It is well known that rosemary can be used to complement a wide variety of dishes but a study conducted in a British classroom suggests that the herb is also good for the memory.

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According to the study, the smell of rosemary was found to enhance children’s memory and improve academic performance.

The tests involved 40 children from a primary school in the North East of England. Half of the children were put in a ‘rosemary’ group and the other half in a ‘no aroma’ control group.

The children were tested individually in five areas, which included how accurately they could remember a sequence of numbers and their recall of sentences or words in a list.

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After analysing the results, the researchers found that children in the aroma room recorded significantly higher scores than those in the non-scented room.

“The tests that we did are aimed at assessing aspects of what we call working memory, so our ability to hold and manipulate information,” says study leader Mark Moss, head of psychology at Northumbria University in Newcastle.

Moss says rosemary oil has three compounds that are pharmacologically active and that can interact with the brain’s chemistry.

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“When you sit in a room that has this aroma of rosemary in it, you inhale the compounds and some of these compounds are absorbed into the blood and then get transported to the brain where they potentially have this effect on memory,” he said.

The results are being presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society taking place in Brighton, England.



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