Thursday, January 19, 2012

Essential oil: Rosemary essential oil - anti-inflammatory studies

Rosemary essential oil is regularly referred to as an anti-inflammatory, but does this claim stand up when we take a look at the science?

"The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of rosemary essential oil (REO) on experimental models of nociception and inflammation in animals. These data suggest that REO possesses anti-inflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive activity." (1) And this study noted that, "carnosic acid has a strong anti-inflammatory potential". And this study on wound care with rosemary essential oil noted, "Reduced inflammation and enhanced wound contraction, re-epithelialization, regeneration of granulation tissue, angiogenesis and collagen deposition were detected in the treated wounds. Conclusions: Results indicated that the essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis was the most active in healing diabetic wounds and provide a scientific evidence for the traditional use of this herb in wound treatment. However, further scientific verification is required to confirm and assess the range of wound healing potential of essential oils of Rosemary chemotypes." (2) As a note, this study used "aqueous extract and essential oil" and each was applied to the wounds. The essential oil was found to be more active.

Why does rosemary work in this way? The studies I've seen note that 1,8-cineole and carnosic acid have anti-inflammatory properties. Does it work if we just inhale it? No. We have to actively apply it or inject it (please do not go around injecting yourself with rosemary essential oil, regardless of what the studies say!)

Can we come to the conclusion that rosemary essential oil can behave as an anti-inflammatory? I think we can!

If you want to know more about the mechanisms by which carnosic acid works, look for the paper Carnosic acid and carnosol potently inhibit human 5-lipoxygenase and suppress pro-inflammatory responses of stimulated human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (Biochemical Pharmacology; Jul2008, Vol. 76 Issue 1, p91-97, 7p), where the authors state "Recently, we found that CA [carnosic acid] and CS [carnosol] activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, implying an anti-inflammatory potential on the level of gene regulation." Or look for the paper entitled Carnosic acid and carnosol, phenolic diterpene compounds of the labiate herbs rosemary and sage, are activators of the human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. (Planta Medica (PLANTA MEDICA), 2006 Aug; 72(10): 881-7 (56 ref))

1. Takaki, I., Bersani-Amado, L., Vendruscolo, A., Sartoretto, S., Diniz, S., Bersani-Amado, C., & Cuman, R. (2008). Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil in experimental animal models. Journal Of Medicinal Food, 11(4), 741-746.
2. Healing potential of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on full-thickness excision cutaneous wounds in alloxan-induced-diabetic BALB/c mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology; Sep2010, Vol. 131 Issue 2, p443-450, 8p


cspurlock said...

Hi Susan - First off, I love your site. The information if great, very informative. :) With that said, I'd like to know if you would be able to suggest an alternative to using Lavender EO. I have a few customers that are extremely sensitive to it. I have it in a few formulations, including a Eucalyptus-free Chest Rub Bar that is very similar to Vick's Vapor Rub in the scent. The formulation uses lavender EO, along with - Rosemary EO, Roman Chamomile EO and Peppermint EO. I'd like to re-formulate the product to not include lavender EO, & instead replace it. Do you have any suggestions??

Thanks much. Jenn

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jenn. What were your reasons for using lavender in the bar and what qualities are you looking to keep in it with a new essential oil? Or are you looking to replicate the fragrance? I'm not really sure what you want to do here, so let me know!

cspurlock said...

In the formulation, I wanted the benefits of lavender as a soother, but it also serves to relive coughing & is great for muscle aches. I was just wondering if I could replace it with something else. Like, if I had wanted to replace the peppermint EO, I would use spearmint EO. I'd like to keep the formulation free of eucalyptus, tea tree & lavender EOs. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Would Rosemary oil be beneficial to acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties?

Melissa said...

HellO, I am looking for natural ways, EO's or otherwise that would help reduce granulation tissue? I develop copious amounts in my airway post surgeries which leads to the tissue blocking off my trachea. At this time I'm having surgery every two months to laser it off. I was wondering if there was something that could help prevent it from growing? Also, is there anything that strengthens cartilage (specifically trachea cartilage)? Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melissa. I'm sorry you're suffering with your trachea. Up unfortunately, what you're seeking is medical advice, and this is a cosmetic chemistry blog. To offer such advice would be, in my opinion, grossly negligent. Please don't trust someone like me - a self-taught blogger - to give you any advice pertaining to your health. And please don't trust other bloggers with something so precious. I have been through my own health struggles before, so I have a small idea of how frustrated you might feel, and it was so tempting for me to trust anyone who might be able to help. But I soon realized that my doctors were the experts on treatment and medications and trusting them helped me get better. I'm sorry I can't be of service, but I'm sending you good thoughts.