Outlander Herbal Guest Post – Rosemary
The five of us stood in a circle around the chunk of granite with which Jamie had marked the stranger’s grave. There were five of us, and so we laid the circle with five points. By common consent, this was not only for the man with the silver fillings, but for his four unknown companions — and for Daniel Rawlings, whose fresh and final grave lay under a mountain-ash, nearby.
The smoke rose up from the small iron fire-pot, pale and fragrant. I had brought other herbs as well, but I knew that for the Tuscarora, for the Cherokee, and for the Mohawk, sage was holy, the smoke of it cleansing.
I rubbed juniper needles between my hands into the fire, and followed them with rue, called herb-of-grace, and rosemary — that’s for remembrance, after all.
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 110 – Man of Blood)
photo by NatalieMaynor
The following words and photos are from Rose, who has just started an Outlander Herbal page on Facebook! Please go over and give her a “like,” and don’t forget to leave a comment below…how do you use rosemary?
Rosemarinus officinalis – Your Old Aunt Rosemary
Rosemary has been a favorite herb since I was a young teenage maiden; I would prune the bushes in the garden, put the clippings in a glass jar and pour piping hot water over them. This decoction I would use on my hair, hoping that it would start dancing at the roots and grow Rapunzel length over night. That didn’t happen — but it did enhance the health of my glossy dark hair and if felt good & smelled great pouring the cooled tea over my hair.
I have since learned Rosemary has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants, anti-septic and anti-viral properties. The aromatic qualities of rosemary are very powerful, and are said to help memory. The plant has been associated with memory and remembrance for eons, and scientists have found that it is because of a special plant acid helps protect the brain and guard it from free radicles.It also helps clean impurities from your system. Anti-inflammatory qualities help with inflammations associated with heart disease and asthma. It invigorates the senses, clear the sinuses, calming and uplifting to the mood, help relieve anxiety and depression, stave off Alzheimer’s.
So since rosemary helps with memory, mood, inflammation, overall immunities, think of the plant as if it was your old Aunt Rosemary, the Auntie (anti) that scares away all the bad guys- inflammation, depression, anxiety, sepsis, viruses, free radicals, every day toxins we encounter, etc. Put a little rosemary in your dinner & she’ll chase all the bad guys away. Tough as a tack, this plant is as helpful to you as it is easy to grow & use.
There is some age old wisdom that says; where rosemary plants flourish a woman is in control. It makes me think of the rosemary growing along the castle Leoch walled garden, where Mrs. Fitzgibbons was certainly in control. It makes me happy to see gardens taken over by hardy rosemary bushes. So apart from hair wash, smelling great & women’s power, I’ve found there are a few great things this plant can help me with in the kitchen.
Rosemary blends nicely with just about every kind of meat. Chicken, beef and Lamb are my favorites. When you’re cooking with rosemary you need to chop it up a little if it’s fresh, or crumble the leaves if it’s dried- to allow the oils and herbal compounds to fully release. Rosemary is good in breads and soups. It makes a great marinade for meats on the grill or in the crock pot. After removing the leaves you can use the long stems of the plant as barbeque skewers, and they will add flavor to your meat & veggies.
Rosemary is easy to grow. It comes back every year, in most climates, and will grow in size each year as well., so it’s best to plant it in a spot it can grow into and one that it can stay in for years to come, and preferably close to the kitchen. Rosemary is most often grown from a cutting, so don’t waste time trying to grow it from seed, you can pick up a small cheap plant almost anywhere and grow an endless supply of this herb.
So now that you’re feeling like an expert on rosemary, I want to tell you a few things about this plant in the world of landscape so you don’t go out in the world touting you herbal knowledge and get squashed by someone pointing out the diversity of this plant genus.
The plant we grow for cooking is just Rosmarinus officinalis- official rosemary, simple as that. The stuff that’s growing in landscapes all over the place, cascading down office walls like the hanging gardens of Babylon, or creeping over the ground covered with lovely blue (or even pink or white) flowers, growing up and over and looking all kinds of crazy cool, that is ornamental rosemary, specific varieties of the same plant adapted for landscape value. Yes they are still edible, should we reach some point of Armageddon, those office buildings might have unexpected landscape value, but they are adapted for their looks and I’d say some of the flavor and culinary usefulness is less prominent in these plants. It makes me grin to see Rosemary in the landscape, because I believe somewhere behind it, a woman is in control.