Rosemary has a long history of culinary and aromatic uses, in addition to applications in traditional herbal and Ayurvedic medicine (1).
The rosemary bush (Rosmarinus officinalis) is native to South America and the Mediterranean region. It’s part of the Lamiaceae family of plants, along with mint, oregano, lemon balm, and basil (2).
Many people enjoy rosemary tea for its flavor, aroma, and health benefits.
Here are 6 potential health benefits and uses of rosemary tea, as well as possible drug interactions and a recipe to make it.
They can be found in a variety of plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs like rosemary. Rosemary tea also contains compounds that may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
The compounds in rosemary tea may also have antimicrobial properties, which may help fight infections. Rosemary leaves are employed in traditional medicine for their antibacterial and wound healing effects (6, 8, 9).
Studies have also investigated the effects of rosmarinic and carnosic acid on cancer. They have found that the two acids may have antitumor properties and even slow the growth of leukemia, breast, and prostate cancer cells (10, 11, 12).
Rosemary tea contains compounds shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. The two most studied compounds in rosemary are rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid.
Studies have shown that compounds in rosemary tea may lower blood sugar, suggesting that rosemary could have potential applications for managing high blood sugar among people with diabetes.
Though studies on rosemary tea specifically are lacking, test-tube and animal studies on rosemary itself indicate that carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid have insulin-like effects on blood sugar.
Rosemary tea contains compounds that may help lower high blood sugar levels by exerting insulin-like effects and boosting the absorption of glucose into muscle cells.
Experiencing stress and anxiety from time to time is common.
Though studies on rosemary tea specifically are lacking, evidence shows that drinking and inhaling compounds in rosemary tea may help boost your mood and improve your memory.
One study found that taking 500 mg of oral rosemary twice daily for 1 month significantly lowered anxiety levels and improved memory and sleep quality among college students, compared with a placebo (18).
Another 2-month study in 66 industrial employees noted that those who drank 2 teaspoons (4 grams) of rosemary in 2/3 cup (150 ml) of water daily reported feeling significantly less burnt out at their jobs, compared with those who drank nothing (19).
In fact, simply smelling rosemary appears to be beneficial. One study in 20 healthy young adults observed that inhaling rosemary aroma for 4–10 minutes before a mental test improved concentration, performance, and mood (20).
What’s more, a study in 20 healthy adults found that inhaling rosemary oil stimulated brain activity and improved mood. Participants’ activity level, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate increased after inhaling the oil (21).
Rosemary extract may improve mood by promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria and reducing inflammation in the hippocampus, the part of your brain associated with emotions, learning, and memories (22).
Consuming and inhaling compounds in rosemary have been shown to reduce anxiety, boost mood, and improve concentration and memory. Both smelling and drinking rosemary tea may offer these benefits, but more research is needed.
Animal research suggests that rosemary may even support recovery from conditions that can lead to brain damage, such as a stroke (24).
Compounds in rosemary tea may protect the health of your brain — both from injury and impairment from aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
While studies on rosemary tea and eye health are lacking, evidence suggests that certain compounds in the tea may benefit your eyes.
One study examined the addition of rosemary extract to common treatments like zinc oxide and other AREDs antioxidant combinations, finding that it helped slow age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common condition that affects vision (28).
Other animal and experimental studies indicate that the rosmarinic acid in rosemary delays the onset of cataracts — the gradual opaqueness of the eye that leads to blindness — and reduces the severity of cataracts (29).
Keep in mind that most studies on rosemary and eye health have used concentrated extracts, making it difficult to determine what effect rosemary tea may have, as well as how much you would need to drink to reap these benefits.
Rosemary tea may contain compounds that can help protect your vision as you age by slowing the progression and severity of diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Rosemary has been studied for many other uses.
Other potential benefits of the compounds in rosemary tea include:
While these benefits seem promising, more research is needed, particularly to determine what benefits drinking rosemary tea may offer.
While evidence is limited, rosemary tea may contain compounds that benefit your heart and digestive health, support weight loss, and even help treat hair loss. That said, more research is needed.
As with many other herbs, some people may need to exercise caution when consuming rosemary tea due to its potential drug interactions.
Some of the medications with the highest risk of interacting negatively with rosemary tea include (36):
Rosemary can have effects similar to those of these medications, such as increasing urination, impairing blood clotting ability, and lowering blood pressure. If you take lithium, the diuretic effects of rosemary can lead to toxic levels of lithium accumulating in your body.
If you’re taking any of these drugs — or other medications for similar purposes — it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before adding rosemary tea to your diet.
Rosemary may exert effects similar to those of certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure, increase urination, and improve circulation. If you’re on medication, consult your healthcare provider before adding rosemary tea to your diet.
Rosemary tea is very easy to make at home and only requires two ingredients — water and rosemary.
To make rosemary tea:
Making rosemary tea at home is an easy way to control its strength and content. You can brew a cup using only two ingredients and a stovetop or microwave.
Rosemary tea offers some impressive potential health benefits.
Drinking the tea — or even simply inhaling its aroma — may benefit your mood and brain and eye health. It may also help prevent oxidative damage that can lead to numerous chronic diseases.
However, it’s important to be aware of its potential interactions with certain medications.
Rosemary tea can easily be made at home using only two ingredients and fits well into an overall healthy and balanced diet.
Note that many of the studies discussed above used rosemary extract and essential oils, so it’s hard to know whether rosemary tea will offer the same health benefits.