Sniffing Rosemary has recently been scientifically proven to improve memory. But wait, this is not a new idea. In 1601, Shakespeare writes his play, “Hamlet,” and Ophelia remarks, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray you, love, remember.” And then in 1652, English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote, about rosemary: “Helps a weak memory and quickens the senses. The chymical [essential] oil drawn from the leaves and flowers, is a sovereign help…touch the temples and nostrils with two or three drops.”
Herb of Remembrance
Back in the day, it has been used as a symbol of remembrance during weddings, war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. Mourners in the old days would wear it on their suit coat, burn it as incense or throw it in to the graves as a symbol of remembrance of the dead. It was also placed under ones pillow to ward off nightmares and evil spirits. Many religious ceremonies would use it to cleanse sacred space.
Memory Enhancing Rosemary
Moss & Oliver (2012) are Scientists at Northumbria University (UK) are now uncovering how rosemary oil does in fact sharpen mental faculties. Researchers Mark Moss and Lorraine Oliver detail how blood levels of 1,8-cineole, a rosemary oil component, correlate with improved cognitive performance. Further studies by Mark Moss and team have found memory enhancements of up to an amazing 75% from diffusion of rosemary essential oil.
This scientific discovery was recently confirmed by the essential oil expert, Robert Tisserand. He found that adding Lavender to the Rosemary Essential Oil would increase alertness and accuracy specifically in math tests.
Modern scientific research tells us that rosemary is full of certain phytochemicals that prevent the decline of acetylcholine in the brain, which is an essential chemical used in neuro transmission. Hence, we are told, rosemary may have an important role in the helping those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Rosemary’s Many Uses
Rosemary is one of the herbs most commonly suggested for headache relief. It is said to relieve migraines by encouraging the healthy flow of blood to the brain, and is a general restorative. It has also been used to treat muscle and joint pains and improper digestion. Rosemary has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties and can be used to treat skin and scalp problems. It has lots of salycilic acid which could explain why it provides relief for aching joints.
This impressive herb is easy to grow and a very hardy evergreen. It also dries very nicely for using in all your favorite recipes. I love to douse my beef brisket in fresh rosemary and now knowing how great it is for my memory and recall, I’ll remember how much I enjoyed it. If you’d like to learn how to make your own aromatherapy oils, you can find the step by step instructions here.
Must Reads: Rosemary Gladstars Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide : 33 Herbs to Know, Grow and Use
If you enjoyed Memory Enhancing Rosemary, please don’t forget to pass it on!
http://roberttisserand.com/2013/04/new-rosemary-memory-research/ – and here http://roberttisserand.com/2012/03/rosemary-boosts-brain-power/
Jimbo D, Kimura Y, Taniguchi M et al 2009 Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Psychogeriatrics 9:173-179
Kovar KA, Gropper B, Friess D et al 1987 Blood levels of 1,8-cineole and locomotor activity of mice after inhalation and oral administration of rosemary oil. Planta Medica 53:315-318
Moss M, Oliver L 2012 Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology doi: 10.1177/2045125312436573