Rosemary is often called a spice but is truly an herb. It has been used since the time of the early Greeks and Romans, 500 B.C. Greek scholars often wore a garland of the herb on their heads to help their memory during examinations. In the ninth century, Charlemagne had the herb grown in his royal gardens. Napoleon Bonaparte used a cologne made with rosemary. Rosemary was also the subject of poems and was even mentioned in five of Shakespeare’s plays.
Rosemary’s history is steeped in legend, myth and folklore. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary, as she fled from Egypt, sheltered next to a rosemary bush. She threw her blue cape onto the bush and the white flowers turned blue. Thus the name of the plant is often called “rose of Mary”.
Rosemary is also symbolic of fidelity or love. During the Middle Ages, a bride would wear rosemary in her headpiece and the groom and guests would wear a sprig of rosemary. The newlyweds would plant rosemary on their wedding day as a good omen of the future.
Rosemary’s medicinal history spans centuries. It was first used for respiratory issues. During the 13th century, the Queen of Hungary, who was paralyzed, was given a concoction of rosemary and wine that cured her. The concoction was used to cure baldness, dandruff, and other skin ailments. In successive years, rosemary was used to treat the plague, melancholy, gout, epilepsy, and arthritis and today it is still used as a tea to treat sore throats, head colds and to freshen bad breath.
Its culinary uses dated back to the Spanish in the 13th century who cultivated it. Rosemary became a popular condiment for salted meats. Today it is used for cooking, enhancing the flavor of poultry, fish, lamb and beef and also, some vegetables, soups, and salad dressings.
Pick up the spice, along with a recipe at one of the Coffey County Library branches.
To receive the materials, please register online at https://bit.ly/CoffeyCountySpiceoftheMonth, by scanning the QR code below, or drop by any of the Coffey County Library branches.