Rosemary is safe in amounts that are usually found in food or drinks. It may be unsafe to take rosemary in larger amounts (by mouth or for use on the skin). Taking large amounts of rosemary by mouth may cause stomach irritation, kidney damage, muscle spasms, vomiting, uterine bleeding, fluid in the lungs, coma, or death. It is not safe to take undiluted rosemary oil (i.e. pure oil with nothing added to it). Undiluted rosemary oil can irritate the stomach, damage the kidneys, or cause seizures.
Side effects of rosemary applied to the skin include increased sensitivity to light (i.e., skin may burn easier), skin redness, dermatitisdermatitisinflamed skin or skin rash (irritation and inflammation of the skin), or asthma (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing). Stop using rosemary if you notice these side effects.
Rosemary may change your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes or are taking diabetic medications, you should talk to your doctor before using it. You might need to monitor your blood sugar more frequently.
Rosemary may increase your risk of bleeding. You should use it with care if you have a bleeding disorder or taking medications that can increase this risk.
Before using rosemary, talk to your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- acute inflammation
- high blood pressure
- iron deficiency
- open cuts or skin lesions
- severe circulatory disorders (i.e., problems with blood flow)
Consult your health care provider if your symptoms continue or worsen.
Avoid using oral rosemary or essential oilessential oilan agent extracted from plant parts and used in perfumes, cosmetics, incenses, and medications of rosemary while pregnant or breast-feeding. For topical use while pregnant or breast-feeding, consult your health care provider first.
Rosemary may interact with the following medications:
- anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin, heparin)
- antiplatelets (e.g. clopidogrel)
- ASA (Aspirin®) and other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
- blood pressure medications
- diabetic medications
- ginkgo biloba
- saw palmetto
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.