Rosemary has given us many things over the years, from its appealing colorful flowers to the aromatic smells and flavors that enhance so many recipes. However, studies now indicate that the importance of rosemary may go well beyond what we already knew about this common herb.
Scientists who have studied the herb indicate that it can also help enhance a healthier mental state and increase memory up to an impressive 75% – and who couldn’t benefit from a boost to their memory?
Boosting Your Memory By Sniffing Rosemary
With all the work in labs in creating and developing treatments, a pill or injection would be the first thing many people might think of when they hear of a new treatment for something like enhancing memory. That’s not the case here, though.
Fortunately, what has been discovered is that a herb that has grown both naturally and in cultivation for years could be the key to increasing mental health and memory. And you don’t even need to cook or eat it. Just breathe.
Rosemary, as it turns out, is far more beneficial than most people have considered. For example, using it in aromatherapy is an easy way to get a dose of memory boost, without going through an invasive medicine or treatment. And, this theory is backed by science.
Your sense of smell has direct ties to your brain, as they depend on each other for the perception of reality. And, scientists were intrigued.
Memory Is Linked To The Sense of Smell
Most of us have had their sense of smell trigger a memory from our past. For me, when I walk past a tobacco shop, I instantly feel a sense of warmth as it reminds me of my grandfather and his pipe. Others might be reminded of someone, or a memorable time in their life, when the aroma of a familiar food, perfume, or even an unidentifiable scent drifts by them.
However, the link between memory and smell runs even deeper, according to scientific studies. Scientists have gone well beyond recollecting memories to observe the chemical interactions that bind smell and cognitive function.These studies have discovered a definitive connection, and have shown that the scent of rosemary is able to boost your memory. In fact, it can increase memory function by up to an incredible 75%.
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The Scientific Studies
In 1987 the journal Planta Medica published the first study discussed here on the impact of rosemary on mice. This study was carried out by four scientists, and found that levels of the 1,8-cineole found in blood, and locomotion capabilities, were both elevated after the mice inhaled rosemary oil. Cineole is also known as eucalyptol, which is the compound making up most eucalyptus oils.
Next came a study performed in 1998, conducted by the International Journal of Neuroscience. In this study, nine researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine applied their curiosity to humans, rather than rats. They exposed 40 adults to several minutes of aromatherapy, some receiving rosemary, while the others received lavender, all while they worked on math equations.
They discovered that those who received the lavender therapy were relaxed, but drowsy. And even though they did better with the math problems with the therapy, those with the rosemary therapy performed markedly better. They were far more alert and less anxious, as well as finished solving the problems much quicker.
But, are scientists ever content? Thankfully, no. The International Journal of Neuroscience was soon at it again, and published the results of their next study in January of 2003. This time they increased the number of participants to 144, and divided them into 3 groups:
- Group 1 – received nothing
- Group 2 – received lavender
- Group 3 – received rosemary
The participants were not told what the precise purpose of this particular study was about, out of concern about jeopardizing the placebo effect. A total of six varied aspects of mental function were assessed through a Cognitive Drug Research. The group that was breathing in the rosemary experienced a big boost in memory performance over both the other groups.
In a more recent paper by The National Center for Biotechnology, a study by Lorraine Oliver and Mark Ross was performed in 2012. The objective was to see if eucalyptol, which has been medicinally utilized through ingestion for years, increased cognitive abilities for daily tasks as a result of 1,8-cineole being absorbed.
The results showed that inhaled rosemary could indeed positively alter cognitive tasks. But with science, the research will always continue.
However, enough studies have been done to show that it’s likely that rosemary can significantly improve a person’s memory and cognitive skills. Even so, unless you have an allergy to it, trying an all natural herb to enhance memory certainly can’t hurt.
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Thank you for this article K J! Now I know why I’ve felt more alert at times. I had been working around the Rosemary:-)
I have found that sniffing rosemary oil can stop a “sneezing fit” .Sometimes I start sneezing and can’t stop. Rosemary seems to break it up !
Does this mean smelling fresh cut rosemary or will the essence oil in a vaporizer work… It both.
This article left out an all important part: How to apply the rosemary. In what form is the rosemary presented to the subject and how long was the subject exposed to the rosemary. Was it one hour, two, four eight hours; daily, twice weekly. . .?
