When I think of Christmas herbs, rosemary doesn’t usually come to mind. Frankincense and myrrh are known by most people as the rare and expensive herbs brought to the Christ child after his birth.
But, after reading an article about Rosemary and it’s significance at Christmas I was surprised to find that Rosemary, or the rose of the Virgin Mary, had a history in this Christmas story as well. Rosemary was believed to have bloomed out of season on Midnight Christmas Eve. It’s normally white blossoms turned blue, and it’s scent is said to have come from the bedclothes of Jesus, the Christ Child, which Mary had draped over the bush. Joseph would have strewn Rosemary in the bed straw where the baby Jesus lay, keeping insects away.
Known as the herb of “remembrance”, Rosemary was strewn on the floor at Christmas during the Middle Ages. When it was walked on , a pleasant scent was released. More uses for rosemary can be found in centuries old books and include:
- Place the leaves under your bed and you will be delivered of evil dreams
- Place the leaves in a box, smelling often, and your youth will be preserved.
- If you are feeble, boil the leaves in clean water, and wash yourself. You will shine.
Rosemary is an herb that belongs in every garden. It is a woody, perennial herb that can grow as high as 5 feet, so plan your placement in your garden carefully. It’s flowers can be white, pink, or blue, and it grows as a perennial in zones 7 and warmer. It will need to pruned regularly to prevent it from getting lanky. It needs full sun, and cannot tolerate over -watering. If you want to know more about growing Rosemary, Burpee’s has a great article here.
I love the folklore that surrounds herbs and plants. I often reach for my book “China Bayles Book of Days” It is 365 celebrations of the mystery myth, and magic of Herbs. It is written by Susan Wittig Albert, who is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries.
You can get your copy by clicking below. This is a fascinating book with little known information about herbs.
You may also enjoy reading my article on how to grow yarrow and see some great pictures from my visit to Lavender and Rust Herb Farm.
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