Sniffing the aroma of rosemary essential oil could help improve the brain power of elderly people, a new study claims.Researcher Lauren Bussey of Northumbria University said that in this study, they focused on prospective memory, which involves the ability to remember events that will occur in the future and to remember to complete tasks at particular times.

Rosemary and lavender essential oil were diffused in a testing room by placing four drops on an aroma stream fan diffuser and switching this on five minutes before the participants entered the room. A total of 150 people aged over 65 took part in the study and were randomly allocated to either the rosemary/lavender-scented room or another room with no scent.

Participants also completed mood assessment before and after undertaking tests in the scented or non-scented rooms.Analysis of the results showed that the rosemary aroma significantly enhanced prospective memory compared to the room with no aroma. In terms of mood, rosemary significantly increased alertness and lavender significantly increased calmness and contentedness compared to the no aroma control condition

 Bussey noted that further investigation is required to understand the potential benefits of these aromas throughout the life span.The study has been presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham.