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General Information

Rosemary is a small evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean. The active ingredients of rosemary that give its medicinal properties come from the leaves of the plant. Aside from its use in medicine, rosemary is often used as a food preservative and a seasoning.

Common Name(s)


Scientific Name(s)

Rosmarinus officinalis

Scientific Name(s)

Rosemary can be used on the skin (applied topically) or taken by mouth (orally). For topical use, it is prepared as a decoction. For oral use, it is often prepared into dried leaves, infusion, fluid extract, or tincture.

When rosemary is applied to the skin, use 50 g of dried leaf daily prepared as a decoction. The dried leaf is prepared by  boiling the rosemary with 1 litre of cold water. After the water is boiled, leave it to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. After the mixture sits for 15 to 30 minutes, it can be strained and added to a full bath. The usual oral dose of rosemary is 0.6 g to 12 g of dried leaves per day.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Oral rosemary was traditionally used in herbal medicine to:

  • help relieve flatulence and indigestion (i.e., stomach pain and frequent gas)
  • help relieve headaches

Topical rosemary was traditionally used in herbal medicine:

  • as a mild antiseptic
  • to help support blood circulation
  • to help relieve muscle and joint pain associated with rheumatism (e.g., conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis)

There is not enough reliable information about the effectiveness of rosemary for any of the above uses; additional studies are required to confirm its benefits.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Rosemary is safe in amounts that are usually found in food or drinks. Rosemary is generally well-tolerated when the recommended dosage is taken. It may be unsafe to consume rosemary in larger amounts in oil or dried leaf preparations.

Rosemary can interact with the following medications:

  • anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications (e.g., apixaban, clopidogrel)
  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and other salicylate containing medications
  • diabetes medications

Before using rosemary, talk to your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • acute inflammation
  • bleeding disorders
  • fever
  • high blood pressure
  • iron deficiency
  • open cuts or skin lesions
  • salicylate allergy
  • seizures
  • severe circulatory disorders (i.e., problems with blood flow)

Consult your health care provider if your symptoms continue or worsen. Stop taking rosemary if you have an allergic reaction.

Avoid using oral rosemary or essential oils of rosemary while pregnant or breast-feeding. For topical use while pregnant or breast-feeding, consult your health care provider first.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


  1. Health Canada. Natural Health Products Ingredients Database. Rosemary – Oral.
  2. Health Canada. Natural Health Products Ingredients Database. Rosemary - Topical.
  3. Natural Database. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Rosemary.

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