Rosemary, a fragrant herb used in cooking and natural remedies, can boost the performance of your brain according to a new study.
Rosemary boost brain power
The herb is already hailed for its ability to ease an itchy scalp and soothe muscles, and when steamed people can say it can treat bronchitis and other forms of congestion.
Now, researchers from Northumbria University have noted a link between rosemary aroma and increased cognitive function, as well as the surprising appearance of a component of rosemary oil in the bloodstream.
Scientists exposed 20 subjects to varying levels of the aroma, who were then given a range of cognitive tests and mood assessments.
Their results, published in International Journal of Neuroscience, showed that the cognitive performance of the subjects increased when exposed to higher levels of the smell, as well as a corresponding mood increase.
More surprisingly, the blood test results of the subject showed absorption of 1,8-coneole into the bloodstream. This compound is present in rosemary but has not previously been demonstrated to be absorbed into blood plasma in humans.
Dr. Mark Moss, who devised and wrote the study, said: “We were not surprised by the improvement in cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary aroma as this has been demonstrated previously.”
“What excited us was the demonstration that performance was linked to plasma levels of 1,8-cineole following exposure.”
"It is our view that the aroma therefore acts like a therapeutic drug, rather than any effects being a result of the more sensory properties of the aroma.”
The study leads to new ideas about how rosemary aroma can be used therapeutically. An upcoming study with rosemary will aim to determine whether 1,8-cineole, when ingested orally, can survive the rigors of the gastrointestinal system to be similarly absorbed into the bloodstream.
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