Next time you want to ace a test or finish the daily crossword in record time, take a whiff of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
In a recent study, 20 office workers were asked to complete subtraction problems and another task to measure how quickly they could process novel information before and after smelling rosemary's pine-like scent. The study revealed that the more of rosemary’s main chemical compound, 1, 8-cineole, that was found in the participants’ blood, the better and faster they performed. Although the results are strictly preliminary, researchers believe performing similar studies could take aromatherapy to new levels.
Taking in rosemary's pine-like scent may help increase brain function.
Photo by Nefi/Courtesy Flickr
Rosemary, a member of the mint family, can do much more than enhance mental performance, however. The herb has a long history in healing. It is a popular addition to personal hygiene products, such as hair rinses and salves, and has been used to repel fleas and lice in homes.
At the turn of the century, researchers discovered that the perennial contained antioxidants, which are substances that may help protect cells against the effects of harmful agents called free radicals. Free radicals play a part in cancer, heart disease and other diseases.
Studies have also revealed that rosemary may help to prevent and suppress Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia that affects more than 5.4 million people worldwide.
Rosemary has statistics on its side. In countries where rosemary is commonly added to meals, rates of cancer and degenerative diseases are significantly lower.
Rosemary makes a delicious addition to soups, stews and many other scrumptious dishes. For more information on cooking with rosemary, check out the article “The Essence of Rosemary: Rosemary in the Kitchen.”
Nothing beats fresh herbs right out of the garden. For the ultimate guide to growing rosemary, check out the article “Rosemary Days.”