Rosemary is a common herb we all use in our meals, but according to recent studies, it also offers a variety of health benefits. Scientists have suddenly investigated the effects of the herb on our brain and concluded that only a whiff of rosemary can boost our memory by 75%!
Rosemary has been used as a memory booster for centuries. The ancient Greeks wore the herb in their hair while studying for exams, as they knew about its positive effects on our memory. The herb has also been mentioned in Shakespeare’s drama “Hamlet”, and now even science has confirmed its memory-boosting properties.
In 2003, a study conducted at the University of Northumbria showed that a whiff of rosemary can improve our memory and secondary memory factors as well. The study involved 66 participants who were closely observed while performing subtraction exercises and processing visual information.
The mood of the subjects was evaluated before and after the exposure to rosemary, and the results were incredible. The people exposed to rosemary scent had much better memory than the others, and were able to complete their tasks faster. Furthermore, the blood of these people contained a higher amount of 1.8-cineole, an active compound found in the herb. The higher the amount of the compound was, the better the participants performed.
The study was conducted by a team led by Dr. Mark Moss, who says that rosemary acts as a therapeutic drug. The compounds rosemary contains affect the olfactory nerve in the nose which has a positive effect on our brain.
The herb contains rosmarinic and carnosic acid, compounds which can fight free radicals in the body and prevent neurodegeneration of the hippocampus cells, while also preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells. According to Dr. Moss, although the study was done on a pretty small scale, rosemary could indeed become a therapeutic drug for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the future.
Jenna McCready, one of the co-authors, said: “We gave the subjects tasks deliberately, so those who need to multitask will certainly enjoy the benefits of rosemary’s aroma. There was no link between the subjects’ memory and mood, which shows that the performance of the brain is surely not affected.”
Dr. Moss is optimistic by the results, and recommends the herb as a natural memory booster. “Right now, we’re focused on prospective memory, which is essentially remembering things that should occur in the near future and remembering to complete time-sensitive tasks,” he said. This is vital for everyday functioning, and will help people not forget about important events in their life.
Dr. Alan Hirsh, director of the Smell And Taste Center from Chicago was also part of the study and agrees with Dr. Moss’ views. He claims that science must put effort to study the effects of rosemary on our memory and brain, as it works far better than most drugs.
How to use rosemary to boost your memory
If you’re studying hard for an exam and you need a memory booster, you can either sniff a fresh rosemary sprig or put a couple drops of rosemary oil in your diffuser and set it on. Rosemary is pretty easy to grow and maintain, so you may want to plant one in your home – it will certainly do your memory good.