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Rosemary for a better memory 

By  Lysette Offley

You really can sniff rosemary for a better memory.

Seems Shakespeare was on to something:

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”

Rosemary for a better memory. Photo of rosemaryAnd he was absolutely right. It’s not a ‘mature female spouse’s story’ after all. (I’m guessing it’s not politically correct to use the expression ‘old wives’ tail’?)

The smell of rosemary can enhance your memory by 10%, and lavender will make your brain dozy by about the same amount, science has proven.

Have you ever been transported back in time by a memory, instantly evoked by a particular smell?

Ever wondered why that is? Well, it’s because the part of the nose that does the sniffing, the olfactory department, at the back of the nose, is actually part of the brain – no wonder it’s so quick!

Both the neo-cortex (responsible for our conscious thinking and long-term memories), and the limbic system (responsible for emotions) are immediately triggered by a smell, and that’s why, faster than the blink of an eye, a smell can transport you back to the time, the place, the circumstances, the significance and the emotions surrounding the event. The memories are so vivid, it’s as though you’re there again for real.

This is part of the reason why some people sniff peppermint while revising. As long as they’ve got the same smell in the exam room, hopefully the memories created during their revision sessions will be brought back easily.

Rosemary for a better memory. Photo of studentWould this be a good time to mention that we’re talking a few drops of peppermint aromatherapy oil on a tissue (don’t get it on your fingers or in your eyes), and not shoving a couple of Polo mints up your nostrils?

However, if you do go the Polo mint route – do let us know how you get on…

And send photographs!

Lysette Offley


With 40 years of experience, Lysette Offley is a Memory and Mindset Coach to women and men at the top of their game in the Financial Services Industry who recognise the value of continual personal and professional development and support to achieve a healthy work-life balance, along with satisfaction and fulfilment.

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