Improving exam performance with Rosemary
With important examinations starting, many students are revising day and night to achieve the best possible results. Tutors provide useful revision tips, and parents extol the virtues of a healthy diet, sufficient rest and exercise. Aromatherapists, meanwhile, recommend using rosemary essential oil, a scientifically proven memory enhancer!
Now, as scientific evidence supports the benefit of aromas, studies show that Rosemary's aroma can indeed increase memory by up to 75% in healthy adults. Human memory is complex with may different types including: short term (i.e. minute to minute), long term (i.e. what we learned at school) and prospective (i.e. remembering someone's birthday).
Numerous studies have been done on the effects of Rosemary essential oil on improving memory. For example, in one study, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 1998, researchers from the Miami School of Medicine assessed EEG activity, alertness, and mood in 40 adults who were given 3 minutes of aromatherapy using two aromas, Lavender or Rosemary. Participants were also given simple math computations before and after the therapy. The Lavender group showed increased beta power, suggesting increased drowsiness, they had less depressed mood and reported feeling more relaxed and performed the math computations faster and more accurately following aromatherapy. The Rosemary group, on the other hand, showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power, suggesting increased alertness. They also had lower state anxiety scores, reported feeling more relaxed and alert and they were only faster, not more accurate, at completing the math computations after the aromatherapy session (1).
Yet another study undertaken by a team of psychologists at Northumbria University, Newcastle in 2013, tested the effects of Rosemary essential oil. The study focused on prospective memory involving the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and remembering to complete tasks at particular times. 66 people took part in the study and were randomly allocated to either the Rosemary-scented room or another room with no scent. In each room participants completed a test designed to assess their prospective memory functions. The results showed that participants in the Rosemary-scented room performed better on the prospective memory tasks than the participants in the room with no scent. This was the case for remembering events, remembering to complete tasks at particular times, and the speed of recall.
Using Rosemary essential oil to enhance memory is very simple with a number of methods being described below:
Essential Oil Burner
Fill the small bowl at the top of the burner with water and add between 3-5 drops of Rosemary essential oil. Put a tea light candle underneath the oil burner.
Aromatherapy Diffuser or Vaporiser
Put several drops of Rosemary essential oil into the diffuser, add water (where applicable) and switch on! Check your product details for exact instructions.
Inhalation via Tissue or Inhaler
Place up to five drops of Rosemary essential oil onto a tissue or inside an inhaler and inhale throughout the day.
A word of caution though, Rosemary is open to easy adulteration 1,8 cineole is removed from Eucalyptus globulus and added to Rosemary oil. It is, therefore, important to ensure you purchase your oils from a reputable supplier, such as Soulisitc, who will provide evidence of purity upon request.
On a final note, good luck to all those who are taking exams now and in the future!
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Avoid Rosemary if pregnant or suffering with epilepsy!