Henry Cavill’s gruelling, protein-fuelled workouts for Superman and Netflix’s The Witcher are the subject of constant online discussion. But the actor’s daily ritual of drinking rosemary water is less known. So addicted is he that he’s become a shareholder in No 1 Rosemary Water, the first company to produce the drink (a mix of water and two per cent herb extract) commercially.
“Basically, I was keen to start my own water brand. I’d even got to the point where I’d researched a natural spring,” says Cavill from a penthouse suite of a Soho hotel. “I wanted it to be environmentally responsible and ethical. But then I got hooked on rosemary water, so I approached David and Bonita [Spencer-Percival, the brand’s founders, who join us at the meeting] and said if they were looking for someone to help then I would gladly do it.”
Cavill believes the drink makes him feel sharper. “I’m definitely not the slowest person on the planet, but I did notice a mental acuity,” he says. “When you’re working 16 to 17 hours a day, you are exhausted. You are doing that six days a week for seven months and you start to get brain-tired. Fortunately, for The Witcher I had two hours in the chair for hair and make-up in the morning, so getting the water into my system had an amazing effect – far more than if I’d had, say, four cups of coffee.”
The science to back this up is sparse; one published clinical trial at Northumbria University in 2018 concluded that the brand’s rosemary water improved memory by up to 15 per cent. But the Spencer-Percivals are convincing enough that you find yourself making a mental note to eat more rosemary as they recount the story that inspired the brand: the small Italian port of Acciaroli, south of Naples, which was found to have a disproportionate number of centenarians (more than 1 in 10 of a population of 700) – their long life attributed largely to their consumption of local rosemary. The couple read an article about it, made the trip, found nobody had thought of making a commercial drink and founded the company in 2017.
The ethical side of the business stacks up satisfactorily – they’ve ensured it’s sugar-free, plastic-free and, when my sample arrives at the office in a smart white bottle, it’s delivered in a seeded bag which reads: “When this ends up in landfill the seeds produce a wildflower meadow.” Tick, tick, tick.
Did I feel younger, fitter and sharper after drinking it? Not after one bottle. But I liked the taste and plan to drink more. I feel like a clapped-out pigeon, but my superpowers might kick in at some point…