Rosemary For The Brain

Small studies but maybe worth a try to gain that extra boost come examination time even if this works out of expectation.

“A small, but growing body of research has been carried out to investigate the possible influence of the aromas of essential oils on cognition and mood in the healthy population. Given that the properties of aromas are to a great extent defined by folk wisdom rather than scientific evaluation, expectancy might be a reasonable candidate or at least a confounding variable worthy of addressing. A second potential mode of influence of aromas is the hedonic valence mechanism that describes the relationship between the pleasantness of an aroma, the associated effect on mood and the consequential impact on behaviour/performance.” (Moss & Oliver, 2012).

Population: 20

Objective: The study was designed to assess the potential pharmacological relationships between absorbed 1,8-cineole following exposure to rosemary aroma, cognitive performance and mood.

Methods: Mood assessments were made pre and post testing, and venous blood was sampled at the end of the session.

Results: Participants remember events that will occur in the future by 60-75 percent and to “remember to complete tasks at particular times.”

Conclusion: Moss & Oliver (2012) findings “suggest that compounds absorbed from rosemary aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways. With regard to the behavioural effects of exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma, the results reported here support previous work indicating that rosemary aroma can influence cognitive performance and mood.”



Coughlan, S. (2017). Exam revision students ‘should smell rosemary for memory’. BBC website.

Moss, M., & Oliver, L. (2012). Plasma 1, 8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology, 2(3), 103-113.