Its leaves are rich in antioxidants and therefore offer many health-protective properties. Traditionally, rosemary has been used to give indigestion relief, although there’s not enough scientific data to back this up. However, it does have anti-inflammatory effects and promotes good gut bacteria so it’s certainly beneficial for your digestive health.
Modern studies revealed that rosemary may have positive effects on our mental and cognitive health. Regular consumption, such as drinking tea made from rosemary leaves or even inhaling rosemary aroma (from fresh leaves or essential oil), can help to lower anxiety levels, improve sleep quality and boost your memory, mood and ability to concentrate.
Rosemary also has antibacterial properties so adding it to your meals can help protect your health. If you add rosemary to perishable foods, it extends their shelf-life.
Storing and preserving herbs
When choosing fresh herbs, always pick those that have supple green leaves, without any brown or discoloured spots. It’s best to then wrap them in a slightly damp cloth and keep in the fridge. That way, they will have enough but not too much water, and will be protected from drying out.
If you buy or grow larger quantities, freezing will preserve their nutritional value. Chop them and pack into ice cube trays, covering each portion with vegetable stock. Or use a food processor to coarsely chop the leaves, add a drizzle of virgin olive oil to lightly coat them, divide into ice cube trays and freeze. You can then use these frozen portions for anything from soups, stews, to pasta sauce and baked dishes.
Dried herbs are best kept in tightly sealed glass containers out of direct sunlight. Even though they keep for a long time, they only keep their full flavour for about six months.