Rosemary Bath Milk
Rosmarinus officinalis is a stately, up to two-meter high, evergreen shrub from the family of labiates. The genus consists only of this species, so rosemary is unique. Its home is on the dry slopes of the Maquis shrubland in the Mediterranean region. Already in antiquity, it was cultivated by the Egyptians. In the first century after Christ it crossed the Alps, probably with the Benedictine monks. It can grow up to 1500 meters high in the Valais mountains, otherwise it survives only as a potted plant, it freezes to death in frost and cold wind. So, it needs enough warmth to thrive.
Rosemary is an ancient medicinal and cultivated plant; it belonged in bridal bouquets, was planted on graves and it served as a substitute for incense. It is a typical spice of Italian and Provençal cuisine.
Rosemary forms a characteristic aromatic and resinous essential oil in its leaves, flowers and stalks, which is easily communicated to the air. Thus, when the shrub is exposed to strong sunlight or light wind, it can be perceived from a distance. Its fragrance conveys vastness and refreshes immediately, it awakens and invigorates in a bright way. Seen from close up, its branches – woody, with grey loosening bark – are upright or reach upward, strongly branching. They are densely covered with linear leaves (4 mm wide, 4 cm long). Their taste is rather astringent and somewhat hot due to resins, bitter substances, tannins and rosemary acid.
The single leaf is smooth and shiny on the surface. A single layer of water tissue lies under a thick epidermis. This encloses an (inner) space beneath it, which is formed by the entire leaf edges rolling downward, creating a meeting place for air as an astral element and water as an etheric element. With many lines of tissue on the underside of the leaf, the plant feels its way out of its vegetative substance into this space, which is also densely felted with many small white star hairs as an expression of the effects of light and bright border formation.
In the upper parts of the branches, short side shoots with five to ten flowers each grow in terminal false racemes in the axils of the crosswise opposite leaves. The flowers are relatively small (1 cm), but numerous. They generally show a cool and fresh looking, very pure sky blue. Each flower has two lips, the lower lip somewhat longer: a very short stem is followed by a large, almost oval, deeply concave central lobe with a toothed rim – like a beautiful receiving vessel penetrated by light blue. Here, despite the small size of its flowers, the plant creates a wide, open space. Two long stamens rise together with the stylus on the underside of the upper lip, separate from the stylus and reach into space, into the air, as long, delicate structures with a powerful arch. The flowers are hermaphroditic and first pass completely through the male, then the female phase.
Looking at the whole plant, the leaves (the vegetative and etheric area) and the flowers (the astral area) grow side by side in the narrowest space, together, but in complete peace and clarity.
Rosemary blooms in the spring months. Blossoming rosemary attracts bees.
The leaves are currently harvested before flowering to make the essential oil that is used medicinally (Rosmarinus folium and Rosmarinus aetheroleum, formerly Oleum rosmarini). The latter, when ingested in a concentrated form, can act as a poison, so it was used as an abortifacient. Pregnant women should not drink rosemary tea.
Indications and application