Aromas of Salvia Species Enhance Everyday Prospective Memory Performance in Healthy Young Adults


Research has previously demonstrated that aromas of both Salvia officinalis and Salvia lavandulaefolia are capable of modulating aspects of retrospective memory, attention and mood. This study is the first to report the potential for these aromas to enhance everyday prospective memory performance in healthy young adults. In an independent groups design, three conditions, Salvia officinalis aroma, Saliva lavandulaefolia aroma and no aroma were employed with 45 healthy volunteers in each condition. Prospective memory performance was assessed using the Prospective Remembering Video Procedure. Data analysis revealed that the Salvia officinalis aroma group performed significantly better than the control group on both event and action subscales of the prospective memory task. Saliva lavandulaefolia aroma only led to enhancement for the event measure when compared to controls. No differences were found between the aroma conditions. These findings offer support for those previously reported for the effects of the aromas of Salvia sp. on cognition and again demonstrate differential effects of the two aromas. The results are considered in terms of pharmacological mechanisms.

Share and Cite:

Moss, M. , Rouse, M. and Moss, L. (2014) Aromas of Salvia Species Enhance Everyday Prospective Memory Performance in Healthy Young Adults. Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science, 4, 339-346. doi: 10.4236/aces.2014.43037.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ryman, D. (1991) Aromatherapy: The Encyclopaedia of Plants and Oils and How They Help You. Judy Piatkus, London.
[2] Emslie, M.J., Campbell, M.K. and Walker, K.A. (2002) Change in Public Awareness of, Attitudes to, and Use of Complementary Therapy in North East Scotland: Survey in 1993 and 1999. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 10, 148-153.
[3] Mantle, D., Pickering, A.T. and Perry, E.K. (2000) Medical Plant Extracts for the Treatments of Dementia: A Review of Their Pharmacology, Efficacy and Tolerability. CNS Drugs, 13, 201-213.
[4] Savelev, S., Okello, E., Perry, N.S.L., Wilkins, R.M. and Perry, E.K. (2003) Synergistic and Antoagonistic Interactions of Anticholinesterase Terpenoids in Salvia lavandulaefolia Essential Oil. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour, 75, 661-668.
[5] Perry, N., Court, G., Bidet, N., Court, J. and Perry, E. (1996) European Herbs with Cholinergic Activities: Potential in Dementia Therapy. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 11, 1063-1069.<1063::AID-GPS532>3.0.CO;2-1
[6] Perry, N.S.L., Houghton, P., Theobald, A., Jenner, P. and Perry, E.K. (2000) In Vitro Inhibition of Human Erythrocyte Acetylcholinesterase by Salvia lavandulaefolia Essential Oil and Constituents Terpenes. Journal of Pharmacology, 52, 895-902.
[7] Akhondzadeh, S., Noroozian, M., Mohammadi, M., Ohadinia, S., Jamshidi, A.H. and Khani, M. (2003) Salvia officinalis Extract in the Treatment of Patients with Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease: A Double Blind, Randomized and Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 28, 53-59.
[8] Kennedy, D.O., Pace, S., Haskell, C., Okello, E.J., Milne, A. and Scholey, A.B. (2006) Effects of Cholinesterase Inhibiting Sage (Salvia officinalis) on Mood, Anxiety and Performance on a Psychological Stressor Battery. Neuropsycho-pharmacology, 31, 845-852.
[9] Tildesley, N.T.J. (2007) The Neurocogntive Effects of Salvia (Sage) in Health and Disease. Ph.D. Thesis, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, Unpublished.
[10] Scholey, A.B., Tildesley, N.T.J., Ballard, C.G., Wesnes, K.A., Tasker, A., Perry, E.K. and Kennedy, D.O. (2008) An Extract of Salvia (Sage) with Anticholinesterase Properties Improves Memory and Attention in Healthy Older Volunteers. Psychopharmacology, 198, 127-139.
[11] Tildesley, N.T.J., Kennedy, D.O., Perry, E.K., Ballard, C.G., Savelev, S., Wesnes, K.A. and Scholey, A.B. (2003) Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish Sage) Enhances Memory in Health Young Volunteers. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour, 75, 669-674.
[12] Tildesley, N.T.J., Kennedy, E.K., Perry, C.G., Ballard, C.G., Wesnes, K.A. and Scholey, A.B. (2005) Positive Modulation of Mood and Cognitive Performance Following Administration of Acute Doses of Salvia lavandulaefolia Essential Oil to Healthy Young Volunteers. Physiology and Behaviour, 83, 699-709.
[13] Moss, M., Cook, J., Wesnes, K. and Duckett, P. (2003) Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differently Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults. International Journal of Neuroscience, 113, 15-38.
