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Rosemary Essential Oil

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General Description

Rosemary essential oil is derived from Rosmarinus officinalis, a woody, drought-tolerant, perennial herb distinguished for its aromatic needle-like leaves (a highly valued flavoring in food such as stuffings and roast meats), [1] through steam distillation of the flowering tops. [2] Rosemary essential oil provides a strong, rich, and refreshing herbal scent and is rather clear and watery in viscosity. [1]

Uses and Reported Benefits

Rosemary essential oil possesses a variety of pharmacologic and biologic properties under its belt, including antispasmodic, analgesic, antirheumatic, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, and antiepileptic effects. [3] It is generally used to manage mental fatigue, circulation-related ailments, water retention, cellulite, respiratory problems, colds, and flu; to relieve pain from headaches and migraines, muscle aches, and rheumatic joint pain; to prevent mental exhaustion and stress; and to stimulate the skin and scalp circulation (hence as a toning and astringent agent). [4] Moreover, rosemary essential oil appears to stimulate cell renewal and thus improve the condition of dry or mature skin and help with lines and wrinkles, burns, and wound healing. [5] Digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas (i.e., flatulence), liver and gallbladder ailments, loss of appetite, gout, and baldness are a few more indications for rosemary essential oil use. [6]



Rosemary essential oil goes well with almost any other essential oil: Atlas cedar wood, basil, bergamot, cedar wood, cinnamon, citronella, clove, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrrh, neroli, nutmeg, oregano, palmarosa, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, rosewood, sage, spearmint, tangerine, tea tree, and thyme. [5]

Contraindications and Safety

Generally, no contraindications have been identified for rosemary use, although gastric irritation and renal damage have been associated with rosemary ingestion in large quantities. [7]

The administration of rosemary essential oil is strictly not recommended for those who are pregnant (it might encourage menstruation or distress the uterus, causing a miscarriage [6]) or who are clinically diagnosed to have epilepsy or high blood pressure [5] (it may aggravate these conditions, especially in the case of epileptic patients because of the convulsant property of rosemary essential oil's monoterpene ketones at high doses [7]). Furthermore, massaging or rubbing it directly over or below varicose veins is not advised. [5] Like any other essential oil, rosemary essential oil is best used when diluted following safety guidelines. [4]



Scientific Studies and Research

A number of studies both in human and animal models have established the antimicrobial property of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oil. Fu et al. (2007) furnished data about the antimicrobial action of rosemary essential oil against Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli and antifungal effect against Candida albicans at a minimum inhibitory concentration of 0.125-1.000% (v/v). Furthermore, when administered together with clove (Syzygium aromaticum L.) essential oil, the bactericidal and fungicidal activity of rosemary essential oil is synergized and potentiated. [8]

Following disc diffusion and broth dilution assay procedures, Luqman, Dwivedi, Darokar, Kalra, and Khanuja (2007) demonstrated that rosemary essential oil is efficacious and active against both Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria and nonfilamentous, filamentous, and dermatophytic pathogenic fungi, especially against the drug-resistant mutants of C. albicans. [9]

Fu, Zu, Chen, Efferth, Liang, Liu Z., and Liu W. (2007) illustratively described the antibacterial activity of rosemary essential oil against Propionibacterium acnes, the Grampositive causative agent of acne, as observed in atomic force microscopy (AFM). At a minimal inhibitory concentration value of 0.56 mg/mL, rosemary essential oil altered the width and height of the bacterial body at low concentration and harshly injured the bacterial body at an increasing concentration. Rosemary essential oil treatment seemed to have an adverse effect in general on P. acnes: treatment resulted in P. acnes losing their native shape, their cell wall being desquamated, and their cytoplasm leaking out of the bacterial body, finally leading to bacterial death. [10]

Rosemary essential oil has also been shown to have a strong bactericidal effect against strains of Arcobacter; in fact, at 0.5% (vol/wt), rosemary essential oil was deemed "completely inhibitory" against Arcobacter butzleri in a cooked minced beef system at 4"C. [11] A. butzleri is a Gram-negative bacteria associated with persistent, watery diarrhea [12] and neonatal infection contracted in utero. [13] Aside from the several pathogens mentioned earlier in which rosemary essential oil has a deterring and harmful effect on, Salmonella typhi, S. enteritidis, and Shigella sonei were also determined to be susceptible to rosemary essential oil. [14]

In addition to its antimicrobial property, rosemary essential oil has also been demonstrated to exert both anti-inflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive activities. Takaki et al. (2008) evaluated the antiinflammatory property of rosemary essential oil in rats by looking into the inflammatory exudate volume and leukocyte migration in carrageenan-induced pleurisy and paw edema tests and the antinociception property using acetic acid-induced writhing and hot plate tests. Data results from this study have revealed that rosemary essential oil at 500 mg/kg considerably reduced the pleural exudate volume and slightly decreased the number of cells that had migrated compared with controls. Moreover, at different doses (250, 500, and 750 mg/kg), rosemary essential oil treatment significantly suppressed the edema stimulated by carrageenan 1-4 hours after the injection of the phlogistic agent, while in the acetic acid- induced abdominal writhing test, the administration of rosemary essential oil resulted in a significant antinociceptive effect compared with controls. [3]

