A Sniff of Rosemary Makes You Smarter

Published: October 21, 2012

Yes, just smelling rosemary might do the trick. Healthy volunteers who took a sniff of 1,8-cineole — one of the main chemical components of rosemary — scored better on an arithmetic test than people who didn't. In fact, the higher the participants' blood levels of 1,8-cineole, the better their speed and accuracy on the tests.

Interestingly, the study participants didn't know that the smell of rosemary had anything to do with the study — they were told the smell was "left over" from the previous research conducted in the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University in the UK.

If you want to try out rosemary for more brain power, how long should you sniff? Well, the cubicles where the study was conducted were infused with rosemary, so you may want to use an aromatherapy diffuser. The participants smelled the scent for either 4, 6, 8, or 10 minutes before the test; and, as pointed out earlier, the higher their blood levels, the better they did.

A researcher commenting on the study noted that 1,8-cineole has the power to inhibit an enzyme that plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Even better is that not only did the rosemary make some of the participants smarter, but it also made them feel more content. The intriguing possibility: "Positive mood can improve performance, whereas aroused mood cannot,” said one of the researchers.

As I've always said, when you feel good, you're more likely to do good!


"Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma," Moss, M, Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, Published online before print February 24, 2012.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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