Rosmarinus officinalis

by Al Pastor

The large, spiky, ungainly bush oversees a local first tee. Drought be damned, the plant grows lustrously throughout Central Texas. Its resin is useful for many things, brushing teeth and shampooing hair. Good for freshening breath, it’s said, soothing sores, darkening and enriching hair color.

The ancient Egyptians believed it revitalized hair. So does a friend now happily back from chemo land, bolstered by compliments from no less than a movie stylist. His teenage daughter now uses it. At least one reference mentions the versatile herb as a centuries-old baldness cure. Likely as not, it’s ignored in your yard with a jar on the spice rack. Any guesses?

A conceivable tonic of confidence for those folliclly –challenged, this herb’s purported healthful qualities include some very desirable athletic traits, among them: improved memory, relief from headaches, alleviation of stomach pains, colds and sore throats.


Most golfers walk right by en route to the drama of the first tee. I won’t pass without grabbing a sprig, and sniffing its complex aroma. Perhaps it’s all in the mind, a dose of psychosomatic golf medicine, or a little natural performance enhancement.

From The Little Herb Encyclopedia (Woodland Health Books, 1995): “In the Middle Ages, in Europe, rosemary was used to clear vision, to sharpen the senses, to help weak memory and to alleviate nervous ailments.” As this touches on just a short list of personal golfing infirmities, don’t be surprised if your next visit to the big box golf retailer features a prominent display of Dr. Shag boy’s Magical Sweet Swing, Green Jacket Elixir (Patent Pending).

From Practical Aromatherapy (Parragon Book Service, 1997): “Add it to the bath as a pick-me-up for mental and physical tiredness …”

From Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists (Parker Publishing, 1987): “Prepared as a tea, it reputedly soothes the nerves and relieves nervous insomnia, mental fatigue, and simple or congestive headaches. One heaping teaspoonful of the cut leaves is placed in a cup, and boiling water is added. The infusion is covered with a saucer, allowed to stand for five minutes, and then strained.”

Chroniclers of legendary sporting yore typically described the clarity of intense concentration as “the look of a champion.” Mexican immortal Lorena Ochoa had that look in spades. She walked briskly past me (in the middle of her final round). In her wake a vapor trail infused and excited the gallery. With it was a sense of absolute certainty that she would win, which at the Canadian Open that week, she did. Eldrick Woods also exuded it for a time.

You might look for a little sprig the next time you feel the spirits flag.

[A disclaimer: your correspondent is not a doctor, nor does he play one on the radio. Herbal references note that rosemary oils should not be used by pregnant women and epileptics. Anecdotal evidence additionally suggests bees are attracted to the concoction of oil and rosemary, so it’s best left off the dome before heading to the course.] -0-