Medicines in the Garden
Most people know that we can find aspirin-like compounds in willow and that foxglove has an old heart medicine (don't eat it as even when digoxin is in a pill form it is notoriously easy to dose it wrong*). I had not known that metformin, one of the most common diabetes medications, initially came from a flower called the French Lilac (Galega officinalis). I'm sure I will talk about metformin more- it is part of several cancer fighting cocktails- one I have termed the MacGyver cocktail since we are turning a commonly found item into a smartbomb against cancer. But I actually wanted to talk about rosemary.
Rosemary as Medicine
Rosemary was suggested by Rudolf Steiner as a treatment for diabetes which appears to be the first it was ever indicated for this purpose. Anthroposophic (Humanized) medicine has been using rosemary with success ever since. It is well worth sitting in focused observation of the plant, using all of the senses to try to understand what it is by its gesture of growth and its fragrance. It is a powerful fiery formed plant with a wakeful and cleansing fragrance. Rosemary has an incarnating effect on our piloting ability (our "I am") and helps relate this to the life or etheric body. Thus early morning use of rosemary topically is invigorating and refreshing. It has been used in wounds as well as Raynauds and systemic sclerosis to good effect. Rosemary brings the transformative "I am" into the body, resulting in warmth, transformation and consciousness. Diabetes is spiritually an issue with engagement of the piloting ("I am") forces with the life forces in the body. Sugar is not transformed and taken up anymore. It is important to note that Steiner was careful to describe sugar as a shadow of the I activity- this will come up on my article on the Anthroposophic (Humanized) perspective of the ketogenic diet. In diabetes the I needs to re-engage with the life body and this will have metabolic effects. So piloted movement (exercise) is one of the best treatments for diabetes. Rosemary is also thus a natural help for all diabetics and pre-diabetics as it helps strengthen this weak connection.
Carnosic acid and other good things
Now we have several scientific studies showing the effects of rosemary compounds on the metabolism. Carnosic acid is thought to be the main beneficial compound.There are several other ingredients and these have effects on the brain helping with memory and combating dementia, decreasing inflammation, and as a powerful antioxidant. This review shows that metabolic syndrome (closely related to diabetes) is directly countered by rosemary compounds. They help against blood sugar as well as lipid metabolism (cholesterol). Another review showed that rosemary compounds exerted strong influence in every domain of diabetes metabolism. These are the skeletal muscle, the liver, the fat cells, and the uptake of sugars from the intestinal wall.
Bringing it to Humans
Studies have examined doses of 2 to 10 grams of dried rosemary per day and the high dose was about twice as strong in effect as the low dose. It helped to control blood sugar and lowered bad cholesterol (LDL) and increased good cholesterol (HDL). This healing herb is truly sent from above and has a vital role in our current diabetes and obesity epidemic.
*The pharmacist who taught me to dose digoxin in the hospital told me to "use my thumb". If from the doorway my thumb completely covered the patient then they get the low dose. If the patient was bigger than my thumb they should get the high dose! Such is the exactitude of medicine sometimes.