"There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray you, love, remember." - Ophelia, from Shakepeare's "Hamlet."
Better memory recall could be just a few sniffs away.
A British study found that research participants in a rosemary-scented room performed 60 to 75 percent better on memory-focused tasks, as well as on performing simple arithmetic when compared to the control group. They only had to be in the room for 5 minutes to achieve these results.
The study, conducted by psychologists at Northumbria University in Newcastle, involved 66 people. Some were exposed to a rosemary-scented room, in which four drops of essential oil had been placed on an aroma stream diffuser and switched on for five minutes before the participants entered the room. Another group worked in an unscented room.
Participants' blood levels of 1,8-cineole - the constituent of rosemary that is linked to improving memory function - and found that those exposed to the rosemary scented rooms had higher levels in their bloodstream via inhalation, which means that you only need to sniff to elevate your memory.
The research team concluded that rosemary could help treat memory impairments, especially in older adults experiencing some decline. Rosemary seems to be particularly helpful in promoting “prospective memory” – helping people to remember future events such as appointments or medication schedules.
The positive effects of rosemary on memory is so profound, that one of the researchers likened it to the effect of a drug. (Except with the myriad side effects, we might note).
What else does rosemary do?
- Fights pathogens
- Supports healthy digestion
- Supports healthy respiratory function
- High in antioxidants (3,300 ORAC, the same free radical fighting power of goji berries)
- Helps reduce nervous tension and occasional fatigue (due to its high levels of carnosic acid, which fights oxidative stress in the brain)
- Promotes hair growth
- Promotes liver detoxification
Using rosemary as a memory aid is nothing new, as Ophelia's quote above and history shows. Records from antiquity reveal that the ancient Greeks treasured its memory-enhancing properties, since scholarly custom was to wear strands of rosemary while taking exams.
So, write it down before you forget: grab your bottle of rosemary essential oil (or buy one) and tackle our modern era's memory-dulling effects!