Students should smell rosemary for exams success

06 May 2017

New research has found that getting a whiff of the herb can help children’s recall.

Want to ace your exams? Smell rosemary. Yes, new research has found that getting a whiff of the herb can help children’s recall.

The latest study follows on from previous research that concluded rosemary can help boost adult’s memories.

A team from Northumbria University recruited 40 10 to 11-year-old’s for their analysis and asked the group to take part in a class based on different mental tasks. The school kids were put into different rooms; one that had rosemary oil diffused in it for 10 minutes and one with no scent.

The children were then tested individually, with a researcher playing memory games with the participants.

It was found that the group who’d been in the rosemary room achieved better scores than those who’d been in the non-scent room.

Read more: Exams 101: The ultimate guide for learners and parents

“Our previous study demonstrated the aroma of rosemary essential oil could enhance cognition in healthy adults,” co-lead author Dr Mark Moss said. “Knowing how important working memory is in academic achievement we wanted to see if similar effects could be found in school-age children in classroom settings.

“Why and how rosemary has this effect is still up for debate. It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when adults are exposed.”

He added that low working memory is related to poor academic performance, and he hopes his findings can offer a “possible cost effective simple intervention to improve academic performance in children”. Dr Moss also wants more research to be done into the area.

The expert will present his findings along with research partner Victoria Earle at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Brighton.

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