Much of the literature on the topic of herbs and spices and the brain is scientifically unconvincing. However, there is one study showing that subjects who smelled rosemary performed better on a battery of tests. Another study found that rosemary compound worked its way into the bloodstream just through the aroma. Yet another study, this one among older individuals, found that consuming rosemary accelerated mental processing speed, although consuming too much was counter-productive. The conclusion seems to be that cooking with herbs and spices may bring cognitive benefits, but more isn’t necessarily better.
- The ancient Greeks believed that rosemary sharpens understanding, restores lost memory, and awakens the mind.
- One study showed that being in a room smelling like rosemary improved performance on a battery of tests.
- In a study involving older adults, consuming powdered rosemary accelerated mental processing speed, but too much impaired processing.
“Aromatic herbs do have volatile compounds that theoretically could enter the blood stream by way of the lining of the nose or lungs and then potentially cross into the brain and have direct effects.”