Any Sense in Classroom Scents? Aroma of Rosemary Essential Oil Significantly Improves Cognition in Young School Children

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle





Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-463
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Chemical Engineering and Science
Issue number04
Early online date30 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Oct 2017
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The inhalation of the aroma of Rosemary essential oil has been shown to enhance cognition in healthy adults. In this independent groups design study we exposed forty schoolchildren aged nine to eleven years to either Rosemary aroma or no aroma in a classroom setting where they completed standardised tests of working memory in fifteen minute procedure. Analysis of the data revealed that performance on the Immediate serial recall, Sentence span, and Counting span tasks were significantly better in the Rosemary aroma condition and possessed medium to large effect sizes. This is the first study to demonstrate such effects in children and suggests that the potential for enhancement is greater than in adults. The findings are discussed in terms of the potential for improving academic attainment through natural interventions and the possible mechanisms behind such effects.