Rosemary: An Ancient Key to Health & Longevity?

It’s certainly tasty (in fact, it is one of my top favorite herbs!), but could rosemary really help you live longer? That’s what researchers from the University of California, San Diego are trying to determine…

A recent study of the small village of Acciaroli in Italy attempted to ascertain why its residents are so spectacularly long-lived.

It’s no joke. 15% of the population in this Italian village are over 100 years old! One out of 60 is aged 90 or older (in the U.S. the ratio is 1 to 163), and Acciaroli’s residents are plagued by very few of of the diseases we think of as diseases of aging – such as Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and heart disease.

While there are likely a number of factors influencing these citizens’ unusually long lives and good health, researchers now think their high consumption of the herb rosemary could be a factor… Here’s more, from ModernFarmer.com:

…The Times notes that the researchers have found that those in Acciaroli eat copious amounts of the herb rosemary. And this isn’t ordinary rosemary: In the dry, sunny climate, these herbs tend to produce higher concentrations of volatile oils, making them, from a culinary standpoint, much more flavorful than other varieties of rosemary. But could those compounds also contribute to a human’s long life?

Rosemary has been found to contain antioxidant properties, just like “superfoods” ranging from pomegranate to blueberry. (Antioxidants are believed to fight off new radicals, roaming beasts in the body that cause cell death.) Some studies have also indicated that rosemary oil is antimicrobial, fighting off bacteria and fungi in test tubes. Could it have the same effect when ingested by humans?…

Other studies are similarly promising… Aromatherapy using rosemary oil was shown in some studies to increase memory function and reduce anxiety, thanks largely to its high concentration of a compound called eucalyptol. There’s even the possibility that many of the various other compounds in rosemary—carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid—can slow the proliferation of cancer cells.

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While we can’t know for sure that rosemary really will help you live longer, it sure is a tasty way to dress up some of your Thanksgiving dishes! Try it in gravy, stuffing, or for flavoring your turkey.

 

 

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