20 Unusual Ways To Use Rosemary That Goes Way Beyond Cooking

Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary, which means ‘dew of the sea,’ stands out as one of the most aromatic and pungent herbs available.

Due to its captivating fragrance and robust flavor, many individuals choose to cultivate rosemary in their homes and gardens. Here is a comprehensive guide on harvesting and utilizing rosemary for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Harvesting & Preparing Rosemary

Rosemary plants can be harvested at any time, with regular pruning contributing to their overall health. Simply trim the top two or three inches off each sprig for use.

For a more abundant harvest, wait until the plant begins to bloom, then carefully remove the top few inches from each sprig, avoiding cutting too close to the plant.

Preserve the rosemary by bundling clippings and hanging them upside down in a warm area for approximately 10 to 14 days. Once dry, strip the stems, add them to the compost pile, and store the leaves in an airtight jar.

Culinary Uses of Rosemary

Vinegars and Oils

Easily preserve the flavor of rosemary by creating vinegar or oil infusions. These infusions can enhance salads, marinades, and other recipes.

Herbal Butter

Elevate the flavors of cooked meats, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, and bread with a homemade garlic and rosemary butter.

Rosemary Salt

Enhance grilled fish or roast vegetables with a simple rosemary and lemon sea salt, using only three ingredients.

Sauces and Soups

Utilize rosemary in marinades with citrus, garlic, peppercorn, butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or port. It also pairs well with various soups.

Salads and Salad Dressings

Experiment with rosemary in refreshing summer dishes like heirloom tomato salad, Italian potato salad, or salads with rosemary vinaigrette.

Breads and Pastas

Incorporate rosemary into plain pasta and bread, either by using rosemary oil or vinegar or by mixing it into the dough.


Explore the sweet side of rosemary in desserts such as lemon and rosemary sorbet, apple and rosemary mini pies, lemon and rosemary coffee cake, or rosemary and dark chocolate shortbread bars.


Add a kick to your favorite beverages, from detox water to cocktails, with rosemary-infused grapefruit water, sparkling rosemary limeade, lemon and rosemary iced tea, or rosemary-infused alcoholic drinks.

General Cooking

Rosemary proves versatile in a range of dishes, including quiches, stir-fries, stews, and roasts.

Medicinal Uses of Rosemary

Rosemary Essential Oil

One of the perks of growing herbs is that you can use them to distill your own high-quality, organic essential oil, allowing you to reap its many health benefits.

In particular, rosemary essential oil can be used for relief from anxiety, indigestion, headache, joint pain, cold and flu, poor circulation and much more besides.

To make your own rosemary essential oil, follow the steps outlined in this tutorial.

For an easier-to-make rosemary oil, which is slightly less potent, simply infuse your rosemary leaves in a carrier oil like jojoba or olive for three to six weeks, leaving the jar in a sunny position.

This can be used for mental clarity, aching muscles and relaxing massages.

Natural Deodorant

Harness the power of rosemary and other herbs to create a natural deodorant, reducing body odor through dietary changes.

Strong and Shiny Hair

If you’re on a mission to improve the health of your hair and scalp, then start harvesting your rosemary plant.

A strong infusion of rosemary and nettle leaf makes for a great post-shampoo herbal hair rinse.

Not only does its antimicrobial properties help reduce dandruff, but it stimulates blood flow which speeds hair growth when used regularly.

In addition, research has shown that certain essential oils including rosemary lead to faster growth and improved hair quality by removing impurities, unblocking hair follicles and stimulating the scalp.

Mix a blend of lavender, thyme, rosemary, cedarwood and peppermint into your shampoo and massage into the scalp weekly.

Relief from Congestion

Use rosemary’s natural antiseptic properties in steam treatment to relieve nasal and chest congestion.

Improve Cognitive Performance

Diffuse homemade rosemary oil or enjoy rosemary tea to boost mental clarity and prevent age-related cognitive decline.

Natural Pain Relief

Rosemary tea or topical application of rosemary oil can alleviate heartburn, toothaches, eczema, gout, headaches, and joint or muscle pain.

Stress and Anxiety Buster

Next time you’re feeling nervous, overwhelmed, burnt out or simply exhausted from the day’s events, head straight for your potted rosemary plant.

A 2009 study found that the use of sachets containing lavender and rosemary scents helped reduce the anxiety associated with test-taking by graduate nursing students.

The nurses who sniffed the sachets scored lower on anxiety measures and had lower pulse rates, indicating a more relaxed state of mind.

This backs up the findings of an earlier study, which showed that smelling rosemary oil actually decreased the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the saliva.

Whether you choose to breathe in the steam from a cup of freshly poured herbal tea, add sprigs of the herb to a soothing bath, or simply inhale the scent of the plant, you’re sure to feel your stress and anxiety slip away.

Oral Health

Leverage rosemary’s antimicrobial properties to combat tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath by preparing a homemade mouthwash or adding rosemary oil to toothpaste.

Skin Health

Topically apply rosemary-infused oil or rosemary essential oil (diluted) to address skin irritations, acne, eczema, and accelerate wound healing.

In the Home

Simmer Pots

Enhance your home’s aroma by creating simmer pots with rosemary-inspired combinations, including cranberries, orange, cinnamon, and rosemary.

Some delicious rosemary-inspired simmer pot combinations include:

  • Sliced oranges, cranberries, cinnamon and rosemary
  • Orange, juniper and rosemary
  • Grapefruit, rosemary and vanilla
  • Lemon and rosemary

Pest Deterrent

Keep pests at bay by placing rosemary sprigs near doors and windows or using a rosemary essential oil spray. It’s also believed to deter mice, with dried rosemary sprigs suggested for cupboards to ward off rodents during winter.

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Stephanie Miles

I'm Stephanie, a passionate gardener enchanted by the magic of cultivation. My hands dance with soil, coaxing life from seeds to vibrant blooms. Amidst the symphony of rustling leaves and fragrant blossoms, I find solace and joy. From a single sprout to a thriving garden, my journey is a celebration of growth, resilience, and the simple wonders of nature. Join me in this green sanctuary, where every leaf whispers tales of life's beautiful simplicity.

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