Improve Your Memory and Prevent Cancer With This Holiday Plant

  • The holidays don’t have to die with your tree. This plant can last for years!
  • Before science, Shakespeare told of this amazing memory enhancer
  • Fill your oven and house with cancer-fighting and memory-boosting joy 

“How about one of those little tree top ones?”

“No thanks. I have what I came for.”

“Ma’am, are you sure?”

“Yes, this is perfect.”

“OK, if you say so — but you know it’s not a tree, right?”

“I do. It’s a wonderful shrub, and I will get a lot of healthy use out of it, thanks.”

This is the conversation I have every year at the holiday tree lot.

I buy a fragrant holiday potted plant in lieu of a cut tree every year, and sometimes to the tree lot attendant’s dismay.

I do this mostly because of the plant’s many health benefits. Some of these include brain function support and cancer-fighting agents — I will share more in a bit.

Plus, it is easy to transplant, provides a cheery fragrance to your home, and is a tasty addition to holiday meals.

First, I will share how it became a part of my holiday traditions.

I’ve only bought one cut holiday tree. It was beautiful and fragrant, but it made me a little sad when I had to drag its lifeless branches to the side of the road on New Year’s Day.

After that, I bought a potted tree and tried to help it survive in my yard.

I soon found out helping a blue spruce thrive in the hot climate and sandy soil of Florida (where I was living at the time) is not really an achievable goal for an amateur gardener like myself.

The following year, I bought my grandmother a potted rosemary plant.

She replanted it in her yard, where it grew to be enormous. In fact, it thrived in her yard for five years before it was removed for construction purposes.

I realized it was more fragrant than a cut tree and much easier to transplant than a potted pine tree.

Suddenly, the string of holiday lights clicked on in my head — I can buy a rosemary bush instead of a tree every holiday season.

And so I have for the past 10 years.

I decorate my little rosemary bush with a string of lights and place it on my dining room table or in a window every year. When the holiday is over, I either repot in a larger pot (as I no longer have a yard) or gift it to a friend.

What I didn’t realize until a few years into my rosemary tradition was its health benefits.

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance” – Ophelia in Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

As William Shakespeare points out in Hamlet, rosemary has a long association with memory.

These days, science helps validate rosemary extract as a cognitive enhancer.

In fact, a study done by researchers at Northumbria University found that 1.8-cineole, a chemical in rosemary oil can help promote brain performance.

In this study, one group of participants were in a rosemary scented-room and then asked to preform memory tasks. Another group were in an unscented room and asked to perform the same tasks.

Jemma McCready, a researcher involved in the study, reported:

 “The difference between the two groups was 60-75 percent. For example, one group would remember to do seven things compared with four tasks completed by those who did not smell the oil, and they were quicker… These findings may have implications for treating individuals with memory impairments.”1

1.8-cineole may work in the same way as some prescription drugs do to treat dementia, by causing an increase in acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

Inhalation may be the best way to get therapeutics into the brain. By entering the blood-stream through the nose, the chemicals can go directly to the brain and bypass any degradation caused by the stomach or liver.2

You shouldn’t spend your days with your face buried in a rosemary plant or a bottle of essential oil, so I will share how to infuse your home with its memory-boosting benefits in a moment.

Rosemary has also shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells via in vivo and in vitro studies.

One study done at the University of British Columbia revealed the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary extract to hinder human breast cancer and leukemia cell growth.3

In addition, another study found rosemary may have the ability to suppress tumor development in human organs. These include colon, liver, breast, stomach, as well as leukemia and melanoma cells.4

But rosemary’s benefits don’t end there.

Healthy Holidays

Rosemary adds an aromatic element to your environment and it makes a delicious addition to many recipes.

And the best news is rosemary plants are readily available at tree lots, nurseries, and big-box hardware stores. Choose organic if available.

Depending on the plant’s size, the price can range from $10-40.

Once you get a plant, there are many ways to enhance your holidays with rosemary.

You can add rosemary to any savory dish. I like to add the leaves of a few sprigs to my roasted sweet potatoes or sauteed vegetables.

Rubbing meats with rosemary can provide a robust flavor. I will usually add a handful of sprigs into a beef tenderloin marinade or to the roasting pan of a whole chicken. This practice also results in your kitchen smelling wonderful.

But my favorite thing is to infuse my whole apartment with the smell of fresh rosemary.

Here’s how to get started:

Rosemary humidifier

  1. Cut 5-7 sprigs of rosemary from your plant and rinse them thoroughly.
  2. Bring 2-3 cups of water to a low boil on your stove top. Add the rosemary sprigs and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Let the pot remain at a simmer, uncovered, until your home fills with the fresh aroma of rosemary or as long you like. Be sure to add more water as the level evaporates.

If you prefer a stronger scent, you can add more sprigs of rosemary or other aromatics like cinnamon or ginger. The added humidity from the steam will help to reduce dry nasal passages and dry skin caused by artificial heat.

Rosemary essential oil is a fine substitute for fresh sprigs if you are unable to locate a plant. Add drops one by one to the water before it’s heated until you reach a desired level of scent. I would recommend 10-15.

Do you have a favorite holiday scent? Let me know!

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily

P.S. If you are keeping your plant inside, be sure it gets lots of direct sunlight. Also, your plant needs to be in a container with good drainage and never let the soil completely dry out. I water mine every two days.


[1] What does rosemary do to your brain?

[2] Why a whiff of rosemary DOES help you remember: Sniffing the herb can increase memory by 75%


[3] Rosemary Extract: Cancer Fighter, Brain Protector, and More!

[4] Rosemary and cancer prevention: preclinical perspectives.

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

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