Learn all the benefits rosemary has to offer to your animal companion.
Native to Asia and the Mediterranean, rosemary gets its name from the Latin ros, meaning “dew” and marinus, meaning “sea”—“sea dew.” Perhaps the most exciting property of this little evergreen with the delicate flowers is its capacity to act as a natural preservative. Rosemary received the European Union’s approval for use in food preservation in 2010. Increasingly, as North American consumers demand fewer artificial ingredients in our diets and in our pets’ diets, natural food-preserving antioxidants are coming into play. It is the extract distilled from rosemary’s flowers and leaves that provides these beneficial antioxidant properties. The extract’s capacity to slow, or prevent the oxidation of specific molecules means it can maintain the nutritional stability of certain foods.
Rosemary’s intrinsic value was recognized centuries ago. Ancient Romans considered rosemary a sacred plant. Egyptians used parts of the plant for incense during ritual cleansing and healing. Today, we know that rosemary is rich in volatile (or ethereal) oils. We know it contains flavonoids–a group of plant metabolites believed to produce health benefits via cell-signalling pathways coupled with antioxidant effects. Rosemary also contains phenolic acids; these, too, are antioxidants easily absorbed into the intestinal tract to prevent cellular damage caused by free-radical oxidation. As well, phenolic acids can support anti-inflammatory environments in our bodies.
Recent findings demonstrate rosemary’s capacity to improve memory and other brain-based skills. In a 2012 study, researchers investigated the effect of rosemary leaf powder on a group of patients with an average age of 75. The study showed distinct dose-dependent improvements in cognitive performance.
Preserving memory and preserving food…rosemary offers benefits much broader than its use as an occasional dinner seasoning. Extending the life of food with rosemary extract means that our snacks — and our pets’ snacks — will be as nutritious on the day it’s eaten, as it was on the day it was made. Perhaps the days of trying to comprehend a list of indecipherable preservatives on a label will draw to an end. One may read simply: “sea dew”!