165. Rosmarinus officinalis, Linn.—Common Rosemary.

Botanical name: 

Tribe III. Monardeae, Benth.
Stamens 2, straight or ascending; cells of the anthers oblong-linear, or solitary, or separated by the filiform connective (very rarely approximate in Perowskia).

Sex. Syst. Diandria, Monogynia.
(Oleum e cacumine florente destillatum, L.—Tops, E. D.)

History.—The Λιβανωτίς στεφανωματική, or Libanotis coronaria of Dioscorides, [Lib. iii. cap. 89.] is supposed to be our officinal rosemary, which received its name, Λιβανωτίς (from Λίβανος, Thus), on account of its odour, and στεφανωματική (στεφανωματικός, coronarius), from its use in making garlands. [The Arabian name signifies "royal crown."] Pliny [Hist. Nat. lib. xix. cap. 62, ed. Valp.] calls it Rosmarinum. The flowers are termed anthos (from άνθος, a flower), signifying they are the flowers par excellence; just as we call cinchona the bark, and the inspissated juice of the poppy, opium (i. e. the juice).

Botany. Gen. Char.— Calyx ovate-campanulate, 2-lipped; the upper lip entire, the lower bifid, the throat naked within. Corolla with a protruding tube, smooth and not ringed in the inside, somewhat inflated in the throat; limb 2-lipped; lips nearly equal, the upper one erect and emarginate, the lower spreading, trifid, with the lateral lobes oblong, erect, somewhat twisted; the middle lobe very large, concave, and hanging down. No rudiments of the superior stamina; fertile (inferior) ones, 2, ascending, protruding; filaments inserted in the throat of the corolla, shortly-toothed near the base; anthers linear, subbilocular; the cells straggling, confluent, connate at the margin. Upper lobe of the style very short. Nucules dry, smooth (Bentham).

Sp. Char.—The only species.—Leaves sessile, linear, revolute at the edge, hoary beneath. Calyx purplish. Corolla white or pale purplish-blue.

Hab.—South of Europe; also Asia Minor.

Properties.—The flowering-tops (cacumina rosmarini) are the officinal parts. They have a strong and remarkable odour, and a warm bitter taste.

Composition.—The peculiar odour and flavour of this plant depend on volatile oil. Besides this, the tops contain tannic acid, a bitter matter, resin? and woody fibre.

Physiological Effects.—Carminative and mildly stimulant, analogous to the other labiate plants.

Uses.—Rarely employed medicinally. Infusion of Rosemary (rosemary tea) is sometimes used as a substitute for ordinary tea by hypochondriacal persons. The admired flavour of Narbonne honey depends on the bees collecting this substance from rosemary plants, which abound in the neighbourhood of Narbonne: hence sprigs of rosemary are sometimes added to the honey of other places, in order to imitate the flavour of Narbonne honey.

1. OLEUM ROSMARINI, L. E. D. [U. S.]; Oleum Anthos, offic.; Oil of Rosemary.—(Prepared by submitting the rosemary tops to distillation with water.)—This oil was first procured by Raymond Lully. [Thomson's Hist. of Chem. vol. i. p. 41.] It is transparent and colourless, with the odour of rosemary, and a hot, aromatic taste. Its sp. gr. is 0.897; and it boils at 365° F. It consists, according to Dr. Kane, of C45H38O2. One pound of the fresh herb yields about one drachm of the oil. [Brande, Dict. of Mat. Med. p. 466.] It is rarely taken internally, but is not unfrequently used externally, in conjunction with other substances as stimulating liniment; for example, in alopecia, or baldness, and also as a perfume Dose, gtt. ij to gtt. v.

2. SPIRITUS ROSMARINI, L. E. D. [U. S.]; Spirit of Rosemary.—(Oil of Rosemary f℥ij; Rectified Spirit Cong. j. Dissolve, L.—The Edinburgh College submits the tops, ℔ijss, to distillation with a gallon of Rectified Spirit, so as to obtain seven pints of the distilled spirit.)—It is usually prepared merely by dissolving the oil in spirit, distillation being superfluous. Seldom employed internally. Its principal use is as an odoriferous adjunct to lotions and liniments. It is a constituent of the Linimentum Saponis (see vol. i. p. 552), and Tinctura Lavandulae composita (see ante p. 442).

3. ESSENTIA ROSMARINI, D.; Essence of Rosemary.—(Oil of Rosemary f℥j; Rectified Spirit f℥ix. Mix with agitation.)—Its uses are the same as those of the spirit just noticed.

4. AQUA HUNGARICA; Aqua Rosmarini seu Anthos composita; Hungary Water.—Various formulae for the preparation of this perfume have been given. The following is from the Pharm. Wurtem. and Bavar.: Take of fresh Rosemary, in blossom, ℔iv; fresh Sage, in blossom ℥vj; Zingiber ℥ij. Cut into pieces, and add Rectified Spirit ℔xij; Common Water Oij. Let eleven pints distil by a gentle heat. A hermit is said to have given the formula for the preparation of this perfume to a queen of Hungary; whence this water has been called the Queen of Hungary's Water (Aqua Regina Hungariae). [For the history of Hungary water, see Beckmann's History of Inventions, translated by Wm. Johnston, vol. 11. p. 107, 1791.] Hungary water is frequently imitated by mixing Spirit of Lavender f℥vij with Spirit of Rosemary f℥iv.—This liquid is employed principally as a perfume for the toilet; also as an excitant and restorative in fainting. Externally, it is used as a stimulating liniment.

The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Vol. II, 3th American ed., was written by Jonathan Pereira in 1854.