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February 27, 2021

Rosemary and Cancer Prevention

The plant Rosmarinus Officinalis L., a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, is native to the Mediterranean region and has many culinary and medicinal uses. Rosemary extract has been reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and anticancer properties. Rosemary extract contains many polyphenols with carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid found in highest concentrations. Cancer cells display enhanced growth rates and a resistance to apoptosis. (1) Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Australia. Nutrition, particularly intake of vegetables and certain plant components, has been reported to have a major role in cancer risk reduction. This study aims to review scientific evidence from all studies, published from 1996 to March 2010 that examined the protective effects of rosemary on colorectal cancer and other types of cancer.

Literature evidence from animal and cell culture studies demonstrates the anticancer potential of rosemary extract, carnosol, carnosic acid, ursolic acid, and rosmarinic acid. No evidence for other rosemary constituents was found.

The reported anticancer properties were found to arise through the molecular changes in the multiple-stage process of cancer development, which are dose related and not tissue or species specific. This is evidenced by the ability of rosemary to suppress the development of tumors in several organs including the colon, breast, liver, stomach, as well as melanoma and leukemia cells. (2)







1. Moore, J., Yousef, M., & Tsiani,E. (2016). Anticancer Effects of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) Extract and Rosemary Extract Polyphenols. Nutrients, 8(11), 731. Retrieved from


2. Ngo, S.N., Williams, D.B., & Head, R.J. (2011). Rosemary and cancer prevention: preclinical perspectives. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 51(10), 946-54. Retrieved from



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