Rosemary and spearmint might stave off Alzheimer's disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Herbs and Alzheimer's Disease

Could a daily cup of rosemary tea or chewing spearmint gum help stave off Alzheimer's disease?


Saint Louis University researchers say extracts from rosemary and spearmint that have antioxidant properties improved memory and learning in mouse studies. The finding suggests certain herbs might treat mild memory loss in humans too, which is thought to be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.

Past studies support the finding that rosemary gives a boost to thinking and memory from its aroma.

Susan Farr, Ph.D., research professor geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine said since the study was done on mice more research is needed to see how chewing spearmint gum or eating rosemary might translate to Alzheimer's prevention in humans.

However, "This probably means eating spearmint and rosemary is good for you," Farr added.

For the study that was presented at Neuroscience 2013 last week, researchers gave mice with age-related memory loss a novel antioxidant extracted from rosemary and spearmint.

The mice were given two different doses of rosemary extract.


Both of the herbs improved memory in the mice, with the higher dose of rosemary being the most effective.

The investigation also found lower levels of oxidative stress.

Rosemary has been used for decades as a medicinal herb as has spearmint. One of the reasons fragrant herb might help with Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline is because it is known tohave powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to adding it to soups, poultry and other foods, rosemary can be consumed as a tea.

Spearmint has also been used medicinally for centuries for treating a variety of health conditions that include giving memory a boost. Spearmint is used in an Unani herbal tea known as "zahraa".

Farr said the preliminary finding suggests more studies should be done to find out if rosemary and spearmint could halt age related memory decline that could lead to Alzheimer's disease.