Rosemary is a herb that has a long-standing association with an improved mental ability, particularly the capacity for memory: in fact the association between rosemary and memory is one that spans hundreds of years, and while some may dismiss this link to improved memory as a traditional myth left over from our past,it’s long and continued association with mental benefits has ceased to diminish over time.
As far back as the times of Shakespeare, rosemary has been said to have had certain properties that helped with increased cognition: in one famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the character Ophelia states “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance”.
In the Medieval times, it was believed to grow solely in the gardens of righteous people and in the 16th century, many Europeans would carry it in the heads of walking sticks, believing it to ward of the plague.
Scientific studies, driven by a curiosity as to the merit of this long-standing claim that famous herb can help with memory have, in more modern times, given credence to this connection; many studies finding that the herb, particularly in the form of an essential oil, does seem to have a link towards mental capacity for memory.
One study tested school children undertaking memory tests; with one group taking the tests in a room infused with the aroma of rosemary, and another in a room completely lacking it. The children studying in the rosemary-infused room achieved 5% to 7% better results in the tests than those that studied in the room without the aroma.
The two groups of pupils, aged 10-11, were not made aware they were participating in a memory-based test and similar memory-test based studies on adults have yielded similar results.
Rosemary, particularly in the form of an oil, has compounds beneficial to cognitive ability and scientific studies have shown that there is a definite link between the two. This link correlates with other long-standing myths of the effect of various activities on memory; studies have colluded for example that chess, board games and card games are all crucial tools for developing a child’s memory.
Following in the spirit of those who paid attention to the effects of rosemary on mental capacity; Actingworks is working with children in their after-school activities with games to help stimulate memory at a crucial age. Games such as Battleships and chess that teach children to think in abstract ways and improve their memory for later in life
. Muscle memory is also key to, with sports-activities designed to help with the development of children’s physical fitness and motor-skills.