Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Rosemary Bad For You?



Short answer

Rosemary is generally good for you—it’s rich in antioxidants which may help reduce your risk of cancer. However, pregnant women should avoid taking rosemary as it could cause a miscarriage.



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Long answer

Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb that has been popular for centuries. The name comes from an ancient Greek legend. Aphrodite was said to have it hanging around her neck when she rose from the sea, born of Uranus. She laid down next to a white rosemary bush, and the Virgin Mary appeared and spread her cloak over it. The flowers turned blue, and the shrub became known as “Rose of Mary.”

Mythology aside, rosemary has many practical uses and offers a great deal of health benefits. Most commonly, rosemary is known as a herb. It’s fragrant and provides a unique pine-like taste to foods—but that’s not all it does. In addition to aroma and flavor, rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B6. Iron helps metabolize proteins and prevent anemia, calcium builds strong bones, and vitamin b6 boosts your immune system while promoting overall tissue health.

Rosemary is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory composites, which help boost your immune system and fight off cell-damaging particles called free radicals. Due to their destructive nature, free radicals can have a significant negative impact on your health, causing premature aging, dementia and even cancer.

With regard to cancer, numerous studies have revealed that rosemary (in extract form) may stop cancer cells from replicated—which may inhibit tumor growth. One study found that rosemary, on its own and in combination with curcumin, helped prevent breast cancer. A second study found similar effects of rosemary on colon cancer cells.

Rosemary provides many important benefits. However, there can be too much of a good thing—extremely large doses of rosemary can lead to vomiting and spasms. In more serious cases, overconsumption of rosemary can lead to pulmonary edema and a coma.

Certain people should steer clear of rosemary. High doses of rosemary may cause miscarriage. Therefore it's not advisable for pregnant women to take any supplemental rosemary.

Possible short-term side effects

  • vomiting
  • spasms

Possible long-term side effects

  • pulmonary edema
  • miscarriage


  • prevents anemia
  • promotes bone and tissue health
  • boosts immune system
  • helps fight cancer-causing free radicals

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Simply Organic Rosemary

  • Pungent, herbaceous flavor
  • Fresh earthy aroma
  • Kosher certified
  • Certified organic
  • Sustainably sourced
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Rachel Adams
Published on: 08-21-2017
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Rachel Adams
Published on: 08-21-2017
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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