In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is quoted as saying, “There’s rosemary that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” Even in the famous playwright’s day, using rosemary for memory was believed to enhance one’s ability to improve their memory.
This is something you may not have heard before or may have simply set aside as an old wives’ tale; however, scientific researchers have shown that this herb contains a number of brain boosting properties.
Keep reading to learn more about rosemary’s ability to improve memory and how you can harness its powers in your everyday life.
Rosemary has a long history of homeoopathic uses. As noted from the above Shakespeare reference, the belief that rosemary oil for memory improvement has been around for centuries. Even the ancient Greeks have thought this to be the case.
It’s also been seen by some cultures to symbolize love and loyalty. Others have used rosemary as a means to ward off even spirits. Additional uses include improving hair growth, controlling dandruff, relieving pain and healing coughs. The herb has digestive benefits, as well. It’s known to relieve cramping and bloating, along with constipation. In addition, rosemary oil has been shown to lessen respiratory problems such as sore throats, colds and allergies.
Our 3 Memory Types
I’d like to take a moment to look at the different types of memory. You use your mind in countless complex ways, and your memory serves various purposes.
Past memory is made up of those things you’ve already done or learned. This is the information we hold and maintain for various lengths of time. Present memory is our working memory and involves the knowledge we use in order to complete a task. Future memory is often thought of as, “remembering to remember.” Future memory can prove to be tricky. It has to do with all those things we must remember on our to-do list, the stuff we notoriously forget unless we write it down.
Rosemary and Memory
It’s this future memory that seems to be most affected by rosemary. Researchers have discovered that smelling essential oil from this plant can help to improve people’s ability to remember to complete future tasks.
In 2013, scientists from Northumbria University presented their findings regarding rosemary and prospective, or future, memory at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society.
In their study, participants were placed in a room containing the scent of rosemary or lavender oil or in a control room with no scent. They were then given complex memory tests. It was found that the rosemary group of participants scored significantly better than either of the other groups.
A more recent test, in 2017, of school children yielded similar findings. The reasoning behind these results are thought to be due to chemical compounds from rosemary being absorbed into the blood stream and sent to the brain when inhaled.
Sniffing some rosemary oil when you wish to improve your ability to remember to tackle certain tasks could be helpful, according to research and wives’ tales. I’d say it’s worth trying!