Taking a sniff of rosemary essential oil could help boost your memory. 

Researchers have found that the scent could help people remember events or to finish tasks at specific times. 

Rosemary has long been associated with memory and its thought-boosting powers date back to Ancient Greece, according to the Herb Society. Shakespeare even noted the herb's quality in the play Hamlet, when Ophelia declares "there’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray you, love, remember."

The scientists at the University of Northumbria used a test group of 66 people who were given memory tests in either a room with no aroma, or one filled with a rosemary scent. 

The memory tests were simple and included finding hidden objects or passing objects to specific researchers at set times. 

"We wanted to build on our previous research that indicated rosemary aroma improved long-term memory and mental arithmetic," said author Dr Mark Moss.

"In this study we 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. This is critical for everyday functioning. For example, when someone needs to remember to post a birthday card or to take medication at a particular time."

The results were presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Harrogate. Researchers found that participants in the rosemary-scented rooms delivered better results and performed better than those in the room without a scent. 

Co-author of the study Jemma McCready, added: "These findings may have implications for treating individuals with memory impairments.

"It supports our previous research indicating that the aroma of rosemary essential oil can enhance cognitive functioning in healthy adults, and  extending to the ability to remember events and to complete tasks in the future.”

It is hoped that these results could help scientists in developing a treatment for older adults who are suffering from memory decline. 

Matilda Jones