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Rosemary, the beneficial chemistry of a garden herb

Posted on 3. May, 2017.

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Exposure to the aroma of rosemary essential oil can significantly enhance working memory in children.
This is one the findings of a study presented by Dr Mark Moss and Victoria Earle of Northumbria University at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Brighton.

Rosemary is a garden herb originating from the Mediterranean whose valuable beneficial properties have been known for many centuries. However the chemical constituents which contribute to these properties, have only been identified over the last 50 years. The Egyptians buried sprigs of rosemary in the Pharaoh’s tombs whilst both the Ancient Greeks and Romans regarded it as a sacred plant. The effect of the plant in enhancing memory, led to the ancient custom of using it as a symbol of faithfulness and remembrance at weddings and funerals. There is an old custom of casting a sprig of rosemary onto a coffin before it is lowered into the grave. Rosemary is sometimes used along with lavender to prevent moth damage. Its antiseptic properties accounted for uses in preserving food, particularly meat, whilst rosemary branches were burnt in medieval hospitals as a fumigant and possibly to increase the sense of wellbeing of the patients – hence the old’ French name of ‘incensiere’ for the plant.
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