Old Superstitions Were on to Something When It Comes to This Memory Herb
March 19th, 2014 by NHI
Ancient Greek scholars wore this herb around their heads to help them remember their studies. The ancient Egyptians put it in tombs and early Europeans threw it into graves to help them remember the dead.
It’s been given to wedding guests to remember the occasion and also to the happy couple to remind them of their sacred vows. It’s been placed under pillows to enhance recall during sleep.
All these old superstitions are fun, but does the herb have any real memory-boosting power? Surprisingly, yes! Read on and I’ll explain…
The Ancient Memory-Boosting
A note from Lee Euler
Our best-selling book Awakening from Alzheimer’s featured an ancient Chinese secret for boosting memory. Now I’m happy to tell you we have a recommended source for this supplement if you wish to try it.
I’ve been taking it myself, and I can feel the results. I’m thinking faster and more clearly than I have in years. This is definitely not one of the supplements where you take it and “nothing happens.”
So, what is this stuff? In ancient China, the emperor was believed to be the son of heaven. One of the perks of the job was that he was the only one allowed to eat a certain medicinal mushroom that was said to give him “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion.”
Now modern science has confirmed this mushroom’s remarkable benefits. If you’d like to reap the benefits for yourself click here now…
Rosemary has been associated with memory throughout history. Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet famously said, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, pray you love, remember.”
If this was only folklore it would be of passing interest, but the herb rosemary is proving to have real merit in preserving and enhancing memory and cognition.
15% Improvement in Long-Term Memory
The first tests on this herb for memory were published in 2003. Researchers studied 132 volunteers for the effects of rosemary in the form of an essential oil (a very strong concentrate extracted from the whole herb). Those exposed to the aroma had a 15% improvement in long-term memory.
This can occur because molecules in the oils are extremely small and can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the olfactory nerve in the nose and via the lungs. They can also cross the blood-brain barrier to have direct effects on the brain.
Dr. Mark Moss, lead researcher from the University of Northumbria in the UK, commented: “What is interesting is the possibility of using rosemary over a long period to maintain cognitive performance. It could be that a bit more rosemary with lunch maintains a healthy mind throughout life.”
A later study by Dr. Moss tested volunteers’ ability to do mental arithmetic. Those subjected to the aroma of rosemary saw enhanced aspects of cognition, with greater speed and accuracy. Performance outcomes improved for each task tested.
The most recent Moss study tested prospective memory – remembering events that are expected to occur in the near future and remembering to complete tasks at a certain time. Those exposed to the essential oil performed at a 60 – 75% higher level compared to those not exposed. They were better able to remember events, complete tasks and had greater speed of recall.
More Effective Than Dementia Drugs
Rosemary is able to improve brain function by several mechanisms. It contains a chemical important for memory called 1,8-cineole. Blood levels of this substance rise when a person is exposed to the rosemary scent. 1,8-cineole also has the ability to inhibit acetyl-cholinesterase, an enzyme that reduces brain function. It is among the key enzymes that promote Alzheimer’s disease. Most dementia drugs target this enzyme.
Not only does rosemary contain 1,8-cineole, it also contains rosmarinic acid and ursolic acid. These compounds are also able to inhibit acetylcholinesterase. So altogether, rosemary boasts three factors that work to reduce a dangerous mind-destroying enzyme.
Rosemary also contains carnosic acid, a natural chemical that protects against the ravaging effects of free radicals in the brain that contribute to neurodegeneration.
Dr. Takumi Satoh of Iwate University offered this thought about carnosic acid: “It means that we can do even better in protecting the brain from terrible disorders such as Alzheimer’s, perhaps even slowing down the effects of normal aging.”
Makes You Feel Good Too
Experiments with human volunteers suggest another benefit I find very attractive: The aroma of rosemary elevates a person’s mood. People reported feeling fresher and more active, with greater alertness and less drowsiness. Those who had a massage with rosemary oil said they felt more vigorous and cheerful.
Whether you use it in cooking, enjoy its pleasant scent, or luxuriate in it as a massage oil, you can enjoy the benefits of one of nature’s own brain boosters. I love rosemary and use it frequently to season dishes. Based on this new information I’m going to purchase the essential oil and have a sniff or two.
I wonder what other wisdom scientists will unearth that our wise forbears knew all along.