Rosemary has long been used by Herbalists to enhance memory and support circulation to the brain. I have often used it to help improve chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches, depression and a symptom people often describe as a ‘fuzzy head’
Recent research carried out by Northumbria University sheds more light on its pharmacological effects on memory.
In a 66 strong study, 50% of participants were allocated to a room infused with rosemary oil and 50% to a room with no scent while tests were carried out to assess prospective memory.
This involves the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to carry out tasks at particular times, which are vital for every day functioning. For example remembering to post a birthday card or take medication.
Those in the rosemary infused room performed better at remembering events and remembering to complete tasks at a particular time. Blood analysis showed significantly higher levels of 1,8-cineole in those exposed to rosemary. A compound that is found in rosemary oil 1,8-cineole has previously been shown to act on biochemical systems involved in memory, suggesting that the effects of rosemary on memory were initiated pharmacologically.
These finding have implications for treating people with memory impairments and further research is indicated into the effect for older adults who experience memory decline.