The power of the herb rosemary in treating gout
Almost all of us have enjoyed the pungent flavor and pine-like fragrance of rosemary spice on a chicken or lamb dish, on salmon and other fish dishes; as well as soups and sauces. Since rosemary grows on an evergreen shrub it is available throughout the entire year. This culinary herb or Rosmarinus Officinalis is a native plant to the Mediterranean region which now has been grown in every part of the world for its different uses. Every spice rack usually has rosemary in it but did you know that it also has many health benefits including for gout sufferers?
Rosemary herb can help strengthen your immune system, improve your digestive system and increase your blood circulation particularly helping increase blood flow to the head and brain, improving your concentration. In ancient Greece, students while studying for exams would place rosemary sprigs in their hair to help improve concentration. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds and has been used to treat muscle and rheumatic pain for centuries.
Nowadays, rosemary oil is being used by certain gout sufferers to treat the symptoms of gout. Rosemary oil is extracted from the flowers of the rosemary herb by steam distillation. The Queen of Hungary in the 1300s supposedly created a concoction with rosemary with distilled fresh rosemary tops in spirits of wine or brandy to rub in her hands and feet since she is believed to have suffered from gout in her old age which we now call “Hungary Water”. Most gout sufferers today use rosemary oil in baths, compresses and during massages to relieve themselves of some pain. By rubbing rosemary oil on the affected joint(s), this will improve blood circulation thus decreasing uric acid. Rosemary oil will also reduce the swelling and redness caused by gout. Take note that there hasn’t been any scientific studies on rosemary used to treat gout. Personally, I haven’t used rosemary oil but love the spice in my food.
All we have is a 2003 study published in the “Journal of Rheumatology” which concluded that rosmarinic acid (phytochemical contained in a number of herbs, including rosemary) inhibited the progression of arthritis in laboratory mice. In Germany, rosemary oil is approved in the treatment of arthritis. In Greece, there is a great article from the NY Times I strongly recommend you read about the island of Ikaria (the so-called blue zones, where people tend to live over 100) and rosemary is used as a treatment for gout to this very day!
If you are pregnant, suffer from epilepsy and high blood pressure, you should avoid applying rosemary oil although the fresh or dried leaves can used in food without any risks. You can also consume rosemary as a supplement or as a spice which I prefer.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris
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