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Rosemary herb nutrition facts

Charming rosemary herb is the perfect potherb to have in your kitchen garden. The plant is one of the recognized herbs for its note-worthy health benefiting phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants, and essential acids.

Rosemary belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, of the genus, Rosmarinus. Its botanical name is Rosmarinus officinalis.

It is thought to be originating in the Mediterranean region as a wild, strewing evergreen perennial shrub. Today, it is grown in nearly all countries around the Mediterranean region and Asia minor as an important culinary herb.

Rosemary flourishes in well-drained, alkaline soil. It prefers sunny condition and needs protection shelter from gusty winds. The plant reaches about 1.5-3 meters in height. Its bushy stems and downy young shoots are covered with about 1 inch long, narrow, needle-like aromatic leaves; dark green above and grayish underneath. The plant bears short racemes of small sea blue flowers appearing in early summer.

The plant parts; flowers and leaves have odor that is pungently aromatic and somewhat camphoraceous (camphor-like).

Apart from culinary and medicinal purpose rosemary shoots, flowers and leaves are used in ceremonies such as weddings and festivals for decorating banquet halls as incense to ward off bad influences.

Health benefits of Rosemary herb

  • Rosemary leaves contain certain phyto-chemical (plant derived) compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

  • The herb parts especially flower tops contain phenolic anti-oxidant rosmarinic acid as well as numerous health benefiting volatile essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, ?-pinene etc. These compounds are known to have rubefacient (counter-irritant), anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties.

  • Rosemary leaves provide just 131 calories per 100 g and contains no cholesterol. Apart from nutrients, this humble herb contains many noteworthy non-nutrient components such as dietary fiber (37% of RDA).

  • The herb is exceptionally rich in many B-complex group of vitamin, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin. It is one of the herbs contain high levels of folates; providing about 109 mcg per 100 g (about 27% of RDA). Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when given during peri-conception period can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.

  • Rosemary herb contains very good amounts of vitamin A, 2924 IU per 100 g; about 97% of RDA. A few leaves a day in the diet, would contribute enough of this vitamin. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A is known to help body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • Fresh rosemary leaves are good source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin-C containing about 22 mg per 100 g, about 37% of RDA. The vitamin is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and help scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals fro the body.

  • Rosemary herb parts, whether fresh or dried, are rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

  • This herb is an excellent source of iron, contains 6.65 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 83% of RDA). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Rosemary herb (Rosmarinus officinalis), Fresh leaves,
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 131 Kcal 6.5%
Carbohydrates 20.70 g 16%
Protein 3.31 g 6%
Total Fat 5.86 g 20%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 14.10 g 37%

Folates 109 µg 27%
Niacin 0.912 mg 6%
Pantothenic acid 0.804 mg 16%
Pyridoxine 0.336 mg 26%
Riboflavin 0.152 mg 12%
Thiamin 0.036 mg 3%
Vitamin A 2924 IU 97%
Vitamin C 21.8 mg 36%

Sodium 26 mg 2%
Potassium 668 mg 14%

Calcium 317 mg 32%
Copper 0.301 mg 33%
Iron 6.65 mg 83%
Magnesium 91 mg 23%
Manganese 0.960 mg 42%
Zinc 0.93 mg 8.5%

Selection and storage

Rosemary is generally grown as a garden herb so that its fresh leaves are readily available for use whenever the need arises.

If you need to buy from the herb store, choose fresh rosemary over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in quality, has subtle flavor when compared to stronger and pungent flavored dried form. Fresh leaves should feature deep green in color and free from dark spots or yellowing.

Fresh rosemary herb should be stored in the refrigerator inside plastic bags. Dried rosemary should be kept in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dark, and dry place where it will keep fresh for several months.

Culinary uses

Wash fresh leaves in cold running water or rinse for few minutes to remove any dust or pesticide residues. In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, the herb is generally added to cooking recipes at the last moments, since prolonged cooking would result in the evaporation of its essential oils.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Fresh or dried rosemary leaves are part of Mediterranean cooking, used in the preparation of variety of recipes.

  • The herb is used to flavor salads, soups, baked vegetables, and meat dishes.

  • Rosemary goes well with tomatoes,auberqine, potato, zucchinis (courgettes). Finely chopped fresh leaves are used in the preparation of delicious sauteed rosemary potatoes.

  • Rosemary tea is a popular flavor drink in Mediterranean region.

Medicinal uses of Rosemary

  • Rosmarinic acid, a natural polyphenolic antioxidant found in rosemary, has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant functions. Sage, peppirmint, oregano, thyme also contain appreciable levels of rosmarinic acid.

  • Rosemary oil, distilled from the flowering tops, contains volatile essential oil such as camphene, cineol, borneol, bornyl acetate and other esters. These compounds are known to have tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant properties.

  • Its herbal oil is also being used externally as a rubefacient to soothe painful ailments in gout, rheumatism and neuralgic conditions.

  • Rosemary herb extractions when applied over scalp have stimulating function on the hair-bulbs and help preventing premature baldness. It forms an effectual remedy for the prevention of scurf and dandruff.

  • Rosemary tea is a good remedy for removing nervous headache, colds, and depression.

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