Whiff of rosemary helps you score better in exams – study
Usually left gathering dust in cupboards the world over until it’s time to season the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, researchers now believe that the rosemary herb may have significant memory boosting properties.
A study of 40 children, by Northumbria University academics, showed that 10 and 11-year-old pupils working in a room that had been sprayed with rosemary oil scored 5-7 percent better in memory tests than their non-herb smelling counterparts.
These results seemingly confirm long standing myths about the memory-boosting properties of the herb. Ancient Greek students wore necklaces made from rosemary during exam time and even Shakespeare alluded to its cognitive power in ‘Hamlet’ when Ophelia says “there’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
Northumbria University’s Dr Mark Moss said that previous studies have shown a link between rosemary and improved memory in adults, but has no definitive connection.
“It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when adults are exposed,” Moss said, as cited by iNews.
Though not everyone is convinced by the small scale study.
“I’m very skeptical that this data leads to any robust conclusions. The small sample size alone means that the outcomes could be nothing but noise, or related to some factor of the children, or nothing,” said Tom Bennett, a teacher and founder of the global educational research conference, researchED.
“Other research in this field has been inconclusive so it’s probably safer to say we have no evidence working memory is substantially affected by nice smells. Teachers can cancel their orders for Ambi Pur's [air fresheners],” he added.
The findings will be presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference held in Brighton on Thursday.