Sunday, July 7, 2024 - 20:31

July 5, 2024

In folk medicine, rosemary has been associated for centuries with having a good memory.  The plant takes its name from rosmarinus, a Latin term meaning sea dew. Ros (meaning dew) and marinus (meaning sea), which translates to dew of the sea or sea dew. According to Greek methology, rosemary was draped around the neck of Aphrodite as she rose from the sea, and hence the name dew of the sea.The Rosemary plant not only smells nice and looks nice when growing in our garden. It also appears that it increases our brain power.

A study published in the Psychogeriatrics journal found that rosemary oil aromatherapy can boost memory, prevent and slow Alzheimer's disease in 28 elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer's. Rosemary has also been associated with relieving stress and anxiety. One study suggests that rosemary, combined with other pleasant-smelling oils, may lower cortisol levels and help reduce anxiety.

Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as brahmi, is an herb that occurs naturally in India and has a long history of use in the ayurvedic medicine tradition for the treatment of many disorders, particularly those involving anxiety, intellect, and poor memory.

The new study, from Miami Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute, studied extracts of Rosemary and Bacopa separately and together using human brain and nerve cells.They found that each extract inhibited the phosphorylation of tau tangles. Tau tangles have been linked with Alzheimer’s progression. But the combination of the two produced an even greater inhibitory effect.This took place by halting the production of amyloid proteins. Amyloid protein production precedes the tau tangle formations. The researchers stated:

“These results suggest that the extract of Bacopa monnieri plus rosemary antioxidant is more neuroprotective than Bacopa monnieri or rosemary antioxidant extract.”

In a study from Maryland’s Tai Sophia Institute, researchers gave 28 elderly adults with an average age of 75 years old either a placebo powder or a rosemary leaf powder of different doses spread with weekly wash-out periods in between.The subjects were tested using the Cognitive Drug Research computerized assessment system. The doses ranged from 750 milligrams to 6,000 milligrams.The researchers found that the lowest doses produced a significant improvement in cognitive scores, while the higher doses actually had an impairing effect upon the subjects.

In a study from Japan’s Tottori University medical school, researchers tested 28 elderly people including 17 Alzheimer’s disease patients using aromatherapy. During a 28 day period preceded and followed by two wash-out period of 28 days, the researchers gave the subjects aromatherapy using rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning and lavender and orange essential oils in the evening.The study found a significant increase in cognition scores in the Touch Panel-type Dementia Assessment Scale (TDAS) test. The researchers concluded:

“In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving cognitive function, especially in AD patients.”

The research found rosemary aromatherapy significantly boosted memory and cognition. The researchers stated that the rosemary aromatherapy:

“…produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors, but also produced an impairment of speed of memory compared to controls.”

Fresh, powdered or essential oil?

These studies illustrate that consuming fresh or powdered rosemary in culinary doses can help boost memory. The Tai Sophia Institute study found that 750 milligram doses had the most therapeutic effect, but not higher. Higher doses had the opposite effect.

Even more promising is the use of rosemary essential oil as aromatherapy. This can boost memory function almost immediately. Sprinkling a drop or two onto a crumpled tissue is a quick and easy way to diffuse an essential oil. Essential oil diffusers are also available if you want a more permanent instrument.

Rosemary is very easy to grow in the garden. It is also a great drought-tolerant plant. It needs very little water and in fact hates being over-watered.