Benefits of a little Rosemary in your life …


This from the fabulous gals of The Age Well Project!

From moving to hair-washing – and a very simple ‘hack’, thanks to Dr James Duke writing in a recent issue of Alzheimer’s Weekly.  Dr Duke suggests that rosemary – a very powerful herb we’ve written about before - is as effective as an Alzheimer’s drug called donepezil (or Aricept@), and without any side-effects.

“Rosemary contains more than a dozen antioxidants and a half-dozen compounds reported to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine [which the brain needs but which disappears rapidly in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s]. It’s fabulous that the classical herb of remembrance has so many compounds that might help people suffering from Alzheimer’s,” he said, before suggesting that we might like to regularly wash our hair with rosemary shampoo. Some of its powerful  phytochemicals, he says, will enter our brain via our scalp.

The Husband and I have been using Avalon Organic rosemary shampoo for years – and I was delighted to hear that it may have been working as much on our brains as on our hair. Using rosemary body lotion, drinking rosemary tea and cooking with rosemary all help, according to Dr Duke. You can read the full piece here. Meanwhile I have rosemary oil on my diffuser’s nightly roster (along with lemon, eucalyptus, lavender and pine, which I’m rotating) following my last post on the powerfully brain-enhancing benefits of scented-oil-before-bed. Susan often works alongside a diffusing mist of rosemary oil.

I’m not sure the experiment is improving my sleep, but I feel perfectly fine every day. And I’m not worrying about my sleep because a few weeks ago a study popped into my in-box, suggesting that the effects of lack of sleep (or poor quality sleep) are counteracted by … movement!

Evidence has been mounting for a while, indicating that exercise can compensate for poor sleep. A 2022 study found that 25 minutes a day of activity could erase the risk of early death associated with either too much or too little sleep. But a huge studypublished earlier this year found that higher amounts of exercise virtually eliminated all risk of early death associated with too much or too little sleep.

In this ground-breaking study, 92,000 British participants (aged 43 – 70) were tracked and followed for seven years. During this time 3,080 of them died, mostly from cancer or heart disease. The participants least likely to die also exercised the most and slept the “normal” amount (6 to 8 hours a night, as defined by the study). Meanwhile those who exercised the least and slept less than 6 hours were 2.5 times more likely to die, as were those who got the recommended amount of sleep but didn’t exercise.

All risks disappeared for poorly sleeping participants (yes, that’s those getting less than six hours of shut-eye a night) who managed half an hour of exercise five days a week.  Moderate or vigorous movement counted, so a simple, brisk walk did the trick.

How so? ‘Exercise fights inflammatory and metabolic dysregulation and [stress],’ said Dr Jihui Zhang.  And these are often the prompts for cardiovascular disease and other potentially fatal conditions.

In other words, our priority should be movement – above all else.  I’ve just been in Sardinia learning the truth about blue zones (more to come on this), but outdoor movement appears to be the single most important factor in the longevity of Sardinian Blue Zoners. Oh, and protein – but that’s for another post.

Keep moving, preferably outside.  Whatever the weather, light or temperature. It’s quite possibly the single best investment you can make in your now and future health and wellbeing…


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