Peppermint, chamomile, rosemary and lavender smell good but have also been proven to have a large impact on your mood and memory. There are significant benefits for older people, according to new research from Northumbria University.
Researchers from University’s Department of Psychology have found that drinking peppermint tea will improve alertness. Chamomile tea has a calming effect. Just smelling the aromas of rosemary and lavender affected the memory in people over the age of 65. The scent of rosemary enhanced their memory and lavender impaired it.
At the annual British Psychological Society Conference in Nottingham in April of 2016, these findings were presented. The researchers asked, in one study, 180 volunteers to consume either a chamomile or peppermint tea drink and tested their cognition and mood before and then again after drinking. A specified group drank hot water for their comparisons.
Peppermint was found to enhance and arouse both their mood and cognition, which helped to improve their long-term memory, working memory and alertness. Chamomile had a calming and sedative effect that significantly slowed their memory and attention speed.
Another study was done involving 150 healthy people aged 65 and over. They were placed in rooms that had been scented with rosemary and lavender essential oil and some in a control room that had no scent. They then undertook tests that assessed their prospective memory as the ability to remember to do something at a given time. This would include such things as taking their medicine, or after receiving a prompt, perhaps posting a letter after seeing a mail or post box. A mood test assessment was also completed.
Those in the rosemary scented room displayed marked enhanced prospective memory with test scores 15% higher than those who had been in the room with no aroma. Alertness was another enhancement for those in the rosemary-scented room.
However, those who had spent time in the lavender scented room displayed significantly increased calmness and contentedness and had a decrease in their abilities to remember to do something at a given time.
This proves that peppermint has a reputation for being psychologically or mentally alerting. It makes you feel a little brighter and gives you that extra pickup. Those people who had drunk the peppermint tea had better long-term memory and were able to remember more words and pictures that they had seen. Those who had the chamomile were slower in their responses to tasks.
Even Shakespeare said “rosemary is for remembrance” and these tests show that rosemary is indeed associated with being invigorating. Rosemary has the ability to help memory and is very important because it could enable people to remember to take their medications at certain times of the day as needed.
A number of other studies has been done by Northumbria University’s Department of Psychology and found the sage, ginseng, lemon balm and gingko biloba can also have positive improving mental performance. OK, folks! Now we know what to take to calm us down or to liven us up! And…..all by using those natural herbs. Why not try it? What do you have to lose?
–Dr Fredda Branyon