Assuming this impending winter is remotely like the previous one, it will last forever and surely kill us all. And unless you are a complete recluse in a hermetically sealed chamber, you will catch a cold, and it will ruin you. Obviously, there are no guaranteed methods to avoid this dire fate, but there are a few relatively simple steps you can take to boost your immune system and lower the chance of catching bugs. One often overlooked tool in this battle to protect you and your germridden family is the herb Rosemary. A favorite of mine, somewhat due to its versatility and mostly due to the fact that it requires very little attention, this aromatic herb has many uses beyond the kitchen.
Before I get into the serious bit, I just want to bring to everyone’s attention the fact some varieties of this herb have, to my juvenile mind, hilarious names. Some are vaguely pornographic (Miss Jessop’s Upright), others sound like the heroes of romance novels (Lockwood de Forest), some you’ll swear are code for drugs (Gold Dust, Benenden Blue, Wilma’s Gold, several others) and one, my favorite, sounds like your local accountant (Ken Taylor). Anyway, the plant itself is remarkably hardy, equally able to live in a garden or on your windowsill. It can also be trimmed into a topiary, if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. It originated in the Mediterranean but can adapt to most temperatures though, like most plants, is a bit of a wuss when it freezes. Mildly interesting trivia: legend says the Virgin Mary put her blue jacket on a bush with white flowers and turned them blue. Thus, Rose of Mary. Seems like this sort of thing just happened all the time back then.
Historically, rosemary was made into a somewhat hilariously named concoction called “Hungary Water”, often mixed with brandy and supposedly was used to treat memory loss and, like every other old timey medicine, gout. Other ailments it has been said to assist with include aching joints, indigestion, and poor circulation issues, often times simply with a topical use of the oils. A modern spin on this is the tincture. Generally made with alcohol as well, although it can also be made with no alcohol too (for people who don’t like to party). Depending on the composition and intention, tinctures can be used topically or via ingestion, and are used for a wide variety of medical issues.
Recent studies have also indicated that Rosemary may actually have healing properties beyond these. Cellular research shows the possibility of preventing or even retarding the effects of Alzheimer’s , and that’s pretty damned amazing, I think. Oh, and cancer. That’s a big one too. Less deadly, but still important, Rosemary has also been shown to improve memory, enhance mood, relieve stress and taste delicious on steaks and potatoes. That last bit is a conclusion I’ve reached through my own personal and extensive testing.