Rosemary for Remembrance

Rosemary for Remembrance

Remembrance of Rosemary

Who doesn’t love the piney scent of rosemary? Aromatic rosemary has been a beloved culinary herb since ancient times. Its integrative medicinal and spiritual uses may be less well known, yet are certainly just as compelling. Rosemary helps you remember – in every dimension from your body to your soul – who you are and your place in the web of nature and life. 

This post takes you on a journey of remembrance – of rosemary’s ancient wisdom, modern science, and everyday uses of this health-enhancing herb. 

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What a delight to take a fragrant journey into remembrance of rosemary! Thank you for joining me. This article will unveil rosemary’s nutritional science and medicinal potential, explore its culinary uses, and uncover some of its historical and spiritual significance.


Medicinal Uses of Rosemary

Picture a serene garden where rosemary flourishes, nurturing both body and soul. Our exploration begins with a dive into rosemary’s multifaceted healing potential, a potential that has intrigued cultures and healers across centuries.
At the heart of rosemary’s allure lies a collection of biochemical components, each contributing to its flavor, fragrance, and health-enhancing properties. From its aromatic oils to its antioxidant-rich compounds, rosemary beckons us to get to know her. Here we go.

Rosemary for Cognitive Health

Rosemary is the fragrance of memory. Scientific studies suggest rosemary’s aromatic compounds can be protective of both your body’s and your brain’s neurophysiology. Intriguingly, the origins of the phrase “Rosemary for Remembrance” are rooted in the herb’s historical role in enhancing memory and concentration. Ancient cultures revered rosemary for its ability to stimulate mental clarity and sharpen recall, a belief that modern nutritional science would say has stood the test of time.

Rosemary contains carnosic acid (CA) and carnosol (CS), abietane-type phenolic diterpenes. These compounds have been shown to act as neuroprotective agents in people with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and in people struggling with long-term COVID. That neuroprotective action is mostly due to CA and CS’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant action in some key neural pathways. In the case of CA, its action appears to occur both systemically (throughout your body). It also crosses the blood-brain barrier to act on the neurobiology of the brain.

Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Benefits

Beyond its culinary appeal, rosemary holds an arsenal in the fight against inflammation and oxidative stress. Inflammation occurs when your body causes an immune response – usually in response to an injury or infection. Under usual conditions, inflammation is the helpful first stage of healing. The problem is when the inflammatory response gets over-activated, which can happen when the body simply doesn’t recognize what it’s being exposed to (think about the synthetic chemicals in hyper-processed foods, low-quality supplements, medications and even cleaning products).

Oxidative stress is a normal byproduct of metabolism and happens all the time. The process of oxidation creates free radicals, which are highly-oxygenated (and highly reactive) molecules. Free radicals are natural but in high amounts can cause damage to your organs and tissues. This is where anti-oxidants come in. Found widely in colorful fruits and vegetables, anti-oxidants are like free radical vacuum cleaners. They help maintain a healthful balance of nutrients and free radicals, preventing oxidative stress.  Rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic compound found abundantly in rosemary, is a  powerful defender against cellular damage that can begin the over-activated process of inflammation and that also acts as a powerful antioxidant.

Digestive Aid and Immune Support

As our journey continues, feel rosemary’s gentle aid to your digestive system and immune defenses. Whether it’s sipping a comforting cup of rosemary-infused tea or savoring dishes with its aromatic essence, rosemary’s soothing touch has been recognized for its potential to promote digestion and bolster immunity.

A 2022 study of rosemary’s essential oil found it effective against candida albicans, a common strain of yeast often found to be a culprit in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract or other areas.

Folk Herbal Uses of Rosemary

Rosemary holds a cherished place in the wisdom traditions of your herbalist forebearers. From easing respiratory or muscular discomfort, rosemary’s use spans many cultures and generations. It well may be that your ancestors observed what this fragrant herb can do – what today you’d call its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, or anti-microbial benefits.

