Rosemary is best know as a poultry seasoning. In temperate climates it is used as a hedgerow and a garden flower. But the lowly Rosemary has not always been just a spice or a hedge. Caution: read on but be aware that Rosemary is a potent herb and can cause heavy period bleeding when overdone. Use medicinally (oil or fresh internally-other than as a spice) under the supervision of a competent herbalist.
The Egyptians and the Greeks at one time considered rosemary to be a “sacred plant” and in Medieval Europe the herb was used a sign of remembrance for fidelity. The Romans too believed that it improved memory and in China it has been used for thousands of years for everything from treating headaches to curing baldness.
Its most impressive attribute, however, is the effect it has on cancer cells, including skin cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia. Recent research, however, is proving that it may also be a powerhouse of cancer prevention and reversal, especially for breast cancer.
In large part, rosemary’s anticancer properties are due to high levels of carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid and alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), all strong antioxidants. In particular, carnosol, also found in rosemary, has been proven to detoxify certain substances that initiate the growth of breast cancer tumors.
A 2007 study done by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timişoara, Romania showed that when women with Stage III and IV breast cancer were given a special salad dressing high in rosemary (along with basil, sage, sea buckthorn berry, balsamic and grape seed oil), the oxidative stress reduced significantly in 95% of them.
The findings led the researchers to conclude that rosemary in conjunction with other bioactive herbal compounds “can lead to significant effects on health represent(ing) a promising adjuvant treatment in patients with advanced breast cancer…” Current research indicates that rosemary has the ability to inactivate estrogen hormones safely and naturally by stimulating liver enzymes that can literally “turn off” aggressive estrogen types. Researchers at Rutgers University evaluated the effects of rosemary extract on laboratory mice and discovered that a 2% rosemary diet “increased liver microsomal oxidation and glucuronidation (a process involved in Xenobiotic metabolism).” It especially effected estradiol and estrone in the uterus. Estradiol is a particularly aggressive form of estrogen that is mimicked by cancer-causing xenoestrogens in the body.
Wouldn’t you rather take a salad dressing than a drug? Especially when the study shows it works better to boot.