Herbal medicine is not only some of our first forms of medicine, it is still widely practiced throughout the world today.
Yet, despite its strong historical and modern-day use, there are still many people who will tell you that “herbs don’t work”. Scrolling through social media, it’s not uncommon to see people mistakenly post about the lack of scientific evidence for herbs.
The reality is there is a ton of scientific research on herbal medicines.
Today I want to look at a favorite herb of many, the delightful and enticing, rosemary!
Rosemary is well known for many medicinal benefits, including better cognition (for healthy adults as well as for people with Alzheimer’s.) (You can read more about this in my book, Alchemy of Herbs.)
It also regularly grabs headlines for its high antioxidant content and ability to modulate inflammation.
Here’s a couple of highlights for rosemary research that’s been conducted just within the last two years.
Rosemary Benefits for People With Type 2 Diabetes
In 2019 a human clinical trial showed that people with type 2 diabetes who took rosemary tea daily had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity as well as cholesterol levels. The researchers concluded, “…the Rosemary plant constitutes a promising treatment for drug-resistant T2D patients.”1
Rosemary Benefits for the Immune System
A 2020 investigative study on rosemary showed that a number of studies have found a stimulatory effect of rosemary and its active compounds on the immune system in vitro and it called for human clinical trials to be done.2
There’s so much to love about rosemary!
Rosemary’s aromatic scent and evocative flavor makes it easy to love. It’s a classic flavor for potatoes and breads as well as meats and veggies. Rosemary tea is delicious (and too often overlooked.) And the essential oil is used widely in cosmetics and even in foods.
Admittedly, I read a lot of scientific literature regarding plant medicines but, by far, my favorite way to enjoy herbs is to invite them into my life!
You can read about rosemary all day long but you’ll gain so much more when you work closely with the actual plant.
To inspire you to welcome some more rosemary into your life I have a brand new recipe for you.
Let me just back up and share a bit about how this recipe came to be.
I’ve been reading a lot of Scottish historical fiction novels lately (one of my favorite genres). Descriptions of foods within the books often have me craving ale, cheeses and breads.
Bannock is a non-yeast dense bread (traditionally unleavened) that was first written about in the 8th century and it is commonly mentioned in historical novels. It was often eaten during the changing of the seasons (like Imbolc in early February).
So, one day after reading about bannock once again, I was inspired to find a traditional bannock recipe and went searching online. I quickly saw there was A LOT of information about bannock, ranging from Scotland to the First Nations in North America.
I found all sorts of recipes but nothing I wanted to make exactly. So I came up with the following, which is by no means traditional, but it is super simple to make and is delicious! And, of course, I couldn’t help adding herbs!
If you want to know more about bannock there is lots of information out there. I’m going to cut to the chase (finally) and simply share the recipe.
Rosemary Bannock Recipe
This hearty bread takes minutes to prepare, cooks up fast, and is delicious plain or with a dollup of your favorite jam or preserves.
Bannock was traditionally made with many types of flours depending on the season and availability. My version uses our local emmer flour from Bluebird Grain Farms as well as oat flour. You could simplify this recipe by simply using one flour of your choice. You can substitute a gluten free baking flour and gluten free oats if desired.
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients for Rosemary Bannock Recipe
- 1/2 cup emmer flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup oat bran
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary, lightly ground (not powdered) or 1.5 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced.
- 6 Tablespoons cold butter, grated
- 1/2 cup buttermilk + 1 Tablespoon
Directions for Rosemary Bannock Recipe
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and lightly flour an 8” cast iron pan.
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Add the grated butter (I use a cheese grater) and mix it into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or large fork. (You can also cut the butter into small cubes, but I find grating it to be a lot easier.)
- Add the 1/2 cup buttermilk and mix until just combined.
- Form the dough into a ball. Place the ball on the greased cast iron and press it out until it snugly fits. If you don’t have an 8” cast iron you can roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll into a circle about 1/3 of an inch thick and bake it in your desired pan.
- Brush the top with the 1 tablespoon of buttermilk.
- Bake about 25 minutes or until it is cooked through. If desired you can finish it by broiling for a few minutes to get a golden brown crust on top.
Citations for Rosemary Bannock Recipe