Does Rosemary Improve Cognition and Memory?


There are many things you can sniff in this world. You might want to make sure that one of them is fresh rosemary.

Rosemary is a perennial herb which features leaves that look like needles. It will sprout flowers in varying shades of purple, pink, blue, or white in the spring. Even though it originated in the Mediterranean, this hardy plant can grow in colder climates too. 

The benefits of this fragrant herb have been known for centuries. Even Shakespeare talks about using rosemary for “remembrance” in his work Hamlet. The Tudors felt that it could enhance a person’s memory when it was available.

Today’s researchers believe that the essential oils from rosemary plants help with alertness to the extent that it becomes easier to complete complex mathematical problems.

Does rosemary improve cognition and memory? Yes – and by an incredible amount. Being around this herb can promote improvements of 75% or more.

Evidence of Rosemary’s Impact

According to research published by Very Well Mind, a small study of 28 adults found that a low dose of rosemary powder significantly improved memory speeds.

Another area of research looked at how the smell of this verb affects human cognition. Study participants were asked to perform visual processing tasks in an environment that smelled of rosemary. When the owner was significant, the accuracy and speed of the functions improved. The mood of the participants also benefitted from the exposure to this natural product.

A British study looked at 40 school-aged children who were placed in a room with rosemary aroma. Then a control group was put in a room without the odor. The results found that the kids who are exposed to rosemary had higher memory scores then those were not.

Even if you consume the rosemary, you can still receive the benefits. 

Consuming 250ml of rosemary water showed demonstrable improvements in cognitive function for those who drank this beverage compared to those who were only given mineral water.

Why Does Rosemary Create These Benefits?

No one knows why rosemary can create improvements in memory and cognition. There does seem to be a positive impact on the brain because of the antioxidant properties this herb contains. Exposure to it can reduce the damage of free radicals, which offers the potential for more energy.

There is another theory which suggests that the odor of rosemary reduces anxiety levels for some people, which can then create potential improvements in concentration. 

Although there is evidence to suggest that the benefits of rosemary are scientific and well-known for centuries, we still need to have conclusive results from expanded research to document its full potential. Most of the studies which have looked at this herb so far have only been small in scope and size. 

Folk medicine is often based on practical applications, however, and there is no question about the role rosemary played in the past. That information could help lead us toward a future where the healing properties of this herb become an integral part of life. 

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