MEMORY AND RECALL – TRY SOME PEPPERMINT
When it comes to memory and recall, there are dozens (or maybe hundreds) of clever tricks to help improve your ability to remember important information. There’s the old string-around-the-finger trick to help you remember to pick up eggs from the store on your way home. Or using mnemonics to help you remember by substituting a word with the same first letter as the word you’re supposed to remember (such as My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles to remember the planets in order). You can also create small quizzes for yourself to help build recall on specific subjects.
Mice and Peppermint
And then there’s peppermint. You read that right – Peppermint (like in candy canes or chewing gum). A study published in 2022 studied mice with an amyloid precursor protein in their genetics. This is an indicator of symptoms related to Alzheimer’s in humans. The mice with this condition are typically unable to remember small tasks learned in their recent past. Researchers considered if the smell of peppermint in the form of peppermint oil could have an impact on the ability of the mice to remember what they had been taught the day before by using a water maze the mice needed to navigate and a shuttle box they needed to learn to escape from.
Peppermint Can Change Your Brain
Two groups of mice were taught how to succeed at both tasks. One group was exposed to the smell of peppermint for several days before the test while another group was not given the peppermint. The results of the tests showed that the mice exposed to the peppermint oil performed better consistently over their counterparts. According to researchers, the peppermint was found to have made changes to the biochemistry in the brains of the mice, reducing the effects of degenerative conditions. The mice who smelled the peppermint oil first learned new tricks and remembered them despite having Alzheimer’s-type conditions. Researchers were able to see physiological differences in the brains of this group of mice, confirming the idea that the peppermint really did have a measurable impact.
Ylang-Ylang vs. Peppermint
According to an article in the International Journal of Neuroscience, peppermint enhanced memory more effectively as compared to other scents. Study participants were divided into three groups: those who were given peppermint to smell; those who were given ylang-ylang to smell; and the control group who were not give a scent. Subjects were evaluated based on mood scale both before and after the testing, and on a cognitive performance test. Subjects who smelled ylang-ylang seemed to have more impaired memory and slowed processing. They also reported a decrease in alertness, but an increase in calmness. Peppermint increased subjects’ alertness and subjectively elevated their mood. They were better able to recall information and performed faster on tests than either of the other two groups.
Get Your Practice Test – and Some Peppermint!
The evidence is solid – peppermint really can help you remember. That’s why Prov includes peppermint candies with items we ship from our bookstore including books and practice tests. Our hope is that we can help candidates remember more as they study and recall more during the actual test. Check out our blog for other helpful tips for candidates!