Most people think of rosemary as a savoury seasoning for lamb, chicken or potatoes rather than as an alternative to Earl Grey, but I've shared this tea with many friends and they all agree that rosemary makes a delicious and unique tea

It's fresh and light on the palate with a juniper finish. And then there's the feeling of energy and health that makes it a perfect late afternoon sipper.

Health Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary has long been associated with memory. Some studies have suggested that consumption of rosemary may have a positive effect on memory and alertness and a protective role for the brain, partly by inhibiting the destruction of acetylcholine, an essential brain chemical that is reduced in those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

It turns out that rosemary has quite a few potential health benefits:

  • It may fight cancer as well as Alzheimer's
  • It contains vitamins A, B, C and E
  • It is especially rich in B-complex vitamins such as folate and riboflavin
  • It has nutrients such as iron, calcium, copper and magnesium

I didn't find an answer to why drinking rosemary tea makes me feel good, but I suspect it has to do with either the B vitamins or the relaxing effect it has on the respiratory and digestive muscles.

How to Brew Rosemary Tea

You can make rosemary tea with fresh or dried rosemary. I prefer a fresh sprig from my rosemary bush steeped in a teapot for three to five minutes. A longer steep of up to 10 minutes will draw out more of the healthy oils and nutrients, but also results in a stronger, more bitter taste.

If you use a fresh sprig, leaving the rosemary needles on the stem will save you having to filter the tea. If you use dried rosemary, the rule of thumb is one teaspoon per cup of boiling water.

Precautions with Rosemary

The constituents of rosemary, while naturally produced, can be powerful.

  • Never eat or drink rosemary oil, as it can be toxic when ingested orally.
  • Consult a doctor before you consume a lot of rosemary.
  • Very large amounts of rosemary can cause miscarriage or may interfere with medications you are taking, especially blood thinners or drugs to control high blood pressure or diabetes.

James Ruttan has written everything from fiction to film and radio scripts as well as user instruction manuals and business plans. Arriving in Vancouver in the 90s after teaching English in Indonesia, he became an editor. He has now returned to freelance writing.