In a series of studies on these herbs they found that smelling the aromas of rosemary and lavender impacted on memory in people over 65, with the scent of rosemary enhancing their memory by up to 15%, while lavender induced calm and contentedness but impaired memory. They also found that drinking peppermint tea improves alertness, while chamomile tea has a calming effect.
Dr Mark Moss said the human sense of smell was highly sensitive and sent messages to the brain, which set off a series of reactions and responses.
Commenting on the current study he said: “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.
“We do know that poor working memory is related to poor academic performance and these findings offer a possible cost-effective and simple intervention to improve academic performance in children. The time is ripe for large-scale trials of aroma application in education settings.”