Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil is extracted from the leaves of the Rosemary bush (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary is a woody, evergreen plant with fragrant needle-like leaves. Whole rosemary leaves and Rosemary Essential Oil are widely used for culinary and Naturopathic applications.

Because of its antibacterial properties, Rosemary Essential Oil is often incorporated into topical Naturopathic acne treatments. Laboratory testing indicates that Rosemary Essential Oil is toxic to many types of bacteria, including acne-causing P. acnes bacteria. Rosemary Essential Oil has been shown to more effective at killing gram-positive bacteria (eg. P. acnes) than many other popular essential oils.

Rosemary Essential Oil is also purported to have anti-inflammatory properties, to reduce oily skin and to improve skin tone.  All of these effects would be helpful to most acne sufferers, but unfortunately there is little clinical research to support these specific claims.

Rosemary Essential Oil contains a number of phytochemicals that are known to have biological activity. Rosemary Essential Oil contains significant concentrations of 1,8-cineole (Eucalyptol), alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Camphor, Camphene and Borneol. Several of these compounds have been shown to have antibacterial properties that can help reduce the growth of acne-causing bacteria. For some users, concentrated Rosemary Essential Oil can be irritating to the skin. Therefore, diluted Rosemary Essential Oil is generally used for Naturopathic skin care applications.


Investigation of antibacterial activity of rosemary essential oil against Propionibacterium acnes with atomic force microscopy. Fu, et al. 2007.
Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Rosemary. Jiang, et al. 2011.
Chemical composition, plant genetic differences, antimicrobial and antifungal activity investigation of the essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L. Angioni, et al. 2004.
Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil obtained via supercritical fluid extraction. Santoyo, et al. 2005.