In this study, Dr. Mark Moss, head of the department of psychology at the University of Northumbria, and a team of colleagues gathered 150 people over the age of 65, and randomly assigned them to sit in 1 of 3 rooms – 1 of these was scented with rosemary, another with lavender and one was unscented.
In the three rooms, the elderly participants took tests which were designed to test their memory functions. These tests included remembering to pass along a message at a specific time during the experiment and to change tasks when a certain event occurred.
Upon analyzing the results, Dr. Moss and his colleagues concluded that those who were in the rosemary room performed a lot better than those in the other two rooms. In fact, it was found that short-term memory retention increased by about 15% among those who were placed in the rosemary-scented room. 15% may not seem like that much, but researchers claim that this increase is enough to remember better small tasks that can make a huge difference, such as remembering to take medication.
Dr. Moss declared 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.” One of these compounds is known as 1,8-cineole – as well as smelling wonderful, it may also act in the same way as the licensed drugs used to treat dementia.
The implications of this research are huge, but it doesn’t mean that you have to spend your days smelling rosemary or your nights sleeping on a pillow of rosemary. The effects of rosemary on memory were measurable and this gives us a clue that more research could yield therapeutics and contribute greatly to our understanding of brain and memory function.
For more information on this, please watch the short video below:
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