Sprinkle rosemary extracts on your burger, and it can break up cancer-causing compounds that can form when the meat is cooked, especially when grilled.
Rosemary, a member of the mint family, appears to be a cancer-prevention agent, according to researchers from Kansas State University. Carcinogenic compounds known as HCAs (heterocyclic amines) form when meat is grilled. The KSU team, led by food science professor J. Scott Smith, discovered that rosemary extracts can stop HCAs cold in cooked beef patties, with a success rate that ranges from 30 percent to 100 percent. "Put a little bit on the surface," Smith advises backyard chefs. "Rosemary extracts shouldn't have much of an aroma to them. Most people don't want a rosemary-flavored burger. So if you get the extract, you don't really know it's there."
The presence of HCAs is a potential problem in cooked beef. The likelihood of their presence is influenced by cooking time and temperature. Previous studies have shown that meat products cooked below 352 degrees Fahrenheit for less than four minutes had low or undetectable levels of HCAs. The HCAs increase as temperature and cooking time increase. Although lower temperatures and shorter cooking times can reduce the risk of HCA formation, those alternatives have their own problems, including an adverse effect on taste and potentially dangerous issues with bacteria. So instead of lowering the cooking temperature, use rosemary extracts.
How does it work? Rosemary's antioxidant content--a group of phenolic compounds that includes rosmarinic acid, carnosol and carnosic acid--block the HCAs before they can form during heating.
Rosemary isn't the only spice that can reduce HCAs. Other herbs and spices that work this culinary magic for your good health are basil, mint, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano and thyme, all of which are rich in antioxidants. Marinating with any of these store shelf spices adds a healthy boost to grilling steaks, just as rubbing rosemary extracts onto burger patties is beneficial. "The industry is moving toward an extract that you can rub onto the surface, or a rub that you can mix into the powder to get better flavor to the hamburger," Smith said.
And that may not be all. Antioxidants can have other benefits besides curtailing HCAs. "There is some indication that they protect the pancreas," he explained. "If you can get that from burgers, then that's great."
--From the Editors at Netscape
Rosemary Leaf 4:1 Powdered Extract (Rosmarinus officinalis) 1 kg (2.2 lbs): Q
Sweet-smelling Rosemary is a traditional meat preservative. As Rosemary doesn't lose its flavor by long cooking, it is popular in meat dishes, soups, stews, souffles and breads.
Rosemary is used in the French herbes de Provençe and bouquet garni, and to flavor vinegar.
It is, however, quite strong, and must not be overused.
Rosemary’s traditional role in herbal medicine is confirmed by modern research. Eucalyptol (cineole) is a potent antibacterial that relaxes the lung's smooth muscles. Carnosol inhibits cancer formation.
Rosmarinic acid is only one of Rosemary's many proven antioxidants. This, of course, explains its traditional role in meat and food preservation.
'Antioxidant' also helps to explain Rosemary's traditional use for headache and depression. Rosemary's memory enhancing properties have long been appreciated. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine, an important element of memory, seems to be protected from breakdown by Rosemary.
The 1997 Commission E on Phytotherapy and Herbal Substances of the German Federal Institute for Drugs recommends Rosemary leaf for 'Internal: Dyspeptic complaints. External: Supportive therapy for rheumatic diseases, circulatory problems.'
'Daily dosage: 4 - 6 g of herb; 10 - 20 drops of essential oil;* equivalent preparations. External: 50 g of herb for one full bath; 6 - 10 percent essential oil in semi-solid and liquid preparations; equivalent preparations. Mode of Administration: Cut drug for infusions, powder, dry extracts and other galenical preparations for internal and external use.
'Actions: Experimental: Antispasmodic on gall passages and small intestines; Positive inotropic;
Increases flow through the coronary artery. In humans: Skin irritating; Stimulates increased blood supply (external use).'
*One must be careful in using essential oils – they are so concentrated that they are easy to overuse to unsafe levels.
Animal tests have demonstrated Rosemary’s ability to control spasms in the gallbladder and upper intestine, improve the flow of blood to the heart, and strengthen the action of the heart muscle. This has a toning and calming effect on the digestion, especially where psychological tension is present.
Grieve's classic 'A Modern Herbal': 'Tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, stimulant. Oil of Rosemary has the carminative properties of other volatile oils and is an excellent stomachic and nervine, curing many cases of headache.'
'It is employed principally, externally, as spiritus Rosmarini, in hair-lotions, for its odour and effect in stimulating the hair-bulbs to renewed activity and preventing premature baldness.'
'An infusion of the dried plant (both leaves and flowers) combined with borax and used when cold, makes one of the best hairwashes known. It forms an effectual remedy for the prevention of scurf and dandruff.'
'The oil is also used externally as a rubefacient and is added to liniments as a fragrant stimulant. Hungary water, for outward application to renovate the vitality of paralysed limbs, was first invented for a Queen of Hungary, who was said to have been completely cured by its continued use. It was prepared by putting 1½ lb. of fresh Rosemary tops in full flower into 1 gallon of spirits of wine, this was allowed to stand for four days and then distilled. Hungary water was also considered very efficacious against gout in the hands and feet, being rubbed into them vigorously.'
'Rosemary Wine when taken in small quantities acts as a quieting cordial to a weak heart subject to palpitation, and relieves accompanying dropsy by stimulating the kidneys. It is made by chopping up sprigs of green Rosemary and pouring on them white wine, which is strained off after a few days and is then ready for use. By stimulating the brain and nervous system, it is a good remedy for headaches caused by feeble circulation.'
'The young tops, leaves and flowers can be made into an infusion, called Rosemary Tea, which, taken warm, is a good remedy for removing headache, colic, colds and nervous diseases, care being taken to prevent the escape of steam during its preparation. It will relieve nervous depression. A conserve, made by beating up the freshly gathered tops with three times their weight of sugar, is said to have the same effect.'
'A spirit of Rosemary may be used, in doses of 30 drops in water or on sugar, as an antispasmodic.'
'Rosemary and Coltsfoot leaves are considered good when rubbed together and smoked for asthma and other affections of the throat and lungs.'
'Rosemary is also one of the ingredients used in the preparation of Eau-de-Cologne.'
'Preparations: Oil, ½ to 3 drops. Spirit, B.P., 5 to 20 drops.'
King's 1898 Dispensatory: 'Rosemary is stimulant, antispasmodic, and emmenagogue; seldom used in this country, except as a perfume for ointments, liniments, embrocations, etc. The oil is principally employed. Dose, internally, from 3 to 6 drops.'
3 minutes of aromatherapy to 40 adults decreased frontal alpha and beta power, suggesting increased alertness. They also had lower anxiety scores, and were faster, but not more accurate, at completing math computations Diego 1998
Rubbing oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood) into the scalp helped with alopecia for 44% of patients vs. 15% of controls in a 7 month, double blind study of 86 patients Hay 1998
Lowering of plasma levels of dienic conjugates and ketones, and activation of catalase in red cells characteristic of antioxidant effect were observed in exposure of 150 bronchitis patients to essential oils of rosemary, basil, fir, eucalyptus Siurin 1997