Because of such anti-inflammatory property, Minaiyan, Ghannadi, Afsharipour, and Mahzouni (2011) designed a study to investigate the effects of both hydroalcoholic extract from rosemary leaves and rosemary essential oil on experimental colitis in rats. Remarkably, the rosemary leaf extract and rosemary essential oil, which were administered orally and intraperitoneally at different doses, reduced the colon tissue lesions and colitis indices. In addition, at higher doses, they had diminished the histopathologic parameters regardless of the route of administration, establishing concretely the anti-colitic property of the extract and the essential oil. [15]

Rosemary essential oil's role in aromatherapy as an essential oil that promotes mental clarity was also validated by the study of Moss, Cook, Wesnes, and Duckett (2003) in which the inhalation of rosemary essential oil significantly enhanced the performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors of study participants. [16]

Molecular Components and Chemistry

In the study of Bernardes et al. (2010), it was shown that rosemary essential oil comprises camphor (18.9%), verbenone (11.3%), α-pinene (9.6%), β-myrcene (8.6%), 1,8-cineole (8.0%), and β-caryophyllene (5.1%). [17] The leaves of rosemary possess flavonoid glucuronides, namely, luteolin 3'-O-β-D-glucuronide, luteolin 3'-O-(4"-O-acetyl)-β-D-glucuronide, and luteolin 3'-O-(3"-Oacetyl)-β-D-glucuronide, and hesperidin (a potent antioxidant). [18]

References

[1] Rosemary. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary

[2] 10ml Rosemary Essential Oil. Naissance. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Naissance-10ml-Rosemary-Essential-Oil/dp/B004RGPZAS

[3] Takaki I. et al. (2008).Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil in experimental animal models. Journal of Medicinal Food, 11(4): 741-746. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2007.0524. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19053868

[4] Rosemary 100% Pure Essential Oil - 10 ml. Plantlife. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-100-Pure-Essential-Oil/dp/B000W3ZCE4

[5] Rosemary 100% Pure Essential Oil - 4oz. GreenHealth. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-100-Pure-Essential-Oil/dp/B001ETUZ24

[6] Rosemary. WebMD, LLC. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-154-ROSEMARY.aspx?activeIngredientId=154&activeIngredientName= ROSEMARY

[7] Rosemary. Drugs.com. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.drugs.com/npp/rosemary.htm

[8] Fu Y. et al. (2007). Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination. Phytotherapy Research, 21(10): 989-994. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17562569

[9] Luqman S., Dwivedi G. R., Darokar M. P., Kalra A., & Khanuja S. P. (2007).Potential of rosemary oil to be used in drug-resistant infections. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 13(5): 54- 59. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17900043

[10] Fu Y., Zu Y., Chen L., Efferth T., Liang H., Liu Z., & Liu W. (2007). Investigation of antibacterial activity of rosemary essential oil against Propionibacterium acnes with atomic force microscopy. Planta Medica, 73(12): 1275-1280. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17893831

[11] Irkin R., Abay S., & Aydin F. (2011). Inhibitory effects of some plant essential oils against Arcobacter butzleri and potential for rosemary oil as a natural food preservative. Journal of Medicinal Food, 14(3): 291-296. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0001. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21142947

[12] Vandenberg O. et al. (2004). Arcobacter species in humans. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 10(10): 1863-1867. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15504280

[13] On S. L., Stacey A., & Smyth J. (1995). Isolation of Arcobacter butzleri from a neonate with bacteraemia. Journal of Infection, 31(3): 225-227. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=8586843&dopt=Abstract

[14] Bozin B., Mimica-Dukic N., Samojlik I., & Jovin E. (2007). Antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of rosemary and sage (Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Salvia officinalis L., Lamiaceae) essential oils. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55(19): 7879-7885. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17708648

[15] Minaiyan M., Ghannadi A. R., Afsharipour M., & Mahzouni P. (2011). Effects of extract and essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on TNBS-induced colitis in rats. Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 6(1): 13-21. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22049274

[16] Moss M., Cook J., Wesnes K., & Duckett P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. International Journal of Neuroscience, 113(1): 15-38. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12690999

[17] Bernardes W. A. et al. (). Antibacterial activity of the essential oil from Rosmarinus officinalis and its major components against oral pathogens. Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung C, 65(9-10): 588-593. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21138060

[18] Okamura N., Haraguchi H., Hashimoto K., & Yagi A. (1994). Flavonoids in Rosmarinus officinalis leaves. Phytochemistry, 37(5): 1463-1466. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7765765

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