Spearmint and Rosemary Extracts Improve Learning and Memory in Mice, Study Says


Results of a new animal study suggest rosemary and spearmint extracts may offer benefits to learning, memory, and brain-tissue markers of oxidation that occur with age.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/dirkr

Photo © iStockphoto.com/dirkr

Researchers have found new evidence suggesting spearmint and rosemary extracts may improve learning and memory in mice. In a study recently published in Physiology and Behavior, they report that SAMP8 mice taking spearmint extract with 5% rosmarinic acid, rosemary extract with 60% carnosic acid, or rosemary extract with 10% carnosic acid all demonstrated cognitive improvements that may have implications for human use of these ingredients.

For 90 days, the mice were given one of the three aforementioned administrations of spearmint extract or rosemary extract. Then SAM8 mice were chosen in particular because previous studies have shown that species of mice to be a reliable model for cognitive health solutions in humans. After the treatment period, all mice participated in T-maze foot shock avoidance, object recognition, and lever press tests. Their brain tissues were also examined for markers of oxidative stress.

Mice supplementing with rosemary extract containing 60% carnosic acid showed improvements to acquisition and retention in the T-maze foot shock, lever press, and object recognition tests. The 10% carnosic group (also from rosemary extract) showed improvements to retention in T-maze foot shock avoidance and lever press. And the spearmint group (5% rosmarinic acid) showed improved acquisition and retention in the T-maze foot shock avoidance and object recognition.

Additionally, researchers found beneficial effects to several brain tissue markers of oxidation, including reductions to 4-hydroxynonenal in the brain cortex of mice taking all experimental treatments compared to placebo. And in the groups taking the 10% carnosic acid rosemary and the 5% rosmarinic acid spearmint extracts, researchers observed a reduction of protein carbonyls in the hippocampus.

Kemin (Des Moines, IA), a supplier of the spearmint-based cognitive-health ingredient Neumentix Phenolic Complex K110-42, noted that these findings on brain tissue markers of oxidative stress provide “the first indications of how these potent extracts may act in the brain to improve cognitive performance.” Kemin shared the results of these studies in a recent press release celebrating the findings as possible support for the “antioxidant mechanism of action for Neumentix Phenolic Complex K110-42.”

“The results suggest that these extracts have exciting possibilities for cognitive benefits in humans,” said Susan Farr, PhD, lead author of the study. “In addition, the reduction in oxidative stress markers in specific areas of the mouse brain indicates that these extracts are having effects at the cellular level in the brain, which could be a mechanism for the observed learning and memory improvements.”


Read more:

Spearmint Extract Improves Cognitive Performance?

Andrographis Extract Promotes Memory and Cognitive Health?

2016 Ingredient Trends to Watch for Food, Drinks, and Dietary Supplements: Brain Health Ingredients


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Farr SA et al., “Effect of botanical extracts containing carnosic acid or rosmarinic acid on learning and memory in SAMP8 mice,” Physiology and Behavior, vol. 165 (October 2016): 328–338 

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