Study: Rosemary Oil Could Help Improve Your Memory


rosemary herb

By Julie Fidler | Natural Society

Older adults who suffer from memory loss may be helped by something as simple as sniffing rosemary essential oil, according to researchers at the University of Northumbria. Peppermint may help seniors regain lost memories, too.

Filling a home with these pleasant, natural scents could be life-saving for seniors who sometimes forget to take their medications.

To test the effect of rosemary on memory, Dr. Mark Moss, head of the department of psychology at the University of Northumbria, and a team of colleagues recruited 150 people over 65 years of age, and randomly assigned them to sit in 1 of 3 rooms – 1 that was scented with rosemary, another that was scented with lavender and 1 that was unscented.

Upon entering the rooms, the senior participants took tests intended to assess their prospective memory functions. These tests included time-based and event-based tasks, such as remembering to pass along a message at a certain time during the experiment and to switch tasks when a specific event occurred. Moss and his team assessed the participants’ moods before and after taking the tests in the scented and unscented rooms.

Upon analyzing the results of the tests, the researchers concluded that those seated in the rosemary room performed substantially better than those in the lavender and unscented rooms.

The results also showed that rosemary was associated with significantly increased alertness, while lavender was associated with increased calmness and contentedness.

Moss told The Telegraph that the scientists scientifically proved what many people have known for ages about rosemary and lavender plants.

“I think that received wisdom through the ages is based on naturalistic observations of behavior.

We once had herbalists in every village who would have handed out lavender to sleep or chamomile to calm and their effects would have been documented over centuries and millennia. So I think people in the past did realize that rosemary had an effect on memory.

My working hypothesis is that when you inhale rosemary its compounds are absorbed in the blood through the lungs and then are sent to the brain where they can actually act on your brain chemistry.” [1]

Post-graduate student Lauren Bussey said:

“This is the first time that similar effects have been demonstrated in the healthy over 65’s. Further investigation is required to understand the potential benefits of these aromas throughout the life span.”

Other Research Comes to Similar Conclusions

Previous studies on brain tissue showed that the compounds in rosemary can stimulate activity.

In a separate experiment by the same researchers, 180 individuals were randomly assigned to consume a cup of either peppermint tea, chamomile tea, or plain hot water. The participants were asked to rest for 20 minutes after drinking their assigned beverage and were then asked to complete tests that assessed their memory and various other cognitive functions. Following the tests, the subjects completed another mood questionnaire.

The results showed that peppermint tea improved long-term memory, working memory, and alertness compared to both chamomile tea and hot water. Alternately, chamomile tea was found to significantly slow memory and attention speed, compared to peppermint tea and hot water.

The latter finding is rather unsurprising, given that chamomile tea is often recommended by doctors as a safe, gentle way to relax before going to sleep at night.

Moss said of the findings:

“The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of chamomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use.”

Scientists believe that certain scents affect brain function because scent receptors in the nose send messages to the amygdala – the portion of the brain associated with emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation – as well as the hippocampus, which is then considered to be the brain’s memory center.

The research was presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Nottingham, England.


[1] Health Newsline

About the Author

Julie Fidler has written hundreds of articles on key world topics such as health, drugs, and law. She is also the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. Oh, and she loves to take care of two ridiculously- spoiled cats in her free time.

Read more great articles at Natural Society.

Tags: , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

5 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1.' Trustworthynews says:

    Worlds biggest super fan

  2.' Raghupathi Surpur says:

    Thank you

  3.' Darren Webb says:

    I need this but keep forgetting to buy it…

  4.' Tonda Cooper says:

    My grandma kept peppermint in her purse on a hanky to smell when she had migraines. Her memory was amazing up until her death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend