Rosemary Tinctures, Oils and Brews

 in Lifestyle

What ya ganna do with all that rosemary?
Concentrations. Of course.

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write about Rosemary.
Along with thyme it’s my most used and perhaps most loved herb.

You may or may not know much about me, but I work 8-12 hour days between teaching, cooking, cleaning and writing. I take 2 or 3 days off the week but long hours in the kitchen and the high temperatures where I live in the Yucatan really stress my body. Enter my favorite healing plant, rosemary.  I wore it in my hair when we got married because it is an ancient symbol of longevity and memory, but it has known medicinal properties too.

1. It increases blood flow and aids the circulation system
Rosemary increases circulation enough that it can ease headaches, encourages hair growth and warms the blood. This is good when you are sick or during the winter if you are prone to cold hands and feet.

2. Good for joints/arthritis
Adding fresh rosemary to your diet can help many people who suffer from stiff joints and arthritis inflammation. Rosemary is a natural anti-inflammatory and is easy to incorporate in bans, rice, stir fry or other foods.
A warm rosemary tea may be especially effective for joint pain relief. 

3. It’s restorative
As a powerful anti-inflammatory rosemary also helps you recover from long-term stress and chronic illness. Many including me can benefit from rosemary’s restorative and anti-stress properties. Rosemary is a tea I enjoy to restore my entire body, mind and soul. I don’t have a bathtub, but if you do you can add it to bath water to ease aching muscles and relax away stressful days. I drink tea almost daily and do a rosemary foot bath ritual weekly after I finish my long cooking production hours.

4. Aids bone heath 
According to research by Magda M.Elkomy and Fahmy G.Elsaid rosemary aids in the absorption of calcium and maybe a good way to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.  

5. It even helps concentration
Research suggest rosemary has many neurological benefits and one proven is memory and concentration boosting. Throughout college I often studied with a rosemary cutting or tea nearby this is because I read that the smell of rosemary improves your neuron disconnectedness. Its being studied in Alzheimer’s prevention as well as other neurological disorders.

Tinctures, Oils and Other Brews

Rosemary tea:

The best and easiest method is to simply infuse the rosemary in hot water.
You can drink 1-3 cups of rosemary tea daily, it can even be made with other garden herbs you have.

Place the rosemary in a tea strainer and place the strainer in a cup.
Cover the cup with freshly boiled water and infuse for 5-10 minutes.
Add a teaspoon of agave or sweetener if you desire.  

1t (2-3g) dried or 2t (4-6g) fresh rosemary
1 cup hot water
20 g dried or 30 g fresh rosemary
500 ml water

Infused oil:

One of my favorites, this preparation is great for rubbing onto sore muscles or used in food preparations. It is also used when making ointment or other first aid creams. The biggest benefit is shelf life. While oil infusions are most potent when fresh they can last up to 1 year. I especially like to make infused oil when I have a large harvest because it’s a great last minute addition to a lot of other medicinal recipes.

Hot infused oil:
1 cup olive or coconut oil
100 g fresh rosemary (50 g dried)

Place the chopped rosemary and oil into glass oven safe bowl.
Stir to cover well and place the bowl over a saucepan of water.
Cover and simmer on low for 2-3 hours .
Turn off and allow to cool completely (I usually allow it to sit overnight).
Secured a cloth bag to the rim of a jug or bowl with string.
Pour the oil and herb mixture into a cloth bag and allow the oil to filter through.
Squeeze out the remaining oil from the bag and store in labeled dark glass bottles.

Cold infused oil:
1 cup olive or coconut oil
100 g fresh rosemary (50 g dried)

Place the chopped rosemary and oil in a glass jar and cover.
Shake well and allow the jar to sit in a sunny spot for 2-6 weeks.
Secured a cloth bag to the rim of a jug or bowl with string.
Pour the oil and herb mixture into a cloth bag and allow the oil to filter through.
Squeeze out the remaining oil from the bag and store in labeled dark glass bottles.


