Rosemary essential oil boosts memory in healthy adults, according to a study from British researchers.
Rosemary boosts memory
The herb rosemary has long been associated with memory improvement, and has been used as a symbol for remembrance during weddings, war commemorations and funerals.
Last year, a study showed that rosemary chemical boosts brain power by being absorbed into the bloodstream.
To look further at the potential relationship between rosemary and memory, scientists from the University of Northumbria divided 66 participants into two groups, which both waited in different rooms. One of the rooms had been scented with rosemary essential oil and the other had no smell at all.
The volunteers then carried out a series of memory tasks. This included hiding objects and finding them at a later stage, and passing an object to a researcher at a specific time.
Study leader Dr Mark Moss said: "We focused on prospective memory, which involves the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to complete tasks at particular times this is critical for everyday functioning."
The researchers found that the participants who waited in the rosemary scented room performed better at the memory tests.
In addition, this group had higher levels of 1, 8-cineole in their blood. This is a compound found in rosemary oil which has been shown to influence chemical systems in the body which impact on memory.
Their improvement was unrelated to mood, suggesting that the rosemary oil provided a chemical influence that boosted their memory.
The researchers will present their findings at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference. They hope that it will improve the lives of people with age-related memory loss.
Co-author Jemma McCready said: "These findings may have implications for treating individuals with memory impairments.
"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.”
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