Rosemary Flowers Have Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Potential
Flowers have had many purposes and uses in human civilizations throughout history - from ornamental and cosmetic to culinary and medicinal.
Some edible flowers, such as roses, sunflowers, clover, hibiscus, calendula, and many others have been consumed since ancient times.
Unlike them, the rosemary plant (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) has been mostly used in gastronomy as a spice and culinary herb, but its flowers aren’t known as being edible.
The rosemary plant is a fragrant plant native to the Mediterranean region, with needle-like leaves and small white, blue, or purple flowers.
Most research on rosemary is focused on its leaves and the derived essential oil due to their therapeutic properties, but the flowers have remained understudied.
A recently published study has evaluated the antioxidant and anti-aging potential of rosemary flower extract and examined its phenolic content.
The researchers conducted the study in two ways - 1. an in-vitro examination of the rosemary flower extract and 2. using a microorganism species to assess its effects on oxidative stress.
The in-vitro examination has revealed that there were 14 compounds present in the rosemary extract, six phenolic acids, and eight flavonoids with a strong scavenging activity.
What this means is that rosemary flowers have a considerable amount of antioxidants that can fight free radicals, making them potential functional ingredients.
The results from the microorganism examination revealed that rosemary extract was successful in reducing oxidative stress in the microorganisms.
It also increased the lifespan of the microorganisms by a median of 18%, which attests to its anti-aging effects.
Antioxidants are known to be very beneficial for human health by protecting the body from age-related inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, or neurodegeneration.
According to this study, the rosemary flowers are a good source of antioxidants, making them a good candidate for further research, as well as potential pharmacological and/or nutraceutical ingredients.
Resource: Moliner, C.; López, V.; Barros, L.; Dias, M.I.; Ferreira, I.C.F.R.; Langa, E.; Gómez-Rincón, C. Rosemary Flowers as Edible Plant Foods: Phenolic Composition and Antioxidant Properties in Caenorhabditis elegans. Antioxidants 2020, 9, 811. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9090811