Health Benefits of Rosemary Tea

Health Benefits of Rosemary Tea

Rosemary tea has long been used for aromatic and culinary purposes, alongside Ayurvedic and traditional herbal medicine (1).

Rosemary bush, known botanically as Rosmarinus officinalis is native to the Mediterranean and South American region. It is a part of the Lamiaceae family, along with oregano, mint, basil, and lemon balm (2).

Rosemary tea is enjoyed by many due to its health benefits, aroma, and flavor. This article highlights six potential health benefits of rosemary tea, drug interactions of rosemary tea, and a recipe for your drinking pleasure.

rosemary tea health benefits
Photo Credit: Healthy Eating – SFGate

It contains antimicrobial, antioxidant, & anti-inflammatory compounds

Antioxidants protect the human body from inflammation and oxidative damage, which may trigger chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes (3).

Antioxidants can be found in various plant foods including, vegetables, fruits, and rosemary. Rosemary tea also contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of rosemary tea is attributed to carnosic and rosmarinic acids, two important polyphenolic compounds (45).

Because of its high antioxidant capabilities, rosmarinic acid is mostly used as a natural preservative to lengthen the shelf-life of perishable items (67).

Rosemary tea also contains compounds that may have antimicrobial properties. This implies that they help to fight infections. The leaves of the rosemary plant are often used in traditional medicine for its wound-healing and antibacterial effects (689).

Clinical studies have examined the anticancer effects of carnosic and rosmarinic acids. It has been discovered that both acids have anti-tumor properties and may even impede the growth of prostate cancer cells, breast cancer, and leukemia (101112).

Rosemary tea helps regulate blood sugar levels

High blood sugar has damaging effects on the heart, eyes, the nervous system, and the kidney. It is therefore important that diabetic patients manage their blood sugar levels with utmost vigilance (13).

Research has shown that the compounds present in rosemary tea can lower blood sugar. The idea is that someday, this tea may prove useful in managing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

Even though there are not many studies on rosemary tea, animal and test-tube studies indicate that rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid have insulin-like effects on blood sugar.

Studies have shown that these compounds can boost glucose absorption into muscle cells, thus reducing blood sugar levels (14151617).

Rosemary tea improves memory and mood

Anxiety and stress are common experiences in today’s world.

Although there are not many studies on rosemary tea, results from existing studies show that inhaling and drinking compounds in the tea may act as mood boosters and memory enhancers.

A particular study found that taking 500mg of oral rosemary two times daily for a month caused a significant reduction in anxiety levels and also improved the quality of memory and sleep among students in college, compared with placebo (18).

Another study involving 66 industrial employees and lasting two months observed that two teaspoons of rosemary (4 grams) mixed in 150ml of water and taken daily lowered fatigue levels in the employees compared with those who didn’t drink anything (19).

It is worth noting that even smelling rosemary has beneficial effects. A particular study involving 20 healthy adults found that inhaling the aroma of rosemary for at least 4 minutes before a mental test caused improvement in performance, concentration, and mood (20).

Also, a study involving 20 healthy adults discovered that inhaling the oil from rosemary stimulated brain activity as well as mood improvement. There was also an increase in breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and activity level of participants after inhaling the oil (21).

The extract from rosemary improves the mood by creating a balance of beneficial gut flora and reducing inflammation in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that deals with learning, emotions, and memories (22).

Supports brain health

Some animal and test-tube studies have shown that the compounds in rosemary tea have protective effects on the brain. It prevents the death of brain cells (23).

Animal studies have shown that rosemary may enhance recovery from stroke and other brain-damaging conditions (24).

Other studies show that rosemary may be active against the negative effects of brain aging, and may also offer protection against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases (2325).

Rosemary tea may protect eye health and vision

While there are not many studies on the effects of rosemary tea on the eye, results from available research suggest that some compounds in the tea may have positive effects on vision.

Studies involving animals have shown that taking rosemary tea in combination with other oral treatments can impede the progression of vision problems due to aging (2627).

A certain study showed that combining rosemary extract with zinc oxide and other age-related eye disease antioxidant combinations slowed down the development of age-related macular degeneration (28).

Other experimental studies have shown that rosmarinic acid slows down the onset of cataract, and reduces its severity (29).

Note that most studies involving rosemary and eye health involve the use of concentrated extracts, thus making it hard to determine the effect that rosemary may have, as well as the quantity needed to reap these benefits.

Other potential benefits include:

  • Reduces the risk of heart failure after a heart attack
  • Promotes digestion
  • Boosts weight loss
  • Enhance hair growth

These are indeed very promising benefits, there’s a need for more research to determine the exact benefits of drinking rosemary tea.

Are there any drug interactions with drinking rosemary tea?

Like every other herb, there’s a need to exercise caution when drinking rosemary tea due to its drug interacting capabilities.

Some medications that have the most negative interactions with rosemary tea include (30):

  • Anticoagulants – blood thinners that prevent the formation of blood clots.
  • ACE inhibitors, which are effective in the treatment of high blood pressure
  • Diuretics reduce the amount of fluid in the body by increasing urination.
  • Lithium which is useful in the treatment of manic depression.

Recipe for rosemary tea

You can make rosemary tea with ease. It requires only two ingredients – rosemary and water.

Here’s how you prepare it:

  1. Boil 295ml (10 ounces) of water.
  2. Add a teaspoon of loose rosemary leaves to the water. You may put the leaves in a tea infuser and steep for 5-10mins.
  3. Strain the leaves with a mesh strainer, or take out from the tea infuser. You can then discard the leaves.
  4. Enjoy your tea in a mug. You may sweeten with honey, sugar, or agave syrup.

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