Britain’s biggest health food chain says sales of rosemary have almost tripled during exams season after researchers claimed that the smell of the herb could improve memory.
A study released earlier this month found that pupils who worked in a room with the aroma of rosemary oil boosted their results in memory tests by between five and seven percent.
Now Holland & Barrett says students and their parents have been rushing to stock up on rosemary products in the hope of giving them an edge in tests, with GCSE, A Level and university exams all underway.
According to the retailer, sales of the essential oil have soared by 270% week on week since the study was released, and are up 187% compared to the same time last year.
A spokesperson for Holland & Barrett said: “Following the Northumbria University research pointing to a positive link between rosemary and memory in students, we saw a sharp rise in customer demand for our 100% pure Miaroma Rosemary Essential Oil, with sales increasing by almost 300 per cent on the previous week.
“As exam season continues, we have increased provision in store to meet demand, and our trained associates are on hand as always to answer any questions customers may have about the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils.”
The Northumbria University study saw 40 children aged 10 and 11 perform mental tasks in two rooms - one that smelled of rosemary and one with no aroma.
Children in the rosemary-scented room outperformed their peers, with their ability to recall words seeing the biggest improvement.
Author of the study Mark Moss told ITV News at the time: “It could be that aromas affect electrical activity in the brain or that pharmacologically active compounds can be absorbed when adults are exposed.
“We do know that poor working memory is related to poor academic performance and these findings offer a possible cost-effective and simple intervention to improve academic performance in children.”
However, he added that the levels of impact varied and some people saw no improvement in their memory.