In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia famously says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember.” As it turns out, she might not have been so crazy after all. According to a number of recent studies, rosemary could increase memory by up to 75 per cent and reduce the risk of developing dementia.
One study by Dr Mark Moss and colleagues at the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University found that sniffing the herb has a “drug-like effect” that improves our ability to recall past events and remember plans for the future.
“People think it might be really good for their brain if they do more exercise or reading or brain training puzzles,” he told the Daily Mail, “but you can sit and watch the telly and use aromas.”
In an earlier study, Moss found that people who had been exposed to rosemary oil reported a 60 – 75 per cent improvement in remembering to do things in the future, suggesting a compound present in the herb (1,8-cineole) can enhance long-term memory and alertness.
However, Moss warns that we shouldn’t get our hopes up when it comes to those already diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but there could be a glimmer of hope for those desperate for prevention. “There's no guarantee of benefits but I would be cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Tell us in the comments below, do you regularly eat rosemary or use a rosemary oil? Have you found any benefits from it?