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Rosemary is an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean coast but now cultivated worldwide for ornamental, culinary, medicinal and perfumery purposes. The essential oil is captured by steam distillation of the flowering tops. The oil is colorless to pale yellow with a woody-balsamic scent. The precise nature of the scent varies according to the plant's habitat.

Rosemary has impressive healing properties and is also an excellent nerve tonic. A few drops of the essential oil in the bath restores energy levels after a period of prolonged stress. It can also be used in a burner to help concentration. Rosemary has always been associated with the mind and improving the memory. Dab some oil onto wrist bands or a hairband to boost mental power. Studies have shown that as well as being a stimulant to the nervous system, rosemary essential oil is primarily antiseptic and anti-bacterial. The warming and stimulating effects of rosemary help clear phlegm from the head and chest which is why it has traditionally been used as a remedy for upper respiratory ailments such as acute bronchitis, catarrh and colds. For such complaints it can be used in steam inhalations, diluted in a carrier oil and applied as a chest rub or simply added to the bath. People with bad circulation can benefit greatly from it. It is also good as a rinse for dark hair as it increases shine and helps with dandruff.

Rosemary essential oil is perfectly safe for home use as long as it is well diluted before application. However, do not use it during pregnancy or if you have epilepsy. Always check with your doctor before you use it.