"A volatile oil distilled from the leaves of Rosmarinus officinalis, Linné (Nat. Ord.—Labiatae). It should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, in a cool place, protected from light"—(U. S. P.).
Source and Description.—Rosmarinus officinalis, Linné, is a shrub growing in the European Mediterranean countries from Greece to Spain. There are two kinds of oil in commerce, the Italian and the French oil. The former is obtained from the Dalmatian Islands in the Adriatic Sea. The French oil has the finer aroma. The yield from Dalmatian leaves is 1.4 to 1.7 per cent, from dry French leaves 2 per cent, from the flowers 1.4 per cent (Schimmel & Co., Reports, October, 1893 and 1897). The commercial oils are often adulterated with oil of turpentine. The U. S. P. gives the following description of oil of rosemary: "A colorless or pale yellow, limpid liquid, having the characteristic, pungent odor of rosemary, and a warm, somewhat camphoraceous taste. Specific gravity, 0.895 to 0.915 at 15° C. (59° F.). Soluble in an equal volume of alcohol, the solution being neutral or very slightly acid to litmus paper; also soluble in an equal volume of glacial acetic acid"—(U. S. P.). Oil of rosemary is optically dextro-rotatory, but is never laevo-rotatory, unless adulterated with oil of French turpentine. The oil requires from 2 to 10 volumes of alcohol of 80 per cent (by volume) for complete solution.
Chemical Composition and Tests.—Pure oil of rosemary contains camphor (Lallemand, 1860); borneol (Bruylants, 1879), about 18 per cent (Gildemeister and Stephan, 1897); cineol (E. Weber, 1887); d- and l-pinene and camphene (Gildemeister and Stephan, 1897). In order to test the oil for adulterations, its optical rotation, especially that of the lowest fraction, which is always dextro-rotatory in pure oil, and its specific gravity and solubility in alcohol render useful aid.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Oil of rosemary is stimulant and rubefacient; it is principally employed, however, in perfumery. It may be used in colic, nervous disorders, debility, painful or tardy menstruation, etc., and locally to painful parts. The dose of oil of rosemary is from 2 to 10 drops.
A very pleasant cologne may be made as follows: Take of oil of rosemary, oil of lemon, each, 2 fluid drachms; oil of lavender, oil of bergamot, of each, 1 fluid drachm; oil of cinnamon, oil of cloves, oil of rose, of each, 8 minims; alcohol, 1 pint. Mix, agitate well, and after allowing the mixture to stand for a few days, with frequent agitation, filter. The following formula has been published by Farina, one of the originators of Cologne: Take of purified benzoin, oil of rosemary, each, by weight, 1/4 ounce; oil of lavender, 1/2 ounce, by weight; strong alcohol, 9 pints. Mix, and agitate thoroughly together, and then add, successively, oil of neroli (petit grains), oil of lemon, each, 1 ounce and 144 minims; oil of sweet orange (Aurantii dulcis), oil of limmetta (lime), oil of bergamot, each, 2 ounces and 228 minims; tincture of rose geranium flowers, a sufficient quantity to impart the desired fragrance. Macerate for several weeks, and then fill into flasks (Amer. Drug. Cir., Vol. VIII, p. 85; Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1864, p. 375). I have reduced the weights and measures in the above (J. King).
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.