Saturday, May 16, 2009

A warning against Rosemary

Rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves. The name derives from Latin, roughly translated as foaming sea froth. Forms range from uptight to sprawling along the ground. From above, the leaves look broad and green, but underneath appear white with dense short woolly hair.

Since it is attractive and tolerates some degree of drought, Rosemary is used for landscaping, particularly in salt-air environments. It is not fond of acid, preferring anodyne soil. Nor is it partial to waterlogging and may not respond well in frosty climates. It is easy for beginner gardeners to grow, requiring little soil preparation and will root easily from clippings.

Rosemary in culinary or therapeutic doses is generally safe; however, precaution is necessary for those displaying allergic reaction or prone to epileptic seizures. Rosemary essential oil may have epileptogenic properties, as a handful of case reports over the past century have linked its use with seizures in otherwise healthy adults or children.

Rosemary essential oil is potentially toxic if ingested. Large quantities of rosemary leaves can cause adverse reactions, such as coma, spasm, vomiting, and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) that can be fatal. Avoid consuming large quantities of rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding.

And now, here's Rosemary McLeod.