John Gerard, the 16th century writer of the Herbal or General History of Plants noted, “Rosemary comforteth the cold, weak, and feeble brain in a most wonderful manner.” The legends, myths, and beliefs surrounding Rosemary are numerous, but today, most people are familiar with it because it is used extensively in Mediterranean cooking and because its wonderful, pungent fragrance is a popular ingredient in many cosmetics products.
The name, Rosmarinus, is a Latin derivation of ros maris, which means dew of the sea. Legend says where one can hear the sea Rosemary grows best. The Latin term, officinalis, means, “used medicinally.” Herbalists use the plant to help with dandruff control, eczema, and as an antibacterial. It has many other uses, both herbally, and also in landscaping design.
This shrub thrives in USDA Zones 8b-10 and is heat and cold tolerant. It can live for over thirty years. If left untrimmed, it can reach six feet in height and width. Pruning improves the look and the health of the plant. Rosemary produces numerous small blue flowers in very early spring, and in fall. It is easily propagated with cuttings.
Of all the myths and legends, the one I find most appealing is that Sleeping Beauty was awakened not only by a kiss from Prince Charming, but also with a touch from a sprig of Rosemary.