8 Household Uses for Rosemary

Here are just a few of the ways this hardy herb lends itself to use in the kitchen, around the home and in your daily beauty routine.

granita

This elegant, herbal granita is spiked with sparkling wine, but it can be omitted for an alcohol-free version.

Photo by Howard Lee Puckett

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Rosemary is a hardy plant with uses that range from culinary to aromatherapy. Its health properties are also diverse. Considered a memory aid since ancient times — students in Ancient Greece would insert rosemary sprigs into their hair while studying for exams — rosemary’s ability to improve quality of memory and focus is backed up by science. The Mediterranean perennial also has anti-cancer properties and has been used traditionally to calm nerves and muscle spasms, stimulate the nervous system, and fight inflammation. Here are a few ways rosemary lends itself to use for food, beauty and cleaning.

1. Glorious Granita
Similar to a sorbet, a granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and other adaptable flavorings, and is easy to make at home. This elegant version uses rosemary, lavender, ginger and sparkling wine for an easy after-dinner treat. Visit motherearthliving.com/rosemary-lavender-ginger-granita for the recipe.

2. Rosemary and Thyme Pesto
Rosemary pesto is perfect atop meat or potatoes. To make it, combine equal parts minced fresh rosemary and thyme in a bowl. Puree macadamia nuts, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor, then mix with minced herbs. 

3. Fall-Purpose Cleaner
Create a natural disinfectant cleaner that will leave your home smelling like autumn. Combine 2 cups water, 1 cup white vinegar, 25 drops rosemary essential oil and 25 drops fir essential oil and pour into a large spray bottle. Use the mixture to cleanse and disinfect kitchens, bathrooms and countertops.

4. Legendary Lotion
According to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, this spa-quality lotion packed with herbs had its beginnings as a gypsy cure-all. Try using this versatile formula in other ways, such as a foot bath, aftershave or hair rinse. Get the recipe at motherearthliving.com/herbal-astringent-lotion.

5. Seasonal Stew
This mushroom stew — served with rosemary mashed potatoes — is the perfect hearty and healthy accompaniment to cooler temperatures. Get the recipe at motherearthliving.com/autumn-mushroom-stew.

6. Handy Home Scrub
Try this gently abrasive homemade cleaner on sinks, tubs and showers. Combine 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup liquid castile soap and 10 drops rosemary essential oil in a small bowl, and stir to a smooth consistency. To use, scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a damp sponge. Scrub the surface you’re cleaning in small, circular motions, and rinse well when done.

7. Clarifying Rinse
For a hair rinse that brightens and strengthens locks, heat 1 cup apple cider vinegar to almost boiling, and pour over 2 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary. Add 10 drops lavender essential oil, and store the mixture in a glass bottle. To use, add 2 tablespoons of the mixture to 1 cup of water, and massage through hair after shampooing. Rinse well.

8. Sweet Herbal Treat
Rosemary lends its unique flavor to foods of all kinds, playing well with sweet, savory and other herbal flavors. Try it in this delicious Caramelized Lemon Rosemary Tart.