Even sceptics from the mainstream medical industry are calling this discovery remarkable: rosemary could help slow Alzheimer’s development and markedly improve even healthy patients’ memory.
So, if you are showing signs of a fading memory, this article is just for you.
‘Statistically significant’ increase in memory function
If you are a regular reader of The Daily Health the memory-boosting properties of rosemary may not be news to you.
Previously we told you how a herbal book, dating back to 1529, recommended taking rosemary for “weakness of the brain.” We also highlighted a study that has found this culinary herb contains a diterpine (carnosic acid) that has neuro-protective properties, which researchers believe may protect against age-related memory loss and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Remarkably, even the smell of this herb has been found to help improve memory. In one study, test subjects in cubicles were given the essential oil of rosemary to smell… they were found to have better quality memory and better overall memory than the control group.
Now, the latest study is the first to prove that rosemary could help slowdown the development of Alzheimer’s disease and markedly improve even healthy patients’ memory.
For the study, researchers at Northumbria University recruited 60 elderly volunteers and split them into 3 groups. One group received rosemary aromatherapy while the second received lavender. The final group didn’t participate in aromatherapy at all.
The researchers gave members of each group distracting word puzzles. Simultaneously, the researchers would sporadically ask participants to engage in complex memory-testing activities.
For example, they would say, ‘In seven minutes, can you hand me this book?’
Interestingly, participants in the lavender group performed the worst. Those who didn’t participate in aromatherapy fared averagely, while the rosemary group saw a ‘statistically significant’ increase in memory function.
In fact, participants in the rosemary group showed a 75 per cent improvement in their memory function.
It turns out that compounds in rosemary actually interact with the brain in a way similar to conventional Alzheimer’s medications. One of these compounds is called 1,8-cineole.
1,8-cineole works by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase – an enzyme that breaks down a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. For an Alzheimer’s patient, this inhibition has the effect of slowing memory loss drastically.
In another study, published in the journal Psychogeriatrics, researchers noted the following about 1,8-cineole: All patients showed significant improvement in… cognitive function. In particular, patients with Alzheimer’s showed significant improvement in total scores.
Aromatherapy happens to be a great way to ingest medicinal substances. And what’s more conventional medications – as with many pharmaceuticals – could have potentially many unwelcome side effects.
Alternative breakthroughs like rosemary, on the other hand, carry much fewer side effects. Let’s hope researchers continue to study alternative Alzheimer’s treatments like rosemary to figure out how they might be integrated with modern medical knowledge to help patients.
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Psychogeriatrics. 2009 Dec;9(4):173-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-8301.2009.00299.x.
Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Jun; 2(3): 103–113. doi: 10.1177/2045125312436573