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?
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.
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%.
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:
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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