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Rosmarinus officinalis
Natural Encyclopaedia


FAMILY: Lamiaceae.

HABITAT: native to the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. Cultivated in many of these countries.

USED PART: the flowering tops.

PHARMACEUTICAL PREPARATIONS: dry extract nebulised and titrated in essential oil min.1.5% (French Pharmacopoeia X), essential oil The most active form is the essential oil, the daily dose of which ranges from 0.1 to 0.2 drops/kg, divided into two administrations, preferably 30 minutes before the two main meals.

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: is a plant rich in essential oil, containing no less than 1.5 per cent. It consists of camphor (15 to 25 per cent), 1-8 cineole (15 to 30 per cent), alpha-pinene (25 per cent), free and esterified borneol (3 to 10 per cent) bornyl-acetate, camphene (10 to 20 per cent), p-cymene and many other compounds present in small quantities. The phenolic compounds are represented by a dozen flavonoids and numerous phenolic acids. We also find tricyclic diterpenes and a certain amount of tannins and sterols. Triterpenes are also present.

Hepatoprotective action: is traditionally utilisedized for its hepatoprotective properties, promoting bile production and facilitating digestive processes. Rosemary doubles bile secretion within 60 minutes of administration, with a duration of action of about two hours. Rosemary is a potent inhibitor of lipoperoxidation (a serious damage caused by free radicals) at the level of hepatocytes, and this activity is very important in explaining the hepatoprotective action of this drug. Rosemary essential oil has spasmolytic activity on the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, with slightly less effectiveness than mint.
Antioxidant/antiradical action: Very interesting is the antioxidant activity of this plant, essentially linked to the presence of rosmarinic acid and diterpene diphenols, particularly carnosolic acid, carnosol and rosmanol. A laboratory study showed that carnosol, rosmanol and epirosmanol, all diterpene phenols present in the rosemary phytocomplex, have an inhibitory action on lipoperoxidation and oxidation of LDL-cholesterol particles (so-called bad cholesterol).

SIDE EFFECTS: The essential oil can give rise to excitation phenomena with muscle fasciculations, due to its excitatory activity in the central nervous system. Internal use is not recommended.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: should be used with caution in patients with gallstones, especially if the stones are small, due to the possibility of causing biliary colic. It is not recommended in pregnancy, during lactation and in children under 6 years of age.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: not known to date.

It can be found in cinarepa®