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It does seem, however, to offer some weight to the old saying "Rosemary for remembrance" (quoted by Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet as "Rosemary, that's for remembrance"). Greek students are said to have worn wreaths of rosemary on their heads during exams as an aid to memory. Sprigs of rosemary have been used at weddings and funerals to symbolise the importance of remembrance for centuries.
Rosemary sprigs also have a special place in the Anzac Day commemorations in Australia, not only because of the association with remembrance, but also because rosemary plants grew wild in the Gallipoli peninsula.
Rosemary has long been associated with good health and healing. It contains compounds that are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. A distillation of rosemary and alcohol, known as Queen of Hungary water, is said to have been first made in the late 14th century. It was used for rubbing on the skin, inhaling, and drinking, and was supposed to ward off illness and produce longevity and a youthful appearance. One legend says that the Queen of Hungary found it so effective that at the age of 72 she married the king of Poland, a man aged 26.
Later, with the addition of other herbs and flower extracts, Hungary Water was used as a perfume, similar to eau de cologne. Rosemary is often used in shampoos and hair tonics, due to its reputation for strengthening the hair and even preventing hair loss and greying.
|"el bálsamo de fierabrás"|
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For those looking for love, rosemary has some interesting traditional uses. For instance, if several sprigs are planted in pots and named for potential lovers, the one that grows the strongest is said to indicate the ideal spouse. Alternatively, a sprig under your pillow at night could lead to dreams of your true love.
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References and further reading:
Health Benefits of Rosemary
The History of the Magical Rosemary Plant
Historical Uses of Rosemary