Hackney Herbal: The magic of Rosemary
Words by Alicja McCarthy
Photos by Jake Kenny
A natural remedy
We know that rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a great culinary herb. It works magic with lamb and mint and a single sprig can liven up a gin cocktail. But having spent a few hours with herb expert and founder of Hackney Herbal Nat Mady, we’ve discovered that the humble rosemary is a lot more.
It is blessed with many wellbeing and healing properties and studies have shown that rosemary can alleviate Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties; a mixture of rosemary oil blended with carrier oil such as sunflower can be a soothing muscle and joint rub. A stimulant herb, it is a surprising alternative to caffeine and rosemary tea can boost concentration and focus.
From ancient origins
“What I find fascinating about herbs is the history surrounding them. Herbs cross through literature and religion too and you see them referenced everywhere”, says Mady. The name derives from the Latin for dew ‘ros’ and sea ‘marinus’, due to its Mediterranean origin. It is the key ingredient in Queen of Hungary Water, an elixir said to promote skin vitality and beauty. Because it promotes memory and stimulates blood flow it is also an emblem of fidelity for lovers and used to decorate special occasions such as weddings.
How to harvest?
Rosemary is a perennial plant and thrives for more than two years. It needs to grow outdoors in grainy well-drained soil, but as it is so readily available, harvesting and drying at home could not be simpler. Sprigs need to simply be bunched and dried upside down in a cool dry place for a week. The dried herb will keep in airtight containers for up to two years making it a great source of goodness all year round. So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a fresh sprig of rosemary today and put it to good use!