Peppermint Tea & the Aroma of Rosemary Can Improve Your Memory
Peppermint tea can improve long-term and working memory and in healthy adults. This is the finding of a study by Dr Mark Moss, Robert Jones and Lucy Moss of Northumbria University who presented their research in April 2016 at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham in the UK. At the same conference, Lauren Bussey, Lucy Moss and Dr. Mark Moss of Northumbria University presented their finding that the aroma of rosemary essential oil may improve ability of people over 65 to remember events and to remember to complete tasks at particular times in the future.
For the peppermint tea study, total of 180 participants were randomly allocated to receive a drink of peppermint tea, chamomile tea or hot water. Before they consumed their drinks, they completed questionnaires relating to their mood. After a twenty minute rest the participants completed tests that assessed their memory and a range of other cognitive functions. Following the tests, participants completed another mood questionnaire.
Analysis of the results showed that peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory, working memory, and alertness compared to both chamomile and hot water. Chamomile tea significantly slowed memory and attention speed compared to both peppermint and hot water.
A release from the British Psychological Society quotes Dr. Mark Moss as saying, “It’s interesting to see the contrasting effects on mood and cognition of the two different herbal teas. The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of chamomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use.”
Regarding the research about the aroma of rosemary, Lauren Bussey is quoted in another release from the British Psychological Society as saying, “In this study we focused on prospective memory. This involves the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to complete tasks at particular times. It’s critical for everyday functioning. For example: when someone needs to remember to post a letter or to take medication at a particular time.”
Rosemary and lavender essential oil were diffused in a testing room by placing four drops on an aroma stream fan diffuser and switching this on five minutes before the participants entered the room. A total of 150 people over age 65 took part in the study and were randomly allocated to either the rosemary/lavender-scented room or another room with no scent.
Once in the room they undertook tests designed to assess their prospective memory functions. These included remembering to pass on a message at a given time during the procedure, and switching tasks when a specific event occurred. These tasks represent the two components of prospective memory: time-based (remembering to do something at a specific time such as watch a TV show) and event-based (remembering to do something due to an environmental cue such as posting a letter after seeing a post box).
Participants also completed mood assessment before and after undertaking tests in the scented or non-scented rooms.
Analysis of the results showed that the rosemary aroma significantly enhanced prospective memory compared to the room with no aroma. In terms of mood, rosemary significantly increased alertness and lavender significantly increased calmness and contentedness compared to the no aroma control condition
Lauren Bussey said: “These findings support previous research indicating that the aroma of rosemary essential oil can enhance cognitive functioning in healthy adults. This is the first time that similar effects have been demonstrated in the healthy over 65’s. Further investigation is required to understand the potential benefits of these aromas throughout the life span.”