Take a deep breath and know that rosemary has long been used for respiratory well-being. From ancient steam inhalations for tired or weakened lungs, to time-tested herbal remedies that help ease congestion, rosemary is one of nature’s respiratory allies.

Do you have a creaky joint or aching muscles? Rosemary just might come to the rescue. Traditional liniments and infused oils often include soothing rosemary to ease those discomforts.

Ever dreamed of radiant beauty? Rosemary’s historical skincare and haircare secrets. Armed with simple yet effective homemade recipes, and a few well-chosen supplements, you just may embark on a journey toward that coveted glow.

Plant Initiation Weekend with Annie B Kay

Metaphysical and Symbolic Significance 

Beyond the realms of tangible science, rosemary has profound spiritual and energetic properties.

Purification and Protection

In the midst of life’s whirlwind, rosemary is an ever-watchful protector of sacred spaces.  Like an energetic sentinel, rosemary acts as an invisible shield against negative energies. Its aromatic molecules are thought to interact with the vibrational frequencies of the environment, creating a protective barrier that repels discordant energies and ushers in a sense of purity.

Used in rituals and practices that tap into the deep remembrance that rosemary holds, you just might find yourself enveloped in her aura of cleansing and rejuvenation, in a harmonizing dance between its energetic field and your own.

Enhancing Intuition and Mental Clarity

Close your eyes with the intention to remember, and feel the gentle stirrings within. With rosemary, you could embark on a quest to awaken forgotten depths of your mind. But how does it foster such a profound connection to our inner wisdom? The answer lies in rosemary’s unique energy signature or vibrational resonance.

Rosemary’s vibrations resonate with the frequencies of heightened awareness, acting as a conduit to the deeper recesses of your consciousness. Through meditation and spiritual practices, the energetic resonance of rosemary can align your mental faculties, allowing you to tap into your intuitive capacities with greater clarity. The result is a harmonious synchronization between your spiritual essence and the profound energy emitted by rosemary.

Rosemary for Remembrance, indeed!

Rosemary for Remembrance and Memory

As we travel the tapestry of rosemary’s history and tradition, can you feel the threads of rosemary’s symbolism in remembrance and memory gently unfurl? If you do, you are experiencing an evocation of some powerful associations. If not, patience and practice may get you there. Keep practicing.

But how does rosemary evoke deep remembrance? Once again, the answer lies in rosemary’s energetic mechanism. Its vibrations are thought to possess an ability to resonate with the energy of memory and reverence. This resonance creates a bridge between the physical and energetic realms, infusing ceremonies and celebrations with an air of nostalgia and honoring. Whether it graces solemn ceremonies or joyous celebrations, rosemary’s essence transcends the boundaries of time, becoming a potent emblem of honoring the past and celebrating the present, all brought to life through its energetic alchemy.

How to Use the Herb Rosemary

Culinary Use: Tips & Cautions

We all know the familiar flavor and aroma of rosemary. In the kitchen, it introduces a dimension of depth and warmth to savory soups or richens the flavor of traditional stews.

Tips on Culinary Use of Rosemary

To wield rosemary’s culinary magic with finesse, here are a few tips from my kitchen to yours:

  • Fresh or Dried: Both fresh and dried rosemary have their place in the kitchen. Fresh sprigs infuse dishes with a robust, immediate aroma, while dried rosemary offers a more concentrated flavor. Use fresh rosemary for roasts and grilled dishes, and dried rosemary for marinades and in spice blends.
  • Balancing Act: Rosemary’s potent flavor can easily overwhelm dishes if used excessively. A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly, especially if you’re using dried rosemary.
  • Complementary Pairings: Rosemary pairs harmoniously with a range of ingredients. It complements meats like lamb, poultry, and pork, as well as roasted vegetables, potatoes, beans, and even bread.
  • Infusion Techniques: When using rosemary in soups or stews, tie the sprigs together with kitchen twine for easy removal before serving. Alternatively, you can strip the leaves from the stem and finely chop them to disperse the flavor evenly.
  • Oil and Vinegar: Elevate your culinary creations by infusing olive oil or vinegar with rosemary. Place sprigs in a bottle, cover them with oil or vinegar, and let it steep for 3 to 6 weeks. The resulting infusion adds an aromatic twist to dressings, marinades, and dips.

