Biology Mind

Smelling rosemary can improve memory

Smelling rosemary can improve memoryShakespeare was right in saying rosemary can improve your memory. Researchers have found for the first time that essential oil from the herb when sniffed in advance enables people to remember to do things. It could help patients take their medication on time, it is claimed, or even help the forgetful to postba birthday card.

In a series of tests rosemary essential oil from the herb increased the chances of remembering to do things in the future, by 60-75 per cent compared with people who had not been exposed to the oil. Other studies have shown the oil increases alertness and enhances long-term memory. Rosemary has been long been linked to memory, with the most famous literary reference found in Hamlet when Ophelia declares:

‘There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember.’

It is used in modern-day herbal medicine as a mild painkiller and for migraines and digestive problems. A team of psychologists at Northumbria University, Newcastle, tested the effects of essential oils from rosemary.

Dr Mark Moss, who will present the findings today at the British Psychology Society conference in Harrogate, said the benefit of aromas was becoming clear through scientific investigation.

He said ‘We wanted to build on our previous research that indicated rosemary aroma improved long-term memory and mental arithmetic.

Rosemary essential oil was diffused in to a testing room by placing four drops on an aroma stream fan diffuser and switching this on five minutes before people entered the room. Altogether 66 people took part in the study and were randomly allocated to either the rosemary-scented room or another room with no scent.

In each room participants completed a test designed to assess their prospective memory ..

Read more: dailymail

You may have rosemary growing wild somewhere nearby. Avoid it if there is something you don’t want to remember.


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oliverthered April 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Bad research method, they should have used an active control. all this shows is smelly rooms improve memory. smell and memory have long been linked.
Play it again sam, but this time with a real conrol.

Xeno April 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm

The stench of Lark’s vomit may outperform rosemary, but since there are no companies selling that scent, a study of it is unlikely. Agree. Needs to be redone with ammonia or rotting meat as a control.

oliverthered April 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

But they could at least have used lavender or smelly socks as a control.
Prozak etc… trails spring to mind where active controls out perform anti depressants

Xeno April 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Did they? I didn’t hear that. Do you have a link to the source if that information?


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