I use tinctures especially if I am going on vacation and can’t be sure to have tea around. I don’t use them on a normal basis because I personally prefer tea and oil. However, they are great for people who don’t have a lot of time, even preparing the tincture is fast and hands off.

They can be strong and are alcohol based making them unsuitable for pregnancy or when you have gastric issues. The general rule is 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol, but I usually do a slightly weaker concentration.

The alcohol you should use, 35-40% vodka or rum. Some recipes call for higher proof alcohol (up to 80%) but that’s not needed when using fresh herbs. I prefer 38% rum because it can cover the taste of unusual or bitter herbs. Rosemary is so lovely though, you can use any high proof alcohol you have on hand. 

The alcohol you should NEVER use, industrial alcohol, methyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol. Tinctures are meant to be consumed internally and these alcohol shouldn’t be.

75 g fresh rosemary
300 ml rum or vodka (35-40%)

Chop the rosemary and place in a glass jar.
Cover with suitable alcohol and close jar.
Label the bottle and store in a cool dry place for 2-5 days.
Shake the jar daily.

When ready to use filter out the rosemary and store in a dropper or spray bottle. Use 1-3 dropper full daily in water or spray under your tongue.

Steam Inhalation:

I enjoy this preparation if I have a lot of tension in my shoulder, jaw or a bad headache. Its incredible restorative and helps relieve pressure in the sinuses just as well as stress and anxiety. Bonus, play soothing music while you enjoy your steam tent.

25 g fresh herbs (or 5-10 drops essential oil)
1 liter water

I do this preparation in a normal cooking pot and sit at my kitchen table with the just boiled pot on a thick towel or wooden board. I then drape a towel around my shoulders and pull it over my head while resting my elbows on the table to create a tent (this is why a thick towel works great under the pot to also cushion your elbows).
I can open the front of the tent where my hands meet as needed for clear air or to release some of the built up heat.

If you can’t sit at the table a couple drops of essential oils in a coffee mug held near your face also works great.
Just remember to not drink essential oils.

Note it is advised to stay in a warm room for 30 minutes after a steaming session to allow your airways to adjust and clear. Discontinue the steam inhalation if you feel any pain or dizziness. Remember to drink water as hot temperatures dehydrate us.


It is best to use a mix of oils to make a less solid ointment, however you can use 100% cocoa butter if you choose. I use this ointment mostly on my feet, ankles and knees which take the stress of my daily standing.
If you have hair loss of dandruff you can also apply this to your scalp after showering.
You can apply it on any closed skin. Especially good at rehydrating dry skin.

2 T rosemary infused coconut oil (see recipe above)
1 T olive oil
¼ cup cocoa butter

Place an oven safe glass bowl over a saucepan of water.
Heat on low until all the ingredients have melted.
When everything is well incorporated pour into sterilized dark glass jars.
Place the lid on top of the jar but DO NOT secure firmly.
Allow to cool completely, secure lids, label and store. 

*If you can not make the infused coconut oil you can add 10 drops of essential oil to 2 T plain coconut oil

Essential Oil:

If you are unable to grow enough rosemary in your garden space you may need or want to supplement with purchased essential oils. These also have the benefit of being easy to add to a difusor instead of using the aforementioned steam inhalation. 

You can also add them to your already made soaps, shampoos and other beauty products. They are not for internal consumption. 

Remember essential oils may irritate the skin and should always be dissolved in a carry oil like coconut or olive before applying directly to skin or in a soap or shampoo.

General Blending Information
approximately 5-10 drops essential oil per ounce (~28g) of carrier oil (~ a scant tablespoon).
*Use less essential oil if you have sensitive skin.

10-15 drops in your bath water
50-90 drops in your shampoo bottle (depending on size)
40-60 drops in lotion (depending on size)

Always start you drops on the low end of the scale, you can even add only 1 drop and slowly build up to the 5 drop recommendation.

Rosemary essential oil in coconut oil as a shoulder rub has substantially reduced my shoulder pain.
You can also use the infused oil from above as massage oil, it’s my favorite use for it.