Culinary Caution

While rosemary’s culinary potential is boundless, a few precautions can ensure you get the best out of this herb:

  • Avoid Overcooking: Prolonged exposure to heat can make rosemary bitter. Add it towards the end of cooking to preserve its vibrant flavor.
  • Textural Sensitivity: Rosemary’s needle-like leaves can be quite potent if left whole in a dish. To avoid an overwhelming texture, consider chopping them finely or removing the leaves before serving.
  • Respect the Balance: As with any herb, balance is key. Don’t let rosemary dominate the dish; rather, let it enhance the flavors and create a harmonious blend.

With rosemary as your guide, may your kitchen become a laboratory of flavors. As you savor every bite, remember that your dish carries not just the essence of rosemary, but the embodiment of its entire alchemy.


Medicinal and Spiritual Use of Rosemary: Embracing Nature’s Gift

Our journey would be incomplete without delving deeper into Rosemary’s integrative health uses. From the world of tinctures to the soothing solace of teas, rosemary opens a gateway to a profound union of body, mind, and spirit. Here’s where the recipes from ancient wisdom intertwine with modern practices, and the spiritual essence of rosemary reveals itself.

Supplements, Tinctures, and Teas: Nurturing the Body

In the realm of herbal medicine, rosemary stands as a versatile ally, offering a myriad of health-enhancing benefits. If you are interested in experimenting with rosemary as a supplement, you can find it in pure capsule form, or as part of a combination formula.

Tinctures, prepared by extracting rosemary’s essence in alcohol or glycerin, capture its potent healing properties. These tinctures can be taken orally to support digestion, alleviate headaches, and even boost cognitive function. A few drops of rosemary tincture in water can usher in a sense of vitality and clarity, tapping into the herb’s invigorating energy.

And then there are teas, the gentle infusions that allow rosemary’s essence to slowly unfurl within us. A warm cup of rosemary tea offers more than just comfort; it provides a gentle nudge to the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary tea can offer relief from aches and pains, while its antioxidants combat the effects of oxidative stress. A sip of rosemary tea can be a ritual of self-care, a moment of connection with nature’s healing embrace.

Here are a few products from my botanical formulary, where you always get 25% off and free shipping over $50 (not for resale).

Flower Essences: Merging with the Ethereal

The world of flower essences is ethereal. The essence of plants are energy medicines, and reach beyond the physical, touching the very essence of our being. Rosemary’s flower essence holds within it the energetic blueprint of the herb’s essence. Just a few drops under the tongue can foster a profound shift in your energetic state, offering insights, clarity, and a sense of connection with your higher self.

Through the flower essence of rosemary, you can open yourself to its spiritual teachings. Its energetic resonance gently nudges your intuition awake, inviting you to explore the depths of your inner wisdom. Whether used in meditation, ritual, or as a daily practice, rosemary’s flower essence becomes a conduit for spiritual growth, a bridge between the earthly and the divine.

If this aspect of plants interests you, check out my Plant Initiation Weekends. These are fun shamanic journey meditative weekends held near the equinoxes & solstices.

So, What’s Next for You?

With rosemary for remembrance, may you carry forward the wisdom and wonders of this aromatic herb, learning to weave its essence into the tapestry of your life. May your path forward be graced with the aromatic grace of rosemary’s blessings.

If this article resonated, oh good! I have more! Here are a few that might interest you.

