Sniffing rosemary could boost your brain power, scientists have suggested.
Tests show that cognitive performance improves when a compound in the herb’s oil – 1, 8-cineole – is absorbed into blood. Biochemists at the University of Northumbria now want to see how the ingredient might affect our brains.
Rosemary has a long history as a traditional remedy with such widespread uses as a hair rinse and a cat repellent.
It has long been thought to boost brain power, so scientists were not totally surprised that respondents performed better in tests. However, they were shocked when they realized the rosemary oil has an effect on the blood, it was reported in the Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology journal.
Dr Mark Moss said: ‘We were not surprised by the improvement in cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary aroma as this has been demonstrated previously. ‘What excited us was the demonstration that performance was linked to plasma levels of 1,8-cineole following exposure.'
Tests on 20 people showed the natural compound was absorbed through the nose and into the blood plasma. For Dr Moss, this means there is a more traditional biochemical explanation for the increased cognitive performances previously demonstrated.