Mercy Internist Dr. Dana Simpler Discusses Whether Herb, Rosemary, Can Aid in Longevity

April 1, 2016

Researchers from University of California, San Diego, and the University of Rome La Sapienza are working together to solve a mystery: why are residents of a remote Italian village living for so long? Could it have something to do with the amount of the herb, rosemary, in their diets?  The people of the town of Acciaroli, which sits on the coast in Italy’s Campania region, have been found to have low rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, contributing to a higher-than-average life expectancy. Mercy internist Dr. Dana Simpler, who has a special interest in diet and fitness issues, offers insights:

The challenge is in trying to attribute longevity and good health to a single factor, in this case, rosemary. I would assume that if one analyzes the diet of this remote village, one would find the inhabitants eat lots of vegetables, have close supportive social networks, and  likely get a higher than average amount of physical exericise. 

Many spices have been shown to  be good for health, but, the danger to this kind of article is giving a false sense of health safety, i.e. "If I add rosemary to my fried chicken, I will be okay."

The more accurate way to report on this is to look at The Blue Zones, areas around the world that have longevity. The basic common factors are a plant based diet, exercise, and good social supports.

--Dr. Dana Simpler, Mercy Medical Center

Dr. Simpler is board certified in internal medicine. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1984, Dr. Simpler earned her master's in physiology from Georgetown University and her bachelor of science in microbiology from the University of Maryland.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

News and Events