Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rosemary -- Facts and Fiction

Rosemary - Rosarinus officinalis
The Latin name (ros-marinus) means "dew of the sea."

If you've seen my last two posts, you can guess where I'm going. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; a memorable line from a song from the sixties based on the most common four herbs used in the kitchen. Of the four, rosemary was the least familiar to me in my early marriage. It does have a stronger flavor than the others and also a pungent scent. I have grown to love rosemary, and just to touch the leaves and then smell my fingers can take me to Heaven.

Rosemary grows best is a sunny location with alkaline soil. It should be in a well-drained area. It also grows well in pots. Containing the roots forces the fragrance to be strong. When harvesting, cut 4-inch sections from the top.
Now for the Facts and Fiction:


1. In the language of flowers, rosemary means "your presence revives me."

2. Rosemary is the birthday flower for January 17th.

3. Astrologers call it the "herb of the sun."

4. The French used to spread their wet laundry on rosemary bushes to dry, leaving behind a fresh scent on their clothing.

5. In the 1200s, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary used a toilet water made from rosemary flowers and white wine as a facial. She was known for her youthful appearance.

6. Place rosemary in the pages of an old book to dispel the musty smell.


1. On Midsummer's Eve (June 23rd) place a bowl of flour underneath a rosemary plant. In the morning, you will find the initials of your future husband or wife written in the flour.

2. Crush rosemary flowers and tie them to your right arm to make you feel happy.

3. Brides wore wreaths of rosemary on their heads to help them remember their wedding vows.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Simon and Garfunkel, 1968

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Bits, Tales, and Yarns - my newest writing adventure.


The Quintessential Magpie said...

I love that song. It's beautiful played on the flute.

I heard that brunettes should rinse their hair with rosemary water. Have you heard this?


Sheila :-)

Nell Jean said...

Rosemany is a fav of mine. Since I discovered thyme, sage has faded into the background as a culinary fav.

Rosemary makes a fine little hedge. I keep cuttings rooting just to have on hand. I love the resinous fragrance when one brushes by it. Even the dog can bring out the aroma.

Jane Marie said...

Yes, Sheila,
I have heard about the rosemary rinse also but I've never tried it. My mother always said brunettes use a vinegar rinse and blondes use a lemon rinse. I'll have to give it a chance. Thanks for reminding me.

KayzKreationz said...

I love that song too. And I love walking past my rosemary or anybody else's and just running my fingers along the leaves/branches. I just can't resist. I love the smell. Have 2 huge prostrate rosemary plants in front of my deck and love to water, touch and clip them.

Greensparrow said...

I think your second "fiction" isn't fiction at all! Just the smell of rosemary tied to my arm would make me happy!