Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma
Hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties, we still have a lot to learn about the effects of rosemary. This paper shows for the first time that blood levels of a rosemary oil component correlate with improved cognitive performance. Rosemary is one of many traditional medicinal plants that yield essential oils. But exactly how such plants affect human behavior is still unclear. The authors designed an experiment to investigate the pharmacology of one of rosemary’s main chemical components. Results indicate for the first time in human subjects that there is relation to an individual’s cognitive performance – with higher concentrations resulting in improved performance. Both speed and accuracy were improved, however the oil did not appear to improve attention or alertness. The results also suggest that compounds given off by the rosemary essential oil affect mood (subjective state) and cognitive performance through different neurochemical pathways.