Siddha Medicine & Health News

Rosemary oil helps to improve brain performance

Researchers for the first time found that a rosemary oil prepared with traditional medicinal plant  Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) helps to improve cognitive performance. Mark Moss and Lorraine  Oliver, working at the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University,  UK designed an experiment to investigate the pharmacology of 1,8-cineole (1,3,3-trimethyl-2-oxabicyclo[2,2,2]octane), one of rosemary’s main chemical components. The investigators tested  cognitive performance and mood in a cohort of 20 subjects, who were exposed to varying levels of the  rosemary aroma. Using blood samples to detect the amount of 1,8-cineole participants had absorbed,  the researchers applied speed and accuracy tests, and mood assessments, to judge the rosemary oil’s  affects. Results indicate for the first time in human subjects that concentration of 1,8-cineole in  the blood is related to an individual’s cognitive performance – with higher concentrations resulting  in improved performance. Both speed and accuracy were improved, suggesting that the relationship is  not describing a speed-accuracy trade off. Meanwhile, although less pronounced, the chemical also  had an effect on mood. However, this was a negative correlation between changes in contentment  levels and blood levels of 1,8-cineole, which is particularly interesting because it suggests that  compounds given off by the rosemary essential oil affect subjective state and cognitive performance  through different neurochemical pathways. The oil did not appear to improve attention or alertness,  however. Terpenes like 1,8-cineole can enter the blood stream via the nasal or lung mucosa. As  small, fat-soluble organic molecules, terpenes can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Volatile  1,8-cineole is found in many aromatic plants, including eucalyptus, bay, wormwood and sage in  addition to rosemary, and has already been the subject of a number of studies, including research  that suggests it inhibits acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase enzymes, important  in brain and central nervous system neurochemistry: rosemary components may prevent the breakdown of  the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. “Only contentedness possessed a significant relationship with  1,8-cineole levels, and interestingly to some of the cognitive performance outcomes, leading to the  intriguing proposal that positive mood can improve performance whereas aroused mood cannot,” said  Moss. Typically comprising 35-45 per cent by volume of rosemary essential oil, 1,8-cineole may  possess direct pharmacological properties. However, it is also possible that detected blood levels  simply serve as a marker for relative levels of other active compounds present in rosemary oil, such  as rosmarinic acid and ursolic acid, which are present at much lower concentrations. The study has  been described in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, published by SAGE.

Source : The Times Of India

Dr Divya Amritjude

Dr. Divya Amritjude, wife of Dr. Amritjude, is the female consultant, the Siddha doctor of Agasthiyar Guru Siddha Hospital.

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