I saw an interesting report from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) recently.  They have decided that Rosemary is not a separate species of plant after all – it is a sage!  They are changing the genus name to Salvia rosmarinus and are telling gardeners to change the name of their plants.  I checked out both the US National Plant Germplasm System (GRIN) and the Plant List.org.  They both still have Rosemary listed under the Rosmarinus genus, as Rosmarinus officinalis as being the accepted name.  However, they both also show  Salvia rosmarinus Schleid as an accepted synonym, with GRIN listing it as a homotypic synonym.  [In botanical nomenclature a homotypic synonym (or nomenclatural synonym) is a synonym that comes into being through a nomenclatural act. when a taxon gets a new name, without being included in another taxon (of the same rank).]  So, I guess for now, we can continue to use Rosmarinus officinalis but be aware that Salvia rosmarinus is also being used.

If you are interested in looking at how the essential oil differs from the CO2 you can review the post Rosemary CO2 vs Essential Oil 

(Rosamarinus officinalis) 

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Plant Description: An aromatic, shrubby evergreen bush that can grow up to 2 meters high.  It has silver-green leaves and pale blue flowers.

History/Folklore: There are three major chemotypes of Rosemary available on the market today and each one has a different chemical breakdown.  Rosamarinus officinalis ct. cineole is the rosemary most commonly available.  The name comes from the Latin ‘ros marinus’ meaning ‘rose of the sea’.  In Ancient Egypt the sprigs were burnt as ritual incense.  They were also placed in the tombs of pharaohs.  The Rosemary plant was sacred to the  Greeks and Romans.  They saw it as being symbolic of loyalty, scholarly learning, death and remembrance.

Extraction: The essential oil is distilled from the fresh flowering tops

Aroma:  Penetrating, fresh, camphor-like, woody-balsamic, strong.
Odour intensity:  Medium High
Perfume Note:  Middle
Blends well with:  Frankincense, lavender, citronella, basil, thyme, pine, peppermint, elemi, cedarwood, petitgrain and spice oils.
Perfume Key Qualities: Stimulant (nervous and mental), analgesic, nervous system tonic, strengthening, restorative, purifying, protective, reviving, refreshing.

Chemistry:  Esters (1%); ketones (25%); Sesquiterpenes (3%); Oxides (30%); Monoterpenes (30%) ;  Alcohol (3%)

Cautions:  Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing.  As it is highly stimulating do not use when you need to sleep.  Use with caution with epilepsy, high blood pressure and pregnancy.


Traditionally used on a physical level for:

Skin Care:  Acne, dermatitis, eczema, lice, hair and scalp.
Circulation, muscles and joints: Arteriosclerosis, fluid retention, gout, muscular pain, neuralgia, palpitations, poor circulation, varicose veins, rheumatism.
Respiratory System: Asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough.
Digestive System: Colitis, dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation.
Reproductive System: Dysmenorrhea, leukorrhea.
Immune System: Colds, flu, infections.

Traditionally used on a psychological level for: It’s stimulating properties.  It is an excellent oil to consider when there is physical exhaustion, feeling rundown, headaches, migraines, mental fatigue and nervous exhaustion. It is also excellent for memory.

On a subtle level, use Rosemary for enhancing loyalty and love.  Comforting in times of emotional heartbreak it helps to bring closure when a relationship is over.   Use it in grief blends.

Rosemary has the themes of faithfulness and memory.  There is also a theme of metamorphosis in Rosemary.

In Valerie Ann Worwood’s AromaGenera, the Rosemary Personality is young at heart, imaginative, happy sensitive people, quite determined at times, but quite gentle souls, who are free of mental restrictions.  Use to counteract loss of memory, learning difficulties, lethargy, disorientation, fatigue, indecision, nervous exhaustion, feeling overburdened, overworked, strain, emotional exhaustion and sluggishness.

Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960
Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy
Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc.
Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000
Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972
Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oils and Carriers, Aromatherapy 101, Aromatherapy 201, Aromatherapy 301, 1999-2018
Peter Holmes, Aromatica, Vol 1 and 2.  Singing Dragon 2016 & 2019
Alec Lawless: Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose, 2009,
Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017
Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing, Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, 2014
Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014
Valeria Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Heavens, 1999
Valerie Ann Worwood, The Fragrant Pharmacy, London, Bantam Books, 1991
Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition, New World Library, Novato, California, 1991, 2016