A lot of people make a huge effort to help themselves remember important tasks or information. Some of them use calendars and perform memory-training drills, others create to-do lists, while there are even those who take memory-enhancing drugs.
Although we can rely on the many technology tools, most of them will actually not help us to remember things better. In fact, advanced technology makes it easier to forget since it stores the information for us in place of our brain.
However, luckily for us, there is a fantastic natural solution for this problem.
Rosemary for Remembrance
For thousands of years, rosemary has been used to improve long-term memory and increase alertness. In fact, there is a wealth of evidence which suggests that rosemary has been used in the Universities of Ancient Greece. Even the
In 2003, the Researchers at Northumbria University (Newcastle) have found that smelling rosemary is associated with “an enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors”.
Moreover, in 2012, the researchers finally managed to scientifically explain the powerful cognitive-boosting abilities of rosemary. Here is a short description of the study…
There were 66 participants in the study who were randomly allocated to either rosemary-scented room or the scent-free room. The participants had performed subtraction exercises, visual information processing tests as well as other tasks. Their mood was also taken into consideration before and after their exposure to the scent of rosemary. In addition to this, blood samples were drawn from each subject.
The results showed that participants in the rosemary-scented room performed 60-75% better in completing the tasks and tests as well as remembering things faster than the ones in the scent-free room.
Traces of Rosemary Compound Found In Blood
The scientists have discovered that the participants who were in the rosemary-scented room had detectable levels of 1,8-cineole (an active compound found in rosemary). Their results have shown that the participants with higher levels of 1,8-cineole in their bloodstream had achieved better results.
“This compound is present in rosemary but has not previously been demonstrated to be absorbed into blood plasma in humans,” researcher Dr. Mark Moss told MSNBC. “It is our view that the aroma therefore, acts like a therapeutic drug, rather than any effects being a result of the more sensory properties of the aroma.”
“We deliberately set them a lot of tasks, so it’s possible that people who multi-task could function better after sniffing rosemary oil”, stated researcher Jemma McCready. “There was no link between the participants’ mood and memory. This suggests performance is not influenced as a consequence of changes in alertness or arousal.”
In addition to this, it was also discovered that rosemary’s carnosic and rosmarinic acid can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and inhibit the growth of cancerous cells by fighting free radical damage. Furthermore, rosemary also protects against beta-amyloid-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus.
The Future of Aromatherapy
Researcher Dr. Mark Moss is enthusiastic from the real-life implications of the study: “… we focused on prospective memory, which involves the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to complete tasks at particular times. This is critical for everyday functioning, for example when someone needs to remember to post a birthday card or to take medication at a particular time.”
“Plants are very complex organisms and contain many different active compounds and these vary in concentration from plant to plant and even within the same plant over the course of a day,” he adds. “The accumulation of knowledge regarding possible impacts of plant aromas and extracts could potentially lead to an identification of the best combination to promote specific effects.”
Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the STTRF (Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation) in Chicago, said: “the study opens up the doorway for us to explore other odors and how they affect people”.
How to Use Rosemary
Fill your surroundings with the scent of rosemary in order to improve your memory. You can either keep rosemary plant by your desk in the office and at home or – (a far better solution) you can diffuse a few drops of high-quality organic essential oil using a diffuser.
For an on-the-go solution, mix a drop of rosemary oil in a teaspoon of coconut oil in a small cosmetic tin and carry it wherever you go. Rub just a little bit of it on your wrists in order to keep your brain sharp!