Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen shrub with leaves similar to pine needles. It blooms with many small purple, blue or white flowers. Rubbed rosemary leaves give a strong, sweet aroma of camphor that is somewhat reminiscent of the smell of pine.
The genus name Rosmarinus is derived from the Latin words “ros” and “marinus”, which means "dew of the sea" because of the navy blue color in which rosemary blooms and the fact that wild rosemary often grows near the Mediterranean coast. According to a legend from ancient Greek mythology, when Aphrodite came out of the sea, she was wrapped in sprigs of rosemary.
In Greek, the herb's name means "incense of flowers and trees". It is one of the oldest incense fragrances. Rosemary holds a special place in ancient Greek religion as it was widely used to sanctify and adorn altars, temples, and holy places. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans revered rosemary as a sacred symbol of love. They used the herb to improve memory and focus, and to protect themselves from evil forces and nightmares. It is said that in ancient Greece, students put sprigs of rosemary in their hair while studying for exams. According to researchers, the plant's aroma has been linked to improved long-term memory. The most famous historical literary line in this regard is the dialogue between Hamlet and Ophelia when she tells him: "Here is a rosemary to remember - please, darling, remember me!".
The tonic, analgesic and antiseptic properties of rosemary oil were already known in the 14th century, which is why it became the main component of one of the first alcohol-based perfumes in Europe - the water of the Hungarian queen. Lively and full of energy, Queen Elizabeth attributes this to the "water", famous in Europe, which is mainly made from distilled rosemary.
Christians in Northern Europe believed that the herb kept memories and was often placed in graves or symbolized the loyalty of lovers. In France, rosemary wine was made during the plague and branches were left outside the door to protect against the destructive disease. Legend has it that rosemary grows for 33 years to reach the age of Christ.
Centuries before the refrigerator was invented, rosemary was also used to preserve meat and other foods. Because of its powerful antioxidant properties, people wrapped the meat in crushed rosemary leaves. The freshness was retained, the smell and taste remained pleasant.
Rosemary was widely used in ancient spells and formulas but is best known for its cleansing and protective properties. Used in rituals to purify and break spells.
In shamanism, the magical properties of rosemary were used during the astral journeys of the energy body in the “afterlife”. Rosemary improves the shaman's ability to enter a state of meditation or trance in which the astral is separated from the physical body.
Today, modern science proves that rosemary, when applied topically, can improve digestive disorders, relieve muscle and joint pain, and neutralize foodborne pathogens. The magic of the herb also manifests itself in its ability to act energizing on the mood, to fill the heart and mind with a desire for a lot of life and knowledge.