If you already have other essential oils, you may already have all you need for the different blends. Simply put the blend in a diffuser, and you’ll be ready to go!

Rosemary blend for enhancing memory:

  • 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 1 drop of basil essential oil

Rosemary blend for boosting the immune system:

Rosemary blend for stimulating creativity:

  • 1 drop of rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 2 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 1 drop of spearmint lemon oil


Check out a variety of essential oils you can use in these recipes.

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There are many benefits to rosemary essential oil and many ways to use it. Rosemary has served a lot of uses throughout history, and was even considered to be a sacred plant in ancient times. Interestingly, modern scientific research has confirmed the various uses and benefits of rosemary that were discovered centuries to millennia ago.

Thus, the myriad of health benefits associated with rosemary essential oil are backed up by evidence. If you’re curious about these effects and would like to try rosemary oil out for yourself, obtaining a bottle of the oil is very easy. Simply place an order with Aroma Foundry, and you can soon start enjoying the benefits that rosemary oil has to offer.

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  1. 13 Health Benefits and Uses Of Rosemary Oil (backed By Evidence)
  2. Herbal Oil: Rosemary Oil Benefits and Uses
  3. What Does Rosemary Do To Your Brain?
  4. Risks and Dangers Of Essential Oils | Wellness Mama Katie -
  5. Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia
  6. 15 Best Rosemary Essential Oil Diffuser Blends
  7. 20 Rosemary Oil Recipes - Uses & Benefits For Hair Growth & Skin Care
  8. Rosemary Mint Essential Oil Shampoo (recipe)
  9. Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma Mark Moss, Lorraine Oliver - Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology - 2012
  10. The Therapeutic Potential of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Diterpenes for Alzheimer's Disease Solomon Habtemariam - Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine - 2016
  11. Antioxidant activity of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oil and its hepatoprotective potential Aleksandar Rašković, Isidora Milanović, Nebojša Pavlović, Tatjana Ćebović, Saša Vukmirović, Momir Mikov - BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine - 2014
  12. Effectiveness of Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil as antihypotensive agent in primary hypotensive patients and its influence on health-related quality of life Fernández LF, Palomino OM, Frutos G - Journal of Ethnopharmacology - 2014
View all resources


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Fagjun Santos is an avid reader who eventually decided to try her hand at writing her own stuff. After spending her teen years writing what can be considered to be Vogon poetry, she now writes things that aren't a pain to read. Her favorite Aroma Foundry scent is peppermint, with lavender coming in a close second.

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  1. Background
  2. The History of Rosemary Essential Oil
  3. Uses and Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil
    1. Improving memory
    2. Protecting against dementia
    3. Fighting harmful microbes
    4. Reducing anxiety and stress
    5. Managing pain and inflammation
    6. Relieving respiratory issues
    7. Boosting immune system
    8. Improving digestion
    9. Repelling mosquitoes
    10. Promoting hair growth
  4. Precautions
  5. Recipes
  6. Summary
  7. References