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Phytothérapie

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 38–43 | Cite as

Half way to Scarborough fair? The cognitive and mood effects of rosemary and sage aromas

Aromathérapie Expérimentale
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Abstract

The application of aromas as therapeutic treatments and mood stabilisers/enhancers is widely recognised and practised. The possibility of their use as cognitive enhancers is less well known or researched. Received wisdom assumed that our cognitive functioning was optimal for the environment in which we have evolved. However, research has demonstrated that natural nutritional interventions can augment cognition. My research has investigated the possibility that natural aromatic compounds absorbed through inhalation might also exert beneficial effects. Orally administered sage preparations have been shown to improve memory and here I present data that indicate that sage aromas act in a similar manner. The dietary impact of rosemary on cognition is less well researched. However, I provide evidence that the absorption of pharmacologically active compounds occurs during exposure to rosemary aroma and that these are related to observed improvements in performance. With regard to impact on subjective mood state, the data are less illuminating but it would appear that mood effects are perhaps a response to the psychological qualia of the aromas rather than anything pharmacological. This independence in effect offers interesting opportunities for the future development of health promoting aroma-based interventions.

Keywords

Salvia officinalis (Dalmatian sage) Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) Rosemary Cognitive and memory aroma-based effects 

À mi-chemin vers la foire de Scarborough ? Les effets sur le cognitif et l’humeur des essences de sauge et de romarin

Résumé

L’emploi des arômes en tant que traitement thérapeutique et stabilisateurs/stimulateurs est largement reconnu et pratiqué. La possibilité d’utiliser les odeurs comme stimulateurs cognitifs est moins connue ou a été moins étudiée. On croit généralement que notre fonctionnement cognitif est parfaitement adapté à l’environnement dans lequel nous avons évolué. Toutefois, la recherche a démontré que des apports nutritionnels naturels peuvent augmenter les facultés cognitives. Dans ma recherche, j’ai émis l’hypothèse que les composés aromatiques naturels absorbés par inhalation peuvent également avoir des effets bénéfiques. Des préparations à base de sauge, administrées par voie orale, ont montré un impact positif sur la mémoire, et je présente ici les données qui indiquent que les arômes de sauge agissent de façon équivalente. L’impact diététique du romarin sur la cognition a été moins étudié. Toutefois, je fournis les preuves que l’absorption de composés pharmacologiquement actifs a lieu pendant l’exposition à l’arôme de romarin et que ces substances sont en relation avec l’amélioration observée dans la performance. En ce qui concerne l’impact sur l’humeur, les données sont moins évidentes, mais il paraît que les effets sur l’humeur sont peut-être une réponse aux propriétés de la perception des odeurs plutôt que le résultat d’une action pharmacologique. Cette indépendance d’effets offre des opportunités intéressantes pour le futur développement d’utilisations à base d’arômes pour la promotion de la santé.

Mots clés

Salvia officinalis (sauge officinale) Salvia lavandulaefolia (sauge à feuilles de lavande) Romarin Effets coginitif et mémoriel des huiles essentielles 

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Copyright information

© Lavoisier 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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