Susan Farr, Ph.D., research professor geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said that although the study suggested that eating spearmint and rosemary is good for you, their experiments were in an animal model and she doesn't know how much- or if any amount- of these herbs people would have to consume for learning and memory to improve.
Farr tested a novel antioxidant-based ingredient made from spearmint extract and two different doses of a similar antioxidant made from rosemary extract on mice that have age-related cognitive decline.
She found that the higher dose rosemary extract compound was the most powerful in improving memory and learning in three tested behaviours. The lower dose rosemary extract improved memory in two of the behavioural tests, as did the compound made from spearmint extract.
Further, there were signs of reduced oxidative stress, which is considered a hallmark of age-related decline, in the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.
"Our research suggests these extracts made from herbs might have beneficial effects on altering the course of age-associated cognitive decline," Farr said. "It's worth additional study."
The study was presented at Neuroscience 2013.