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Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary), is an aromatic herb that belongs to Lamiaceae family, cultivated worldwide but originated from the Mediterranean region and Asia. 

Greeks revered rosemary for stimulating the brain and assisting memory (5). Dioscorides famously wrote that eating rosemary comforts the brain the heart and the stomach, while it sharpens and restores memory and awakens the mind (5).

It contains volatile constituents such as α-pinene, 1,8-cineole and camphor as well as carnosol, carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. Rosemary has antibacterial, antifungal anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antianxiety effects (1,2).

Rosemary asserts positive effects on stress-related disorders

Rosemary has been proved to have positive effects on memory, anxiety, depression and insomnia by its inhibitory effect on acetylcholinesterase in the brain (2) and by its positive effect on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors (3).

Rosemary can boost memory and cognitive health

In a clinical study of sixty-eight university students, the administration of 500mg rosemary twice daily for one month led to a boost in prospective and retrospective memory, reduction of anxiety and depression as well as improvement in sleep quality.

One-hundred healthy young adults noticed an enhancement in their feeling of alertness and cognitive functions after inhaling rosemary oil (6). Significant effects on cognitive performance such as speed of memory was improved after the consumption of dried rosemary leaf powder by seventy-five-year-old adults (5).

1. R. Ribeiro-Santos, D. Carvalho-Costa, C. Cavaleiro, H.S. Costa, T.G. Albuquerque, M.C. Castilho, F. Ramos, N.R. Melo, A. Sanches-Silva, A novel insight on an ancient aromatic plant: the rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), Trends Food Sci. Technol. 45 (2015) 355e368

2. S. Miraj, An evidence-based review on herbal remedies of Rosmarinus officinalis, Pharm. Lett. 8 (2016) 426e436

3. A. Abdelhalim, N. Karim, M. Chebib, T. Aburjai, I. Khan, G.A. Johnston, J. Hanrahan, Antidepressant, anxiolytic and antinociceptive activities of constituents from Rosmarinus officinalis, J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci. 18 (2015) 448e459

4. Nematolahi P, Mehrabani M, Karami-Mohajeri S, Dabaghzadeh F. Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on memory performance, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality in university students: A randomized clinical trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 Feb;30:24-28.  Epub 2017 Nov 13. PMID: 29389474.

5. Pengelly A, Snow J, Mills SY, Scholey A, Wesnes K, Butler LR. Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population. J Med Food. 2012 Jan;15(1):10-7. Epub 2011 Aug 30. PMID: 21877951.

6. Kennedy D, Dodd F, Robertson B, Okello E, Reay J, Scholey A, Haskell C: Monoterpenoid extract of sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) with cholinesterase inhibiting properties improves cognitive performance and mood in healthy adults. J Psychopharmacol 2011;25:1088–1100