I’m sorry, but this article falls far short of being helpful.
That was my thoughts exactly. The article really doesn’t do anyone any good unless those questions are answered. Pretty much just wasted my time reading the article without that info.
You’re quite right. Some important details were left out, but I read this with interest because I had no idea that RM can potentially effect the memory in such a positive way. I plan to research this further.
Here’s a link to the 2012 study. It describes details of the testing process and the outcomes. What it doesn’t provide is the decay time after inhalation is stopped and/or if repeated inhalation will produce a long term effect. More studies needed?
Well, the two middle tests say a few minutes of aroma therapy. Not sure what it means to increase my memory 75%.
I remember I used to keep a couple branches of rosemary in my truck so it wouldn’t smell like Bud. This is back in the old days when it was legal to drink and drive in Texas, also the time when road signs out in the country sported a lot of bullet holes, I think the two things were scientifically related.
I remember an old lady I did some work for had landscaped her entire yard with heavily scented plants like rosemary and lavender, creating a garden of aromas instead of colorful blooms, very cool old lady.
Rosemary branches, soaked in water, make great skewers for grilling shrimp.
Rosemary roasted potatoes with Habanero sauce, yummmm…
So far I see no reason to read the Rosemary article since I doubt if I will be able to find her since you forgot to include her last name.
I posted what I thought was an intelligent critique of the study and pointed out what I thought were its shortcomings. However, the posting nazi whoever it is says that I was posting too quickly and I see that my post hasn’t yet made it to this list even thought it is a couple of hours since I posted it. Wonder if this post will make the “too quickly” category?
Think I will consign this list to the spam category.
Sorry about that. WordPress does it to prevent spam.
So what is the time limit that Word Press imposes before one can again re-post? We have been talking about this for some time. At first you claimed that posts weren’t delayed. They are delayed and now this. Not impressed. One of the reasons I subscribe to this list is because you don’t have to have another social media account in order to post to it.
I am not sure about the time limit. It has happened to me a lot of times as well and I usually wait 10 minutes and then I try commenting again.
I have opened a ticket with word press to find out more.
The delay is caused by our firewall. There are a lot of bots that post spam-comments on our pages. We get around 2000 every day. 95% are caught by our firewall but the rest is still posted. I am sure you have noticed these kind of comments. Every morning my wife Sarah looks through comments to delete the spam ones. At the same time she also looks through the 2000 spams to look for comments because as you can imagine it happens the other way around as well.
I know these things can be annoying and I am sorry for that but the internet is full of these kind of bots and if we don’t have a proper filter you would see 200 comments for every article and 180 would be links to phantom pages with no information.
Hopefully after I will talk to someone from WordPress things will improve.
Hope my wife does not see this . She says I suffer for CRS cant remember s–t
Sorry that is a pretty normal symptom in a lot of
Gonna try placing a couple cuttings in the truck and see if I start remembering things. If I don’t forget.
When sauteing onions everyone in the house is happy happy and content.I don’t if it’s the smell,or if they are hungry.
I wonder if this would forestall dementia? If it has any positive effect I believe it is worth trying. It is not like you can’t find Rosemary in your local nursery or grocery store. Enjoyed the article and I intend to look into this further.
I don’t know if this is the same study. But I read a study done in a nursing home. In the ‘common” area, 9-11am, .04 ml lemon essential oil and .08 ml Rosemary. 7:30 to 11 p.m., .08 ml lavender and .04ml orange oil, 7:30- 11 p.m. . These were run on a diffuser, an air diffuser, no water. It was a Japanese style diffuser. The lavender helped the nursing home inhabitants sleep better. The Rosemary helped them remember things better during the daytime.
“Rosemary for rememberance” is an old, old saying. Looks like our ancestors knew more than we do now!
People tend to forget things and sometimes it is because of the Pharma industry. See it started out as roots and nuts and berries. Then religion took over and told you that you didn’t need that just pray. (Or we will cut your hands off.) is what happened in C. & S. America. Then they found sulfa drugs and what came after. So it became here take this pill. A few years later it has come back full circle to roots, nuts, and berries again.