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Showing 16 comments
  • shontel

    Rosemary was considered “the herb of remembrance” for over 700 years It was used to wrap the bodies of the dead to stop retard detioration and ease the smell until the bodies could be buried. Rosemary is a powerful antiseptic It was also planted all around the graves. And in France to this day, it is common to see rows and rows of rosemary in the graveyards, resplendent with their small pink flowers. So neither the passed would forget the loved ones still here. Nor the loved ones forget the ‘dearly departed’. A warm bath to which to added plenty of fresh rosemary wrapped in cheesecloth, is sure to Lift the spirits and energy of a person who is wan…cold, lacking vim and vigor and generally depressed. For muscles that are achy and weak due to being bed ridden for whatever reason, a rub with an oil or butter to which plenty of rosemary has been added will restore circulation and bring relief. Such has been the remarkable positive effect that rosemary has on memory and cognition in medical studies, that now industrious little scientists in some pharm companies have taken out patent application on one of the active ingredients in rosemary..Proposing to produce a drug to treat dementia. Silly people…a wholesome tea…or adding the young fresh leaves to rosemary daily will have more more beneficial effects to the brain function….free of side effects…and with many side Benefits.

    • Nik

      This was a very thoughtful and beautiful comment. Thank you for taking the time. I am happy to see someone who loves rosemary perhaps even more than I.

  • Nicki

    Wow! Great information. I’ve made the tincture, it’s been sitting for about 6 weeks. I’m so excited to give it a try. Definitely will try the oil infused rosemary. Thank you 🤗

    • Nik

      Enjoy your tincture! I love using rosemary this way too.

  • Jennifer

    This is the best description I’ve seen anywhere about one of my favorite herbs. I really appreciate the time you took to write all this up, and to provide the picture of the ceramic bowl on top of a saucepan. Thank you for teaching even after you left your classroom!

    Tonight I am using 86g of fresh rosemary to infuse an oil. I feel comfortable leaving the kitchen for part of the process this time, given how much safer my method has become.

  • Ania

    Hi Nik. Do You have any recipes for making rosemary essential oil (not iffused oils) without still? The alcohol evaporation method is the only decent one I found so far

    • Nik

      Hi, unfortunatly these are the only methods I know and use. I do want to learn how to make essential oils too but I have also not been able to invest in propper equipment to make the project happen. I hope you find a sollution that works for your needs and budget. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

    • Leo

      Distillation is the only most easy way to efficiently make rosemary essential oil and hydrosol. Tincture is good to extract the nonvolatile compounds out but they are different with the essential oil, and also having different function.

      • Nik

        Thanks for this comment. This post does not go into the how to make essential oils because it requires a set up that I do not have and instead mentions essential oils are for purchase and how to use purchased essential oils. Maybe someday I’ll set up a distillation system, but I haven’t taken that step yet. If you have maybe you would consider writing a guest post for our readers.

  • Sarah

    When making a tincture can you use the woody branch with leaves?

    • Nik

      Hello and good question. As long as the branch is proven to be safe to eat as well, such as with rosemary, yes you can use the woody parts too. It may change the taste or color of your tincture.

  • Lyssia

    You mention using coconut oil for cold infusion- do you use coconut oil that is liquid at room temp? Or is it warm enough where you are to use virgin coconut oil that is typically solid up to about 76 degrees Fahrenheit? Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Nik

      I would suggest olive oil for your climate, where I live in the tropics our coconut oil is always in liquid state. Sorry for any confusion.

  • Shari

    Hi, when making the ointment if I need to use essential oil instead of the infused oil do you have a general idea how much I should reduce the amount of oil? If I understand correctly essential oils are more concentrated.
    Thanks I’m advance. This article was so helpful and informative. I can’t wait to try the ointment on my chronic pain.

  • Amber

    For the infused oil can I use grape seed oil instead of the coconut oil?

    • Nik

      Amber, absolutely! Almost any oil works and I understand coconut oil isn’t liquid in all parts of the world like it is here in the Yucatan. Any clean oil will work and it’s always better if from a whole plant like grapeseed and not a mixed vegetable oil.

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