Rosemary: A Strong Herb to be Used Wisely

Rosemary’s strong, piquant aroma and piney taste is unmistakable when it’s used in culinary dishes and teas, as well as herbal supplements. Its power must be wielded judiciously.

Medicinal uses: 

Do: Take herbal rosemary supplements according to the label’s or your doctor’s instructions. 

It’s long been valued for its ability to aid brain function. It has also been used to treat indigestion, and some research indicates rosemary extract may have cancer-fighting ability. Rosemary essential oil can be applied to your skin, hair or scalp to prevent aging or stimulate hair growth.

Don’t: Ingest more supplements or herbs than advised. Don’t ever take rosemary oil orally.

Medical experts warn that taking large doses of rosemary, more than the equivalent of 0.2 ounces (6 grams) of dried herb a day, can in rare cases lead to vomiting, spasms, fluid in the lungs or even coma because of the volatile oil it contains. It could also pose a risk of miscarriage.

Culinary use: 

Do: Use rosemary when you cook. The amount of this classic Mediterranean herb used to season almost all dishes poses no threat. A teaspoon of fresh rosemary weighs about 0.02 ounces or 0.57 grams; when dried, that teaspoon weighs 0.04 ounces or 1.1 gram.

Do: Season meat and roasted vegetables with rosemary. It’s very often paired with chicken, turkey or seafood with delicious results, though some people suggest it’s more suited to beef, lamb and other meats with strong flavor. Some recipes call for including short sprigs of rosemary branches rather than whole or minced leaves.

Rosemary pairs spectacularly with most roasted or sautéed veggies as well, including Brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.

Do: Include rosemary in some drinks (lemontinis, gin fizzes) or even desserts (anything with lemon). It’s a key seasoning for focaccia. 

Don’t: Go above what the recipe calls for when you’re not cooking for a forgiving audience. Too much of its flavor can easily overpower a dish.

Don’t: Leave full sprigs in the meal when serving, as they could become a choking hazard.