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Rosemary Oil Enhances Brain’s Memory Power: Study

Rosemary essential oil and its aroma could help improve memory power of the brain in elderly people, according to a new study by Lauren Bussey of Northumbria University.

This finding reiterates similar study by Japanese reerchers last year on rosemary’s effective therapeutic powers for an aging brain. In the new study, prospective memory, involving the ability to remember events and complete given tasks was studied.

Rosemary and lavender essential oil were used to fill aroma in a room where 10 participants aged 65 years and above were sent. In another room, no such aroma was filled and the comparison was recorded.

Once in the room, the participants took tests on memory power and completed given tasks to test prospective memory, both time-based and event-based.

Rosemary aroma has enhanced prospective memory compared to the other group which has been not exposed to any aroma. In terms of mood, rosemary significantly increased alertness and lavender significantly increased calmness and contentedness compared to the no aroma control condition, said Bussey, who presented her paper at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham.

In a March 2006 publication, Nagase company from Japan announced in collaboration with Kyoto University. Carnosic acid, which is found in rosemary, substantially stimulates the activity of Nrf2, a kind of transcription factor, promoting the growth of neuritis. A derivative of caffeic acid, one of the rosemary components, also has yielded similar effects.

However, rosemary intake should be controlled one as high doses may cause side effects such as vomiting, spasms, coma and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

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