Tulsi: The Incomparable Sacred Herb

Nature’s Timekeepers: Solstice & Equinox, Breath & Circadian Rhythms

Healthy Mindset: What, Why and How to Develop Yours

Plant Initiation Weekends
Cherry Turmeric Spicy Shot Recipe

Cherry Turmeric Spicy Shot Recipe

Spicy shots! I love ’em.   A couple of years ago Free Fire Cider, based on a folk recipe, popularized by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, and trademarked, with great controversy in the herbal world, but a group in WMA, had its moment in the sun. Here’s my fire cider recipe.

Since then, I’ve been enamored with making spicy shots – delicious concoctions designed to warm and give a nutritional zing-ha to your morning. It’s a practice I especially get into in these (still!) cooler months.
Here’s one I whipped up this weekend, with tart cherry juice and apple cider vinegar. Cherry, ginger, and turmeric are all anti-inflammatories and packed with antioxidants. Apple cider vinegar is a natural probiotic. If you, like me are in the second half of life, this drink is vata-pacifying – grounding and warming.

Quick, easy, and makes you say “haaaaaa”.  I aimed for warmth rather than heat in the spice. Raw garlic makes me burp, though my husband is focused on eating more, so I suggest he use this to wash down a nice raw clove for himself. Pow.

Spicy shot cherry turmeric recipe - Annie B Kay
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Cherry Turmeric Spicy Shot

A delicious concoction designed to warm and give a nutritional zing-ha to your morning
Course Breakfast, Drinks


  • Blender


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cherry juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Thumb-sized piece of ginger sliced
  • 3 Tsp turmeric dried spice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or to tast


  • Place everything in a blender and blend away. Pour into a small mason jar with a lid. The ginger and spice tend to separate, so give it a shake before your morning shot. I take about an ounce after my morning coffee and morning practices, a few minutes before breakfast.


I have a spicy-shot-for-every-season vision!
Have a favorite spicy shot you make?
Please share in the comments!

Elderberry Ginger Cider Recipe

Elderberry Ginger Cider Recipe

Elderberry Ginger Cider Recipe
Updated 11/30/2023

Elderberry Ginger Cider Recipe

My boon of elderberry enabled me to, in addition to making tons of elderberry syrup, make elderberry ginger cider – a variation of fire cider. For this one, I relied on ginger and honey as a base and kept it simple yet strong. It’s delicious and I’ll use it the way you would fire cider – take a shot during cold and flu season to warm up and keep the creeping crud away.

If you are looking for an Elderberry Syrup recipe, I have one for you!  Click HERE!

Want to explore Elderberry and Elderberry Flower Essence?   Immerse yourself in the transformative powers of elderberry, boost your immunity, savor culinary delights, and embark on a spiritual journey. Learn through my blog post Elderberry and Elderberry Flower Essence: Heal with Nature’s Wisdom.

Elderberry Ginger Cider Recipe

My elderberry ginger cider is a variation on fire cider. Use it the way you would fire cider – take a shot during cold and flu season to warm up and keep the creeping crud away.
Course Drinks
Keyword Elderberry, Elderberry Ginger Cide
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • Medium Saucepan


  • 4 cups fresh elderberries clean and free of stems
  • 2 slivers of fresh peeled ginger about 1 Tsp
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp local honey


  • Warm elderberries in a medium saucepan for 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat. Let cool.
  • Place ingredients in a clean bottle.
  • Place top on the bottle, and mix by inverting the bottle several times. Make sure the liquid covers the berries
  • Leave in a cool dry place for six weeks, inverting the bottle to mix every 3 or 4 days.
  • Remove elderberries from the cider.


The cider is the elixir, but you might use the elderberries in a pickle also.

Elderberry Ginger Cider Recipe


Ashwagandha Sesame Oil

Ashwagandha Sesame Oil

Ashwagandha Sesame Oil by Annie B Kay -
Tis the season to begin to think about making my fall batch of Ashwagnada sesame oil to warm our way through the fall.
Bows to my colleagues in the Kripalu School of Ayurveda (KSA). Several years ago I got to sit in on part of their training for Ayurveda Health Counselors and got a lovely intro to the Ayurveda way of herbs from Rosie Mann and the KSA faculty.
My husband and I both love this oil, and he has noticed how it is soothing and quiets his mind like it did mine the first time I practiced abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil self-massage) with it during my training. It does have a musky manly scent in sesame oil. We rub it on our feet at bedtime, and more widely when our minds get chattering too incessantly and we have time to relax (it can be a sedative, so I haven’t tried it on a workday yet).


