The fields around our house are full of spring flowers- fruit trees, daffodils, dandelions, and more. Our cultivated flower garden is a more summer-season one, so there’s not much to look at right now, with the grand exception of the huge Rosemary that sits in the middle of our herb bed. It has been flowering since last Thanksgiving, and we can always rely on it for a bit of cheer, both aesthetically through the grey winter, and medicinally in our foods and Spagyrics.

Rosemary’s name comes from the Latin “ros marinus”, meaning “dew of the Sea”, and it is so named because it loves to grow on the hillsides that overlook the Mediterranean sea.

Although its native climate is much warmer than ours in Oregon, it also thrives here, with our salt air and maritime climate. Much of the commercial landscaping of the entire West Coast is full of Rosemary, and we’ve found huge stands of it in spots as diverse as strip malls in Phoenix, the Arboretum in Washington DC, and the bank down the street. It is easy to grow, unfussy about soil and nutrients, and tolerant to both drought and wet, although a dry climate brings out more of its aromatic properties.

When I think about how easy Rosemary is to grow, and how omnipresent it is in the landscaping of the world, I remember a conversation I had in our booth at a long-ago herb festival.

A woman came to us asking about an array of issues, mostly related to chronic pain and the depression that had set in because of it. I gave her a couple drops of our Spiritualized Essence of Rosemary, and her face lit up like the sun. She smiled and even giggled a little, and was astonished to find that she felt cheerful and positive for the first time in years. What was that??? she asked me, and when I told her it was Rosemary, she looked truly confused.

She then explained that for many years, she had tried countless herbs in her quest for health, and had hiked all over South America to consult with healers and shamans and try ever more rare plants and formulas. After all that, to be helped by Rosemary was baffling to her because, as she put it, “that’s been growing right outside my front door this whole time!”

And so it had, and outside our own door here and at every house we’ve lived at, so important is Rosemary to our cooking and health. It is the plant we work with in our School, since it is the herb that has the most to teach about all levels of Spagyric processing. It extracts easily in all kinds of solvents, carries abundant essential oil and Salts, and is easy to direct through lab work.

Because of its versatility at all levels of being, we offer Rosemary at all three levels of Spagyric, each with a different facet of its gifts.

Our Rosemary Essence is bitter and grounding, earthy in taste and effect, and great for episodes of digestive upset or sluggishness. It moves things along in the digestive tract, but in a gentle and balanced way that can be used often without overstimulation.

Rosemary has long been considered the “herb of remembrance”, and has an ancient history of use to protect and sharpen memory and thought. These properties are prominent in our Spiritualized Essence, which is very clarifying to the mind, uplifting to the mood, and warming to the whole being. This Spagyric is an excellent support for mental work such as studying or writing, or just to get moving in the morning.

On the Sulfur level, Rosemary’s plentiful essential oil shows its intelligence for healing at the Soul level of being, and our Magistery of Rosemary is the archetypal Solar medicine. Very warming and sharp in taste, this Magistery clears out mental and energetic cobwebs, bringing a bright and cheery clarity to the mental state. It has an energy that feels like the Sun coming out from behind the clouds, and it makes a great tonic for daily use.

Rosemary brings that enlivening mental boost to the formulas we use it in, also, and two of our Somalixirs feature Rosemary.

In ancient Greece, students wore wreaths of Rosemary around their heads while studying, and it is now known that most of the antioxidants in the herb concentrate their effects in brain tissue, which is why we included it in our Mega Brain.

Useful for the deep concentration of reading and study, as well as for the recall needed to pass a test, Mega Brain also contains Ginkgo for healthy blood flow to the brain, as well as Siberian Solomon’s Seal, which is especially supportive to the mind when it is overworked or tired.

Rise and Shine is the other Somalixir starring Rosemary, and it does exactly what the name implies- helps you wake up and face the day. This formula started as a lineup of individual Spagyrics in response to the Sunday morning crowd at Bioneers, or more accurately, as a help in recovering from the Saturday night party!

Ashwagandha helps for that “tired and wired” feeling that happy overexertion can create, while Rhodiola and Rosemary bring cheer, mental alertness, and a brighter outlook on the day. Also great as a long-term tonic, Rise and Shine has helped us and many others with its bright and enlivening energy.