Rosemary is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and a bushy evergreen shrub, native to the Mediterranean basin. Rosemary leaf consists of the fresh or dried leaf, gathered while flowering, of Rosmarinus officinalis L. The leaves are sessile, tough, linear to linear-lanceolate, 10 mm to 40 mm long and 2 mm to 4 mm wide, and have recurved edges. The upper surface is dark green and glabrous, the lower surface is greyish-green and densely tomentosa with a prominent midrib.
The biological properties of rosemary are attributed to the contribution of its different bioactive compounds belonging mainly to the classes of phenolic acids, flavonoids, diterpenoids, and triterpenes. Rosemary samples have the highest levels of flavonoids and other compounds such as carnosol, rosmaridiphenol, rosmadial, rosmarinic acid, and carnosic acid. Antioxidative efficiency is imparted by at least 20 specific phenols, the most effective compounds are carnosol, rosmarinic acid, and carnosic acid, followed by caffeic acid, rosmanol, rosmadial, genkwanin, and cirsimaritin.
Rosemary extract is used for symptomatic relief of dyspepsia and mild spasmodic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. It can also used as an adjuvant in the relief of minor muscular and articular pain and in minor peripheral circulatory disorders. A broad range of beneficial health effects can be attributed to rosemary, such as antidepressant, antihypertensive, antiproliferative, antibacterial, antiatherogenic, hypocholesterolemic, hepatoprotective, and anti-obesity properties.