Ashwagandha is a root used in a number of Ayurvedic preparations. It’s a little famous for its aphrodisiac properties, but it is also calming and strengthening (ashwagandha means horse-smell in Sanskrit, after the musky scent of the root itself). Vata-pacifying, it is great for both my husband and I as we enter our hopefully wise Vata years of life.

Ashwagandha Sesame Oil Recipe


  • 1/2 cup dried ashwagandha root
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups organic sesame oil


IMG_0887You will need a strainer and cheesecloth, as well as a medium-large saucepan and a container for the oil.
1. Gather all ingredients and bless them. I say a little prayer over them like the one my teacher Pam taught me, then ask the root to bless us with its healing gifts.
2. Pour water into the saucepan, and add ashwagandha root. Gently stir clockwise (only clockwise) with a wooden spoon or whisk.
3. Heat medium-low until reduced to 2 cups. This takes 2-3 hours. There is a point where the ashwagandha will thicken into the fluid – the texture will shift.
I like to let my botanical concoctions spend some time on the alter. Prayers, alters, it is all about infusing what I am making with love and intentions.
IMG_09274. Rinse saucepan. Strain the fluid through a sieve, then strain several additional times through a cheesecloth until you have a thick fluid.
5. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan, and add sesame oil. Heat at low-medium, occasionally gently stirring clockwise. Again, you will see the oil change as it absorbs the ashwagandha root. I found it became richer and a smidgen cloudy (but, if I had strained more thoroughly it may be more rich yet clear)…the batch I have from the experts is more clear.
6. Once you see the oil change (this took about an hour), let it cool, then strain the oil off of the remaining root-water, into a clean glass jar.
7. Enjoy as a daily oil massage (I would do a test on the weekend!), or rub on your feet and/or top of your head before bed.
Ashwagandha Sesame Oil by Annie B Kay -


Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry Syrup Recipe


Deep purple elderberry beauty

Deep purple elder-beauty

Updated 12/13/2023

I’ve been a smidgen obsessed with elderberry this year and it has heard my prayer. Not only did my husband gift me a beautiful elderberry bush for our yard, but a neighbor with a gorgeous mature bush gave us the green light to enjoy some of his bounty. So, I’ve been up to my elbows in elderberry.

Give yourself time to rinse and remove stems

Give yourself time to rinse & remove stems

Elderberry is a folk medicine immune supporter, and even today you can find it in commercial cough syrup and lozenges. Clinical trials suggest that it reduces the duration of the flu, and it may have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. From a plant-spirit energetic perspective, elder aids with journey work (such as shamanic visioning) and is, simply, an elder filled with primordial wisdom.

Most elderberry syrup recipes call for about 2/3 cup of berries for a season’s supply of syrup. Well, because I had a bucketful, mine is a little stronger! It’s delicious and rich. In the literature there are warnings about elderberry irritating the gut if taken raw and/or in excess, so you can overdo it! I intend to take 1 tsp daily for 3-5 days at the first sign of cold or flu.

Give yourself a couple of hours to make this start to finish. This recipe made about 6 cups of syrup.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe


In addition to a large pot for cooking and processing, you will need a strainer or jelly bag, and containers for your syrup – I used jelly jars and processed them as if I were making jelly to give nicely sealed jars for gifts, and also kept a batch in a larger unsealed jar in the fridge to be used over the next 3 months by my family and me.
Jelly jars come with glass jars, a flat sealing lid, and a ring that twists over the sealing lid to keep it on the jar.


