The aroma of rosemary essential oil enhances memory and the ability to remember future events, research finds.
For the study 66 people took various memory tests either in a room that was scented with rosemary or without.
Those breathing the scent of rosemary performed better.
Dr Mark Moss, one of the study’s authors, said:
“We wanted to build on our previous research that indicated rosemary aroma improved long-term memory and mental arithmetic.
In this study we focused on prospective memory, which involves the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to complete tasks at particular times this is critical for everyday functioning.
For example when someone needs to remember to post a birthday card or to take medication at a particular time.”
Jemma McCready, a study co-author, said:
“There was no link between the participants’ mood and memory.
This suggests performance is not influenced as a consequence of changes in alertness or arousal.”
“These findings may have implications for treating individuals with memory impairments.
It supports our previous research indicating that the aroma of rosemary essential oil can enhance cognitive functioning in healthy adults, here extending to the ability to remember events and to complete tasks in the future.
Remembering when and where to go and for what reasons underpins everything we do, and we all suffer minor failings that can be frustrating and sometimes dangerous.
Further research is needed to investigate if this treatment is useful for older adults who have experienced memory decline.”
The study was presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in 2013.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Aroma image from Shutterstock