All, Educational, Essential Oils

Get to Know Your Oils: ROSEMARY

Rosemary. For many, the word is unspectacular; it simply calls to mind the common herb found in many a garden and at almost any market, even the most poorly stocked.

Yet I invite you to see and experience this herb with new perspective.

Rosemary stems from a warm, Mediterranean climate, yet it has adapted beautifully to the colder regions of the world. It has been utilized medicinally for hundreds of years to remove impurities and evil thoughts, to encourage remembrance, as a defense against plague and as a protection against physical harm.

Culinarily speaking, the fresh herb contains a particular chemical compound known as rosmarinic acid; shown to be effective in treating anxiety, depression, asthma and other respiratory issues. It is also shown to increase blood flow to the brain, making it excellent for focus, mental clarity and mood stabilization.

Because of its many centuries of cultivation and its amazing adaptability, rosemary has adopted an interesting botanical trait that few aromatic plants possess; it has multiple chemotypes.

The Chemotypes

Rosmarinus officinalis. This is its botanical name; its scientific name; the name by which it can easily be recognized and identified with assuredness around the globe. This is the name we utilize when discussing the essential oil. Yet, when you are purchasing essential oils of rosemary, you may find that you have quite an array of choices:

  • Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ct 1,8 cineole
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ct borneol
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ct limonene
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ct pinene

All of the above 6 plants are the exact same species, Rosmarinus officinalis, except upon closer analysis, they all have completely different chemical compositions.

Today, we will be exploring the camphor and verbenone chemotypes, since those happen to be the two I have in front of me as I write this post.

The Differences

These two oils have a slightly different scent:

  • ct camphor – herbaceous, astringent and, understandably, camphoraceous
  • ct verbenone – herbacious & astringent, but warmer, smoother, and slightly sweeter in nature

The chemistry is, of course, different (I will list the chemical components based on the 2 bottles currently in front of me):

  • ct camphor – 20% camphor, 20% a-pinene, 20% 1,8 cineole
  • ct verbenone – 14% camphor, 9% verbenone, 19% a-pinene, 9% 1,8 cineole, 10% bornyl acetate

This difference in chemistry results in subtly different therapeutic applications.

The most notable, possibly due to the bornyl acetate in its chemistry, is that Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone is excellent for skin rejuvenation, whereas Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor is not.

The verbenone version is wonderful for supporting healthy, clear skin. It has a cicatrisant quality which assists in regenerating skin cells and helping to heal old scars. For this reason, the verbenone type is a popular choice for hair and skin care products.

The Similarities

Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor and ct verbenone are examples of chemotypes that, while different, have a lot of similarities.

Let’s take a look at some of their shared therapeutic properties:


  • Analgesic (pain killer)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal
  • Astringent
  • Mucolytic (breaks up mucous in the lungs/sinuses)


  • Very uplifting
  • Encourages positivity
  • Clears out stagnant energy
  • Energizing


  • Increased blood flow to the brain
  • Mental clarity
  • Focus
  • Helps strengthen the mind
  • Helps with decision-making


  • Energizing
  • Creates a sense of expansiveness
  • Supports healthy, loving relationships
  • Purifying
  • Balancing
  • Protects & encourages during times of transformation


It may be challenging at first to discern the subtleties of the various chemotypes of Rosmarinus officinalis, but know that you have a lot of information with which to help train your nose.

Any good distributor will list the origin of growth, the method of production and the plant parts utilized. Perhaps they will even provide a story of the cultural, folkloric and traditional uses of the oil.

As you open the bottle and allow the aroma to hit you for the first time, incorporate everything you have ever known about rosemary with everything you have just read about this particular bottle. Combine that with everything you are experiencing in your own body as you breathe in the scent.

Visualize the plant in its natural habitat and all the human labor that went into growing, harvesting and distilling it. Imagine the vast quantity of rosemary that was necessary to create the bottle you hold in your hand. Think of all the different energies that have contributed to the process; from the Earth, from the machinery and from human hands.

This particular bottle of Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor that I am holding, was grown and distilled by a farm in the Spanish countryside. Whereas the bottle of Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone that I am holding, was grown and distilled by a farm in South Africa.

These are two vastly different countries, located on different continents, which experience different weather patterns, have totally different soil compositions and perhaps even utilize different farming and distillation methods.

The farmers handling the plants speak wildly different languages, and have differing cultural connections to the plants they are growing.

These are people with completely separate histories, and yet there is also a shared human experience; one of struggle and one of celebration; one of great oppression and one of spectacular freedom.

Smell is an experience. Take the time to not just sniff a bottle of rosemary, but to vividly connect with the story it is telling you.

Suggested Recipe

One of my favorite ways to experience rosemary is by diffusing it.

This is a blend I use several times a week in my office to clear the air and to create a loving and uplifting atmosphere:


  • Approximately 5oz of water
  • 4 drops Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor essential oil
  • 3 drops lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil
  • 2 drops bergamot mint (Mentha citrata) essential oil
  • 2 drops hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis var decumbens ct 1,8 cineole)


  • Put all ingredients into your diffuser and diffuse away!

Recommended Oil Distributors:

  • Aromatics International
  • Stillpoint Aromatics

Experience the mental clarifying power of Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor in BE Light’s CLARIFY essential oil blend.

Use coupon code clarify to receive $5 off any single 10ml bottle.

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