  • 8 cups elderberry, washed and stems removed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1-2 tsp pectin


Full bedlam making elderberry syrup

Full bedlam-making elderberry syrup

  • Place berries, spices, ginger and honey in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Stirring, add pectin and boil for another minute.
  • Lower heat to medium and simmer for 15-17 minutes.
  • Strain through jelly bag, and place into jars.

As I mentioned I used jelly jars and processed them like jelly, which entails boiling the jars (pouring hot liquid into a cold jar can make it crack) and sealing the lids. After filling the jars with syrup and topping with sealing lids, I tightened the lid rings and placed the jars upside down for about 5 minutes. This helped them seal. Once that’s done, I check to see if the jar sealed by pressing the center of the lid. If I can push the lid down and it pops up, no seal. If the lid is concave and pressing it doesn’t move it, it’s sealed. Often, lids will seal throughout the day – I can hear “pop” from the next room when a lid seals. Jars that don’t seal need to be refrigerated, and the syrup used within 3 months. I keep those that seal all season.

Making your own jelly and syrup can be a sticky mess, but I am always amazed by the wonderful smell, color, and flavor of homemade preserves. It’s a fun thing to do with family or friends who are into it. Little jars of your handcrafted goods make terrific gifts. Make sure not to give away unsealed items or you may be gifting a nice jar of something not-so-healing.
Elderberry Syrup


How to Use Herbal Preparations Safely

How to Use Herbal Preparations Safely

How to Use Herbal Preparations Safely by Annie B Kay
This month in the newsletter I wrote about putting summer’s bounty by for colder months, and I also wrote a brief piece on how to use herbal preparations safely. Herbs, herbal tinctures, flower essences and other botanicals can be wonderful allies for healing, but like any medicinal substance, different preparations are of varying quality and composition and can cause unexpected side effects. Here are a few thoughts, and suggestions for staying safe as you explore.

The Wise Herbalist: please be safe

After last month’s newsletter on making flower essences, I had a thoughtful exchange with a reader concerned about the toxicity of buttercup. Flower essences don’t contain any of the plant matter (they operate like homeopathy), so not to worry. But, since I have been writing more about the use of herbs and interest is certainly growing, I thought I’d give you a little overview of herbal preparations and how they operate so as to keep you nice & safe as you venture into this newly revived mode of healing.

You can think of herbal healing as ranging from gross physical (food, pharmaceuticals and infusions like teas operate on this level) to more subtle mind-body like tinctures, where plant matter is placed in alcohol for a number of weeks, and plant oils, where plant matter is placed into an oil for a number of weeks and the oil then carries some plant matter. Then there are those that operate on the subtle energetic level (homeopathic preparations and flower essences, for example).

For preparations that work on the physical level, it’s important that you stick with things that are edible and medicinal. So, in the case of buttercup, you don’t want to make an infusion tea with it nor eat it, because it is not edible – it contains compounds that can be toxic. Same with tinctures – stick with medicinal and culinary herbs for these. Flower essences don’t contain actual plant matter – they are energetic preparations – you can make an essence out of any plant and you won’t have a toxicity reaction to it unless you have a reaction to the carrier (often brandy, but you can also use vinegar).
Now, let’s talk about essential oils. These are wonderful but very condensed and strong extractions of the oils of plants. I have an essential oil diffuser in my office with a stress ease mixture and it works like a charm. Essential oils can damage your skin if you apply them directly and many people are sensitive. They can also react with your skin when exposed to the sun – I’ve had an instance of this and it wasn’t pretty!
I’ve been giving herb walks at Kripalu and interest in wild edibles and herbs is really growing. If you have an interest in wild edibles, take your time and stick to things like dandelion, plantain and garlic mustard that are common and safe, then slowly and safely expand your knowledge from there. Like anything, there are things to be aware of, but if you approach nature with respect and curiosity (and a few of the many good references), it will be a wonderful exploration.
Enjoy the season in fun and deliciousness,
Annie B. Kay MS, RDN, E-RYT500
How to Use Herbal Preparations Safely by Annie B Kay Pinterest