The benefits of rosemary go back down the ages! It features in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where Ophelia connects rosemary with ‘remembrance.’ Here’s what Sir Thomas More says about it:“As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls, not only because my bees love it but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language.”
– Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) British writer, statesman and philosopher
Burning rosemary in a smudge stick creates a beautiful aroma that has multiple benefits, including:
- It boosts the immune system
- It boosts memory and cognitive ability (Shakespeare was spot on!)
- Makes your house smell great!
- Respiratory benefits
- Cleansing properties
- Boosts mental clarity
- Can be used for mindfulness
- Reduces inflammation
In this post, I’ll take a good look at all these nine benefits of rosemary smudge sticks, as well as show you how to make them (it’s pretty easy).
9 Rosemary Smudge Stick Benefits
1. Boost The Immune System
There is quite a lot of research that suggests the health benefits that rosemary has on the immune system. (Source)
Rosemary is a powerful source of antioxidants. It’s quite a tricky thing to understand what an antioxidant is, but the simplest way of thinking about it is that they fight free radicals.
Free radicals can do quite a bit of harm to our bodies – such as triggering disease or altering our DNA – so fighting these is a very positive thing!
Rosemary is thought to boost the immune system and also improve blood circulation.
2. Boost Memory And Cognitive Processes
The link between memory and rosemary is one that features in literature across the ages. I’ve already shared the Thomas Moore and Shakespeare quotes, and those a load more quotes where they came from!
This seems to be one of the times when ideas from the old world have been validated in the new.
Rosemary has always symbolized memory, but I have recently read a study in the National Library Of Medicine (Source), and it backed up this viewpoint massively.
I was actually quite surprised at the amount of evidence and the impact that rosemary can have on memory and memory-related issues.
The report states that ‘(rosemary)…can provide promising natural medicines in the treatment of the nervous system pathological conditions including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and withdrawal syndrome.’
That’s an impressive list!
Rosemary is a cognitive stimulant. It basically gets your brain going!
It can help to boost intelligence, alertness, and focus. (Source)
3. Make Your House Smell Frickin Great
I thought I’d given you a bit of science, and a bit of Shakespeare so far, so let’s dumb things down a little.
Rosemary makes your house smell frickin great!
The aroma is really beautiful, and it just seems to cleanse so well, and freshen everything up.
4. Respiratory Benefits
Rosemary is commonly used as an expectorant. (Source) This is a posh word for something that gets all the phlegm out of your throat and sinuses!
This means burning rosemary is particularly good for people with:
- The flu
There is also some evidence that it acts positively against bronchial asthma.
Breathing in rosemary-infused smudge smoke is generally good for improving breathing and relieving congestion.
Burnt rosemary really does freshen up your house!
It has that sense of renewing the air. Traditionally, rosemary is supposed to have cleansing properties. It can help to clear negative energy.
Whatever you believe, I do know that rosemary is a great way to make the air in your home seem cleansing and alive!
6. Mental Clarity
Rosemary is one of the herbs that most positively impacts your mental clarity.
You could potentially use a smudge stick:
- If you are studying
- If you are working from home
- You have a task that you are trying to stay focused on
In fairness, this is not a way I have ever used it. I like to use it more for relaxation and mindfulness, but each to their own! If studying with burning rosemary is your thing, then go for it!
This is more my cup of tea!
Rosemary is certainly a great way of reducing stress and anxiety. It just creates such a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
There is actually research that backs this up. A study found that using rosemary can lower the amounts of cortisol in your blood. (Source)
Cortisol is a stress hormone, that is responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Lowering this clearly makes you calmer and more at peace.
This is one of my favorite uses of rosemary and smudge sticks.
You can burn rosemary while engaging in mindful practices, such as meditation.
I use them while I meditate, with my eyes closed. The beautiful aroma is relaxing, and helps me concentrate on my breath.
Traditionally, rosemary is said to help with visualization and even connecting with the divine.
9. Reduce Inflammation
There is quite a bit of evidence that rosemary contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
I found some research
In research I found on the National Library of Medicine, they state that ‘Rosemary has significant… anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-apoptotic, anti-tumorigenic, antinociceptive, and neuroprotective properties.‘ (Source)
This is quite a list!
Rosemary can be used in oils to treat:
- Other inflammation-based diseases such as arthritis
Although you are of course not rubbing rosemary directly onto your skin, you will still be ingesting some of the same nutrients when burning it.
A Note About Respect
I would just like to say that smudge sticks are originally a deeply spiritual object, used by the indigenous Americans as part of their religious ceremonies. (Source)
I just like to keep this in mind when I use them. I don’t incorporate any of the religious or spiritual elements myself but use them for the mental and physical benefits that they stimulate.
How To Make A Rosemary Smudge Stick
Rosemary smudge sticks are pretty simple to make. Here is a full step-by-step guide, and it really is quite hard to go wrong (I promise!).
Step 1 – Find Some Rosemary
Rosemary is a very commonly grown herb, and there certainly is far from a world shortage! It grows everywhere.
Try to find rosemary sprigs that are at least 6 inches long if you can. Somewhere between 6 and 8 inches is probably ideal. Sprigs this long just help your smudge bundles stay together better and burn for longer.
Step 2 – Create Your Bundles
When you have your sprigs, put a few together in a small bundle. You want to tie them securely with cotton string. This type of string burns better than wool, and also it has no toxic chemicals.
Try to collect all the stalks at one end of the bundle, and secure that stalky end with the cotton string. Then wrap the rest of the bundle up with a bit more string – as much as is required to keep it reasonably secure.
Step 3 – Place In A Dry And Dark Place
Rosemary takes a while to dry – probably at least two weeks. (Source)
So you need to find some kind of cupboard where you can store it. The ideal conditions are:
- Somewhere that isn’t too warm or cold
- Somewhere dark
- Somewhere where the air circulates
These conditions will all help the rosemary dry out. You only want to burn the smudge stick when it is dry.
A Word Of Caution
If you experience any adverse symptoms while burning rosemary as part of a smudge stick, then please stop immediately. Also, don’t attempt this if you have ever had a previous allergic reaction to rosemary or rosemary products.
Rosemary should not be used as an alternative to any prescribed medicines you are currently using.