Peppermint tea and rosemary significantly improve long term memory in adults
Herbs and Helpers
- Study by experts at Northumbria University focused on 180 participants
- Sniffing aroma of rosemary was found to help older adults to remember
- Drinking camomile tea was shown to slow memory and attention speed
- A study found peppermint tea to significantly improve long term memory in healthy adults
The key to improving the memory could be found in two common herbs – peppermint and rosemary. Peppermint tea was found to significantly improve long term memory and working memory in healthy adults.
Meanwhile sniffing the aroma of rosemary was found to help older adults to remember to do things, a study found.
But if you want to relax, the same research suggested different remedy from Mother Nature’s garden.Drinking camomile tea was shown to slow down memory and attention speed – just the thing at bedtime – and the whiff of lavender was also found to have calming effects.
Dr Mark Moss and colleagues from Northumbria University will present their research to the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham today (WEDS).
A total of 180 participants were randomly allocated to receive a drink of peppermint tea, chamomile tea or hot water.
Before drinking the herb tea they completed questionnaires relating to their mood. After a twenty minute rest, the participants underwent tests of their memory and a range of other cognitive functions and then completed another mood questionnaire. The peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory, working memory and alertness compared to both chamomile and hot water, the study found.
Meanwhile camomile tea significantly slowed memory and attention speed. Dr Mark Moss said: ‘It’s interesting to see the contrasting effects on mood and cognition of the two different herbal teas. ‘The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of camomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use.
Lauren Bussey of Northumbria University who studied the effects of rosemary and lavender on prospective memory ‘the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to complete tasks at particular times.’
She said: ‘It’s critical for everyday functioning. For example: when someone needs to remember to post a letter or to take medication at a particular time.’
The scents of rosemary and lavender oil were diffused in a testing room by use of an aroma stream fan diffuser.
A total of 150 people aged over 65 took part in the study and were randomly allocated to either the rosemary or lavender-scented rooms or another room with no scent. The study also found that sniffing the aroma of rosemary helped adults to remember to carry out tasks. Once in the room they undertook tests designed to assess their prospective memory functions.
These included remembering to pass on a message at a given time during the procedure, and switching tasks when a specific event occurred.
These tasks represent the two components of prospective memory: time-based – remembering to do something at a specific time such as watch a TV show- and event-based — remembering to do something due to an environmental cue such as posting a letter after seeing a post box.
Analysis of the results showed that the rosemary aroma significantly enhanced prospective memory compared to the room with no aroma.
For mood, rosemary significantly increased alertness and lavender significantly increased calmness and contentedness compared to the no aroma control condition added: ‘These findings support previous research indicating that the aroma of rosemary essential oil can enhance cognitive functioning in healthy adults. This is the first time that similar effects have been demonstrated in the healthy over 65’s.’
Source: Daily Mail
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