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Saturday, 25 February 2012 14:12

Can the Scent of Rosemary Boost Brain Performance?

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220px-rosmarinus_officinalis133095382The Scent of Rosemary Oil May Improve Speed and Accuracy During Mental Tasks

Can a whiff of rosemary boost your performance at work or school? It’s possible. A new study suggests that the pungent and pine-like scent of rosemary oil may improve speed and accuracy when performing certain mental tasks- reports WebMD.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is one of the famous medicinal plants, the essential oil of the rosemary is used to stimulate hair growth, boost mental activity, relieve respiratory problems etc. However, the mechanism of action is still unclear. Now researchers writing in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, published by SAGE, have shown for the first time that blood levels of a rosemary oil component correlate with improved cognitive performance.

Twenty people were asked to perform subtraction exercises and a task to see how quickly they could process new information before and after being exposed to the scent of rosemary in their work stations. Researchers measured participants’ blood levels of 1, 8-cineole, rosemary's main chemical component, after the experiment.

The higher their blood levels of this compound, the better the participants scored on these tasks, the study shows. Speed and accuracy got better, but the oil did not seem to improve alertness.
It is important to note that,exactly how rosemary can improve mental ability is not fully understood.

1,8-cineole-main chemical compound of rosemerry
Terpenes like 1,8-cineole(main chemical compound of rosemerry) can enter the blood stream via the nasal or lung mucosa. As small, fat-soluble organic molecules, terpenes can easily cross the blood–brain barrier. Volatile 1,8-cineole is found in many aromatic plants, including eucalyptus, bay, wormwood and sage in addition to rosemary, and has already been the subject of a number of studies, including research that suggests it inhibits acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase enzymes, important in brain and central nervous system neurochemistry: rosemary components may prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Expert's view
Alan Hirsch, MD, is the director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. He says the findings take aromatherapy to a whole new level. “This opens up the doorway for us to explore other odors and how they affect people,” he says.
So, should we place some rosemary-scented potpourri in our work station?
“It is something to think about if you want to improve your learning, as long as you like the smell of rosemary,” Hirsch tells WebMD.

 More Research needed says Expert
“More study is needed to see how, or even if, rosemary affects how quickly and accurately we perform mental exercises. This is an intriguing concept, but very preliminary” says, Christy C. Tangney, PhD, an associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The findings could be due to chance or something else besides the fragrance. “There is something here. I don’t know that I could conclude that it is the aroma of the rosemary that is associated with improvements though,” Tangney says.

She agrees with Hirsch. If you like the scent of rosemary, there is no reason not to surround yourself with it. “Rosemary has been used as an herb for generations, and there is nothing to say it is potentially harmful, at least in the short term.”

The findings are published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.


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Read 29152 times Last modified on Monday, 27 February 2012 10:09


  • Comment Link Sheila Otieno Thursday, 15 March 2012 12:01 posted by Sheila Otieno

    You can also place fresh sprigs of rosemary on your dining table to keep away flies and other bugs, especially when you have company and food is on the table for a long period of time

  • Comment Link Joseph Wednesday, 29 February 2012 09:17 posted by Joseph

    Sooo glad to see this post. Many people are unaware of how POWERFUL the essential oils. Thanks for sharing...!

  • Comment Link Richard Wednesday, 29 February 2012 08:54 posted by Richard

    And its so easy to find on the earth and in stores. Great tip, thank you!

  • Comment Link Dr. Holly Monday, 27 February 2012 12:06 posted by Dr. Holly

    We certainly used it in Naturopathic School - before and during exams...

  • Comment Link Jan Sunday, 26 February 2012 10:07 posted by Jan

    Plants, trees, fruits & seeds should be our source of nutrition.
    If you tear a leaf or a stem of a plant, the liquid that emerges is known as the
    Essential oil. Essential Oils were man-kinds first medicine.
    There are 188 different references to essential oils in the Bible. Such oils include: myrrh, frankincense, rosemary, hyssop and spikenard. (known as God's medicine)

    Essential Oils are subtle but powerful liquids distilled from plants, including their parts such as: seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruit, etc. They are oxygenating and help transport nutrients to the cells of our bodies. Essential oils give the human body 3 fundamental elements for good health including: oxygen, nutrients, and electrical frequency. Using essential oils either inhaled or applied directly to the skin, helps revive and strengthen the electrical frequency of all the bodies' cells. Research shows that we respond to an aroma within one to three seconds. When a specific aroma is taken through your nasal passages it stimulates the limbic system of the brain.

    Essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man.
    They create an environment in which disease, bacteria, viruses, and fungus cannot live.
    They have been shown to destroy all tested bacteria and viruses while simultaneously restoring balance to the body. They many detoxify the cells and blood in the body. A "frequency generator" was developed in the early 1920's by Royal Raymond Rife, M.D. He found that by using certain frequencies, he could destroy a cancer cell or virus.

    Essential Oils are also neurological therapeutic.
    Essential oils containing Sesquiterpenes have the ability to pass the blood brain barrier, enabling them to effectively treat many common diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis.
    Health Practitioners around the globe have claimed Essential Oils to be the "Missing Link" to every disease known to man.

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