• An Nguyen

The smell of rosemary could enhance memory


It’s exam season again, and students are trying to study to ace their tests. University researchers have suggested that the smell of rosemary could enhance memory.

According to BBC.com, a study found that students working in a room with the aroma of rosemary in the form of an essential oil achieved five to seven percent better results on memory tests.

Mark Moss from the Northurbia University said the study supported traditional beliefs about rosemary. Rosemary has been associated with memory for hundreds of years.

Ancient Greek students wore rosemary garlands on their heads during exams, and Ophelia in Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance."

In a test carried out by Dr. Moss and Victoria Earle, ten- and eleven-year-old students carried out a series of memory tests in a room with and without the aroma of rosemary. The students did not know they were taking part in a memory test related to scent, but Dr. Moss said that those exposed to rosemary had on average an improvement of five to seven percent in results.

All of this could be linked to electrical activity. There are neurotransmitters in the brain associated with memory. The human sense of smell is highly sensitive and sends messages to the brain, setting off reactions and responses.

"It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when adults are exposed," he said.

Dr. Moss says the next step is to extend the study.