Rosemary is a versatile herb that has been valued and used for centuries. In ancient Greece, it has been used to improve memory, and scientists are now confirming these properties of this amazing herb.
Studies have found that it contains carnosic acid, which fights off free radical damage to the brain, as well as natural acids which protect the body cells and DNA from free radical damage.
Rosemary contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that induces brain cells responsible for memory and reasoning to communicate with one another.
A study that evaluated the effects of rosemary essential oil, divided 66 people into two groups. While some of them were assigned to a room scented with rosemary, the room of the others was not scented, and the results were remarkable.
The participants in the first room had 60 to 75% chances of remembering things, compared to those who were not given rosemary essential oil!
- According to researcher Jemma McCready:
“The difference between the two groups was 60-75 percent, for example, one group would remember to do seven things compared with four tasks completed by those who did not smell the oil, and they were quicker.
We deliberately set them a lot of tasks, so it’s possible that people who multi-task could function better after sniffing rosemary oil.. There was no link between the participants’ mood and memory. This suggests performance is not influenced as a consequence of changes in alertness or arousal.”
Moreover, participants were asked to answer questions about their mood.
What the findings showed was that their performance levels and changes in mood after the exposure to the rosemary aroma were actually a result of the concentrations of a compound known as 1,8-cineole present in their blood.
This compound is present in rosemary essential oil and has been known to act on the biochemical systems that underpin memory. Their blood analysis found greater amounts of 1,8-cineole in the plasma of participants in the rosemary-scented room, suggesting that sniffing the aroma led to higher concentrations.
- Miss McCready concluded:
“These findings may have implications for treating individuals with memory impairments. It supports our previous research indicating that the aroma of rosemary essential oil can enhance cognitive functioning in healthy adults, here extending to the ability to remember events and to complete tasks in the future. Remembering when and where to go and for what reasons underpins everything we do, and we all suffer minor failings that can be frustrating and sometimes dangerous. “
“Further research is needed to investigate if this treatment is useful for older adults who have experienced memory decline.”