Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub with leaves similar to hemlock needles .
It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates.Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5m (4ft 11in) tall, rarely 2m (6ft 7in).The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (3⁄4–1
1⁄2 in) long and 2–5mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair.
Salvia rosmarinus is now considered one of many hundreds of species in the genus Salvia.Formerly it was placed in a much smaller genus, Rosmarinus, which contained only two to four species including R. officinalis,which is now considered a synonym of S. rosmarinus.
The first mention of rosemary is found on cuneiform stone tablets as early as 5000 BC(Botany, Chemistry)After that not much is known, except that Egyptians used it in their burial rituals.There is no further mention of rosemary until the ancient Greeks and Romans.Pliny the Elder wrote about it in The Natural History,as did Pedanius Dioscorides, a Greek botanist (amongst other things). He talked about rosemary in his most famous writing,De Materia Medica, one of the most influential herbal books in history.
The plant or its oil have been used in folk medicine in the belief it may have medicinal effects. Rosemary was considered sacred to ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.In Don Quixote(Part One, Chapter XVII), the fictional hero uses rosemary in his recipe for balm of fierabras.
The plant has been used as a symbol for remembrance during war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia.Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Australia, sprigs of rosemary are worn on ANZAC Day and sometimes Remembrance Day to signify remembrance; the herb grows wild on the Gallipoli Peninsula, where many Australians died during World War.
Rosemary leaves are used as a flavoring in foods,such as stuffing and roast lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey. Fresh or dried leaves are used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine. They have a bitter,astringent taste and a characteristic aroma which complements many cooked foods.Herbal tea can be made from the leaves. When roasted with meats or vegetables, the leaves impart a mustard-like aroma with an additional fragrance of charred wood that goes well with barbecued foods.
In amounts typically used to flavor foods, such as one teaspoon(1 gram), rosemary provides no nutritional value.Rosemary extract has been shown to improve the shelf life and heat stability of omega 3–rich oils which are prone to rancidity.Rosemary is also an effective antimicrobial herb.
Rosemary oil is used for purposes of fragrant bodily perfumes or to emit an aroma into a room. It is also burnt as incense, and used in shampoos and cleaning products.