Research shows rosemary improves cognitive ability
As we near the end of spring, students all over the country are cramming for final exams. What they wouldn’t give to have just a bit more memory power going into those high stakes tests. Actually, who wouldn’t want to boost their mental clarity now and again? From college students to senior citizens, we can all benefit from a greater ability to focus our attention and recall information. Research is now showing that rosemary essential oil can provide some of the powerful brain boosting effects we all want.
A study conducted by Northumbria University with ten and eleven-years-old students showed that children who took a memory test in a room scented with rosemary oil scored up to 7% higher than those who took the same test in an unscented room.1 In a related study, adults who waited in a rosemary scented room and were then asked to complete some previously assigned tasks were found to experience a 60% to 75% increase in prospective memory. That’s our ability to remember to do things in the future. How many times have we forgotten to pick something up on the way home from work or mail a friend’s birthday card on time? Rosemary oil can help us keep our future To Do List in mind. Test participants were also found to have higher levels of 1,8-cineole in their blood, a compound in rosemary oil shown to improve brain function.2 These results support similar tests with adults that suggest rosemary oil does indeed improve cognitive function.
“It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when adults are exposed.” – Dr. Mark Moss, Lead Researcher
This data helps confirm the long-standing belief that rosemary improves memory. In fact, Ancient Greek students wore necklaces made of rosemary during their exams. Even Shakespeare alludes to the cognitive power of rosemary when in Hamlet, the character of Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance: pray you love, remember.”
In explaining the rosemary memory connection, Dr. Mark Moss, lead researcher of the Northumbria study stated, “It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when adults are exposed.”
To take advantage of rosemary’s memory boosting power, you can use a diffuser to cast its scent throughout the room where you’re studying or working. You can also rub a small amount on your neck or under your nose to get a more consistent and powerful effect. Be careful. Essential oils are quite strong, and a little goes a long way when applying them to the body. As with any essential oil, always look for brands that contain 100% of the oil you’re seeking and aren’t diluted with other oils like jojoba.
Please continue reading to learn how to harness the power of nature to moisturize and protect your skin.
Light & Love in the Month Ahead,
Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami