Rosemary is a perrenial herb native to the Mediterranean region, where it has been in use by the Greeks and Romans since approximately 500 B.C. It's name reflects the geography of the area, loosely translating to the "dew of the sea". Rosemary does well in similar climates where there is a gentle ocean breeze and well-draining soil. The sprig pictured above is fresh from my garden on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The advantages of adding rosemary into your repertoire are numerous. It aids digestion; improves circulation; and boosts memory, and you will often see Greek and Roman students wearing a garland of rosemary during exam time as a result. Additionally rosemary is widely used for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. As if that's not enough it has a history of use for cosmetic applications as well. Most famously it is the key ingredient in Queen Elizabeth of Hungary's youth tonic, Hungary Water. Legend has it that she washed daily with her rosemary tincture and seemed to defy the process of aging altogether, keeping her appearance so youthful that the King of Poland asked for her hand in marriage when she was 72 years old!
Rosemary is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, folate and manganese. It is also a source of Vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and copper. For a more in-depth list of rosemary's nutritional benefits visit Nutrition and You.