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The Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
The Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil

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There is something simply enchanting about the herb rosemary. Perhaps it is the aromatic woodsy fragrance and the simple beauty of its feathery fronds. Or perhaps it is the delicate taste that rosemary lends to soups, stews and brewed teas.  For me, it is the powerful healing qualities of rosemary essential oil.


Rosemary is a lovely shrub-like green plant with pale blue flowers and long, needle-like leaves. The aromatic leaves and part of the flowers are used to produce essential oil.  Although native to the seaside regions of North Africa and the Mediterranean, today rosemary grows in other parts of the world and is quite prolific.

Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil - Backdoor Survival

It takes its name from “rosmarinus”, a Latin term meaning “dew of the sea”.  This implies that rosemary can thrive without any water other than the humidity carried by the breeze of the sea.  Perhaps that is why it grows so well in temperate coastal regions.

In ancient times, rosemary was used as the universal symbol of remembrance.  In Egypt, sprigs of rosemary were laid across coffins or tombstones and it is has been determined that this tradition continued well into the medieval period and beyond.

During the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies. The bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary.  This tradition continued and later on in history, newlywed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day.  If the branch grew, it was a good omen for the union and family.

Throughout history, rosemary oil has been used as both a physical and mental stimulant and as a remedy for muscle and joint aches, poor memory, indigestion and headaches.


Rosemary essential oil has many outstanding qualities.  It is an effective antiseptic and an antibacterial/antifungal agent.  It also has excellent antioxidant properties.

Like lavender, rosemary is one of the few essential oils that can be safely applied to the skin in its undiluted form.  Be aware, however, that for safety reasons, undiluted rosemary oil should not be used by women who are pregnant or by individuals who are prone to seizures.  (This caveat applies to all essential oils, not just rosemary.)

Today I share 12 of the most practical applications of rosemary essential oil.  Each use has been time-tested over the ages and promises to foster both healing and wellness over the long term.


1.  Muscle and Joint Pain:  Applied topically, rosemary oil is an effective treatment for muscle pain and arthritis.  It also helps circulation.  It works especially well in combination with lavender and peppermint essential oils.  See my all-purpose relief formula below.

2.  Heal wounds: Use sparingly on cuts and scrapes to speed the healing of wounds

3.  Physical and mental stimulation:  Use while bathing to aid in relieving both muscle soreness and mental exhaustion.

4.  Relieve anxiety and stress:  Rosemary reduces anxiety plus, when combined with lavender oil, reduces stress by calming and relaxing the nerves.

5.  Sooth and heal rough scaly skin: A few drops of rosemary oil mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil reduces itching and irritation and heals dry, itchy patches of skin caused by psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

6.  Reduce bad breath and promote oral health:  When mixed with water, a few drops of rosemary oil helps get rid of halitosis. In addition, by removing bacteria, rosemary essential oil can prevent gingivitis and the excess build of plaque.

7.  Relive headaches:  Apply a drop of two topically to the temples to relieve tension headaches and migraines.

8.  Treat respiratory problems and congestion:  Inhale or use aromatically to aid with congestion associated with allergies, colds, flu, and respiratory infections.

9.  Promote healthy hair and scalp  A few drops in shampoo or conditioner stimulates hair cells and re-growth, and also provides relief for itchy scalps and dandruff.

10.  Improve Concentration and Memory:  Rosemary increases your ability to concentrate and remember things.

11.  Repel bugs: Diluted in water, rosemary essential oil in a spray bottle wards off flies and mosquitos.

12.  Control and prevent acne:  Apply topically to reduce the oil and sebum production that causes breakouts and acne.


For years I have used the following formula to relieve muscle and joint pains and also to reduce scarring from cuts, scrapes and even surgical wounds.

Rosemary – 10 drops
Lavender – 10 drops
Peppermint – 10 drops

Combine the essential oils in 2 tablespoons of your favorite carrier oil. My current favorite is a half and half combination of organic coconut oil and olive oil.

You can use this concoction to massage sore muscles, relieve an itchy scalp or topically to heal wounds and mitigate scarring.  This is my go-to all-purpose relief formula – I use it for everything.

Update:  You might recognize this formula as the basis in DIY Miracle Healing Salve. This is a fantastic blend that you will definitely want to check out.


The well-regarded herbal authority, Rosemary Gladstar, has this to say about rosemary:

We’ve only begun to uncover the many uses of rosemary. It has long been renowned as a memory aid. It has a tonic effect on the nervous system and is good for circulation. It strengthens the heart and reduces high blood pressure. It has been used for hundreds of years as a cosmetic herb for its beneficial effects on the hair and skin.

I have found that rosemary ranks up there with lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and clove as the most useful essential oils.  I use rosemary essential oil neat (topically applied directly to the skin) or mixed with coconut oil, as a scrub in my hand and foot cleaner, and, most recently in a homemade healing salve.

More than ever, these days I am trying to embrace essential oils into my daily routine.  As with all things preparedness, becoming skilled in essential oils now will pay dividends if I am ever in a survival situation.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Spotlight: I have been using Rosemary essential oil for over 20 years and it never disappoints.  It is one of the mainstay oils in my kit and a favorite in my diffuser.  I grow an abundant amount of Rosemary in my yard as well, and enjoy it’s fresh, woodsy, smell.  A few drops mixed in my hair conditioner is heavenly!

I purchase Rosemary essential oil from Spark Naturals.  It is therapeutic grade which means it can also be ingested internally although except for a single drop in my water, I only use essential oils topically.

Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil - Backdoor Survival

Also available at Spark Naturals are a variety of useful accessories, including roller ball bottles, ointment jars, glass spray bottle and diffusers. As always, use the discount code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” to receive a 10% discount on your order.


Bargain Bin:  Below you will find some links to some of my favorite essential oil books and products.  My first choice for health and wellness purposes is Spark Naturals but oils from NOW Foods are value prices and good for for household use.

Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies: Rosemary Gladstar is the mother of modern herbalism. Her wisdom and vision have inspired an entire generation of herbal healers, and her insights into the healing power of plants have helped people everywhere embrace more natural, healthy, and radiant lives.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: I first became interested in aromatherapy and essential oils in the early 90s which was before they really became mainstream. I read every book I could get my hands on and dabbled at creating synergy’s (a combination of two or more oils that create a chemical compound that is greater than the some of its individual components). My bible then, and even now, is this book.

NOW Foods Essential Oils:  I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  For healing purposes, I feel they are superior.  On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price from Amazon.  Here are a few to get you started:  NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil, Now Foods Lavender Oil and, NOW Foods Lemongrass Oil.

Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil:  Fractionated Coconut Oil stays liquid, is clear, and is highly stable for use in creams and lotions, and many other cosmetic preparations for skin and hair. It penetrates the skin readily, thus acting as an excellent carrier for essential oils.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, Tea Tree:  I have become very fond of Dr. Bronner’s products.  A little goes a long way and I like that they leave no residue on my cabinets, counters and floors when used for cleaning.

Clove Oil: Clove oil should be a component of every survival first aid kit. For less than $10, you have a multi-purpose product that takes up little room but solves a myriad of unwelcome and unexpected ailments. Travelers – this especially applies to you!



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13 Responses to “The Powerful Healing Qualities of Rosemary Essential Oil”

  1. Hi, Gaye, thank you for this informative web article on rosemary, which answers questions I had about this oil. If it’s possible to make an edit, please note that you are missing an “e” in the line “Relive headaches,” because it’s clear you are talking about relieving head-aches, not living them again. 🙂 I did get a pleasant laugh at the unexpected, though, when I read it. Also I enjoyed your wise outlook in “Meet Gaye.” Thanks for what you’re posting online. -Tamara

  2. I heard that rosemary oil can help with the neurological pain associated with shingles. I would like any info you can provide on this manner. My poor pother has been in pain for 3 1/2 years now & I hate seeing her this way.
    My dog was diagnosed with a malignant cancer & I’ve been giving him frankincense. It really seems to be helping him.

  3. Living in New England this week has blown out my shoulder and back. Too much snow, too fast. I found this site tonight and made the all purpose pain relief oil. Rubbed it into my shoulder and wow! The ache is gone. Went back and rubbed it on my back, as best I could, and feeling so much better. No, the pain isn’t magically gone, but the persistent ache that was making me crazy is. I think I’ll sleep tonight. Thank you!

  4. Plain, fresh sprigs of rosemary are wonderful for grilling food, as well. No essential oil needed, but so far as I know, no particular health benefits other than those derived from good food.

    I marinate skinless chicken breasts and thighs in olive oil and pepper, then lay about three feet (yes, three feet) of rosemary sprigs on the coals, then put the grill on, and lay down the chicken. I then put the cover on loosely so we don’t have a bonfire of the poultry. Delicious.

    I do the same thing with hamburgers. Also wonderful flavor. I haven’t yet tried it with grilled vegetables, but I suspect it would be good.

    Rosemary bushes in the yard can get 5 feet tall and 4 feet across, so a few of them go a long way. Aside from pruning, they require no work.


  5. I understain tha tthe oils are great stuff, but what I dont understain is how would I get the oils from them? Is there a DIY book out there? Thank you, Bill

    • My question also. I have worked with the essential oils before and eventually the bottle is empty. would like to know how to make my own from the plants that I grow.

    • Bill – I have never made my own essential oils so I am afraid I can not help you. I will look need to do some research to see if I can find an eBook that explains the process.

      — Gaye

    • Here’s the way I will be doing my rosemary oil. I already have lilac oil using this method only I used the fresh lilac flowers. I’ll be using dried rosemary since I received a bunch for teaching a class in medicinal herbs and how to grow in containers. 🙂

      BTW: I still want the oil expeller, I just want more than one way to make essential oils. This method is the cold infusion method so I’m keeping any parts which might be killed off during the distillation method.

    • Amazon has an oil expellar which is manual. With it, you can take any plant and expell the oil. I have 2 just in case someone decides they need mine, I have one hidden away. 😉 I’m still learning how to use it. Just remember many work better when mixed with alcohol so put a bottle of cheap vodka with your stores just for that. 🙂 John R, not sure how it works with bourbon. lol

  6. I too love love love essential oils and have several kinds. I just used some lavendar and tea tree to treat one of my rabbits with ear mites…I could not believe how fast it cleared it up! All redness and scaliness was gone just after two treaments with the oils in some almond oil. I make my own toothpast, soaps, cleaners and use the oils with a diffuser in my house. Mother Nature provides all medicines!

  7. 10. Improve Concentration and Memory: I may have know how to use this, but I have forgotten. What would I do with this to help my concentration and memory? Mix it with my bourbon?

    • LOL All you have to do is take a sniff…no drinking needed. It really does help with ‘senior’ moments.

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