Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, is a bush with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers. Native to the Mediterranean region, it is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes over 7,000 species. The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin words "ros", meaning "dew" and "marinus," meaning "sea" - "dew of the sea". Rosemary has been in culinary use since at least 500 B.C.
In Greek mythology, it's said to have been draped around the Greek goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea. Another legend says that the Virgin Mary spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush while she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the "Rose of Mary".
As a medicinal herb, it has long been recommended for strengthening the brain and memory. The herb contains substances that are useful for improving digestion and increasing circulation.
In cooking, rosemary is used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, such as soups, casseroles, salads, and stews. Use rosemary with chicken and other poultry, game, lamb, pork, steaks, and fish, especially oily fish. It also goes well with grains, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, and spinach.
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