[14] Moss, M., Hewitt, S., Moss, L. and Wesnes, K. (2008) Modulation of Cognitive Performance and Mood by Aromas of Peppermint and Ylang-Ylang. International Journal of Neuroscience, 118, 59-77.
[15] Kovar, K.A., Gropper, B., Friess, D. and Ammon, H.R.T. (1987) Blood Levels of 1,8-Cineole and Locomotor Activity of Mice after Inhalation and Oral Administration of Rosemary Oil. Planta Medica, 53, 315-318.
[16] Moss, L., Rouse, M. and Moss, M. (2010) Differential Effects of the Aromas of Salvia Species on Memory and Mood. Human Psychopharmacology—Clinical and Experimental, 25, 388-396.
[17] Moss, M. and Oliver, L. (2012) Plasma 1,8-Cineole Correlates with Cognitive Performance Following Exposure to Rosemary Essential Oil Aroma. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 2, 103-113.
[18] Brandimonte, M., Einstein, G.O. and McDaniel, M.A. (1996) Prospective Memory: Theory and Applications. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New York.
[19] Smith, G., Della Sala, S., Logie, R.H. and Maylor, E.A. (2000) Prospective and Retrospective Memory in Normal Ageing and Dementia: A Questionnaire Study. Memory, 8, 311-321.
[20] Thompson, C.L., Henry, J.D., Withall, A., Rendell, P.G. and Brodaty, H. (2011) A Naturalistic Study of Prospective Memory in MCI and Dementia. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50, 425-434.
[21] Heffernan, T., O’Neill, T., Ling, J., Bartholomew, J. and Betney, G. (2006) Does Excessive Alcohol Use in Teenagers Affect Their Everyday Prospective Memory? Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing, 953, 302-307.
[22] Rogers, J., Buchanan, T., Scholey, A.B., Heffernan, T.M., Ling, J. and Parrott, A. (2003) Patterns of Drug Use and the Influence of Gender on Self-Reports of Memory Ability in Ecstasy Users: A Web-Based Study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 17, 389-396.
[23] Rendell, P.G., Gray, T.J., Henry, J.D. and Tolan, A. (2007) Prospective Memory Impairment in “Ecstasy” (MDMA) Users. Psychopharmacology, 194, 497-504.
[24] Heffernan, T., Clark, R., Bartholomew, J., Ling, J. and Stephens, S. (2010) Does Binge Drinking in Teenagers Affect Their Everyday Prospective Memory? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 109, 73-78.
[25] Heffernan, T., O’Neill, T. and Moss, M. (2010) Smoking and Everyday Prospective Memory: A Comparison of Self-Report and Objective Methodologies. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 112, 234-238.
[26] McKitrick, L.A., Camp, C.J. and Black, F.W. (1992) Prospective Memory Intervention in Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Gerontology, 47, 337-343.
[27] Nater, U.M., Okere, U., Stallkamp, R., Moor, C., Ehlert, U. and Kliegel, M. (2006) Psychosocial Stress Enhances Time-Based Prospective Memory in Healthy Young Men. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 86, 344-348.
[28] Bartholomew, J., Holroyd, S. and Heffernan, T.M. (2010) Does Cannabis Use Affect Prospective Memory in Young Adults? Journal of Psychopharmacology, 24, 241-246.
[29] Ellis, J. and Kvavilashvili, L. (2000) Prospective Memory in 2000: Past, Present, and Future Directions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14, S1-S9.
[30] Kliegel, M., McDaniel M.A. and Einstein, G.O. (Eds.) (2008) Prospective Memory: Cognitive, Neuroscience, Developmental, and Applied Perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New York.
[31] Salthouse, T.A., Berish, D.E. and Siedlecki, K.L. (2004) Construct Validity and Age Sensitivity of Prospective Memory. Memory & Cognition, 32, 1133-1148.
[32] Rusted, J., Ruest, T. and Gray, M.A. (2011) Acute Effects of Nicotine Administration during Prospective Memory, an Event Related fMRI Study. Neuropsychologica, 49, 2362-2368.
[33] Baron, R.A. and Bronfen, M.I. (1994) A Whiff of Reality: Empirical Evidence Concerning the Effects of Pleasant Fragrances on Work-Related Behaviour. The Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 1179-1203.
[34] Baron, R.A. and Thomley, J. (1994) A Whiff of Reality: Positive Affect as a Potential Mediator of Effects of Pleasant Fragrances on Task Performance and Helping. Environment and Behavior, 26, 766-784.
[35] Howard, S. and Hughes, B.M. (2008) Expectancies, Not Aroma, Explain Impact of Lavender Aromatherapy on Psychophysiological Indices of Relaxation in Young Healthy Women. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 603-617.
[36] Moss, M., Howarth, R., Wilkinson, L. and Wesnes, K. (2006) Expectancy and the Aroma of Chamomile Influence Mood and Cognition in Healthy Volunteers. International Journal of Aromatherapy, 16, 63-73.
[37] Farrimond, S., Knight, R.G. and Titov, N. (2006) The Effects of Aging on Remembering Intentions: Performance on a Simulated Shopping Task. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20, 533-555.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.