Rosemary and Spearmint May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

The hunt for all natural remedies to thwart age-related cognitive decline continues. At the Neuroscience 2013 convention this November, 32,000 members gathered to find out more about the latest neuroscience advancements.  A Saint Louis University study hinted at the protective benefits of proprietary extracts of rosemary and spearmint, grabbing the attention of the medical community. Results of the study suggest that both herbs may yield significant advantages in the battle against dementia-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Patching Up MemoryRosemary Gaps

Researchers fed mice with mild cognitive impairment an antioxidant-based spearmint or rosemary extract at two different doses to see if either herb exhibited a beneficial effect on memory and learning. They found that the higher rosemary dose exerted the most dramatic improvement in memory and learning in three behavioral tests. The lower dose rosemary and spearmint extracts improved cognitive function in two tested behaviors. All extracts and doses delivered antioxidant protection against oxidative stress known to contribute to cognitive decline.

Rosemary: An Age-old Brain Tonic

The ancient Greeks were well aware of rosemary’s protective influence on brain health. Greek students used to adorn their heads with wreaths of rosemary during exams.

Recent studies attest to the brain-fortifying power of rosemary. Studies published in the Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Reviews indicate that an ingredient in rosemary called carnosic acid (CA) triggers the pathway that defends cells from free radical damage. CA protects the brain from neurodegeneration and stroke. Rosemary is also praised for defending against normal aging by helping to keep the brain focused and youthful.

Spearmint: A Brain-boosting Aroma

The aroma of peppermint has been shown to enhance concentration, mental alertness, and memory. Spearmint likewise boosts brainpower; peppermint is, after all, a hybrid of watermint and spearmint! One study found that students who breathed in the aroma of mint tested 28% higher than students who did not.

Breathe in all the spearmint you want, but don’t go chewing massive amounts of spearmint or rosemary leaves just yet. Researchers have yet to confirm the exact dose that would be helpful to humans. The Saint Louis University study analyzed proprietary extracts that need to be followed up with additional research conducted on humans.