A powerful compound in rosemary protects your brain from damage

Are you in need of stress relief? According to a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, carnosol, an antioxidant compound found in rosemary, can relieve chronic stress and help fend off its side effects on the body.

The American Psychology Association (APA) reports that a large percentage of Americans, including children, are experiencing chronic stress or its symptoms. A 2010 survey revealed that 44 percent of respondents suffered more significant levels of stress than they did the past year. Common causes included finances, employment, and the economy.

The APA warns that chronic stress cannot be ignored as it can result in far-reaching consequences. Stress disrupts brain function, leading to confusion, depression, and anxiety, but its effects do not stop there. Stress also affects other parts of the body, causing conditions like body pain, difficulty or rapid breathing, irregular menstruation in women, erectile dysfunction in men, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

More worrisome is the revelation that chronic stress is affecting younger people, too. The noted survey indicated that almost a third of children had experienced physical stress-related symptoms, such as headaches, stomach troubles, and difficulty sleeping. Overweight children were of particular concern as experts noted that stress and being overweight has a bidirectional relationship, meaning that either could be a cause and an effect of each other.

A study funded by the Research Affairs of Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences looked into the de-stressing ability of carnosol, a compound found abundantly in rosemary. Their study focused on the antioxidant’s ability to protect the brain from damage caused by stress.

In their study, the researchers induced stress in rats by keeping them in plexiglass restrainers for an hour every day for 21 days. After that, the rodents were injected with a vehicle or carnosol for 21 days.

After the experiment, the animals were taken out of their enclosure and subjected to behavioral tests to determine their stress levels. These included an open field and a free swimming test. They were then sacrificed and put through biochemical analysis to assess oxidative stress parameters, including the activities of malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced glutathione (GSH), as well as superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and catalase (CAT) in the brain.

Upon examination, the researchers noted that the animals showed signs of chronic stress in the behavioral tests, specifically, increased mobility in the free swimming test and a decreased tendency to cross the open field test. The levels of MDA also increased, marking heightened oxidative stress. This finding was supported by reductions in GSH and antioxidant enzymes in the stressed rats.

The researchers discovered that carnosol treatment ameliorated these changes, an effect that they compared to certain chemical antidepressants. They concluded that these effects make carnosol effective in enhancing antioxidant defenses against stress and reducing oxidative injury.

Natural ways to relieve stress

Antidepressants are notorious for their adverse effects which include trouble sleeping, headaches, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. Some patients even experience heightened suicidal tendencies. Thankfully, there are natural ways to fight stress without the side effects.

  • Lavender – This herb has a soothing scent that helps calm the nerves, reduce blood pressure, and make it easier to sleep.
  • Chocolate and strawberry – Sugar is good for stress, but too much of it is bad for the body. The combination of dark chocolate and strawberries will provide all the health benefits of both items – including vitamin C to fight free radicals and compounds that fight cortisol, the stress hormone – without the health risks.
  • A bath – Water has a soothing effect on both the mind and the body. For the best results, one can infuse the bath water with lavender essential oils to maximize relaxation.
  • A massage – A scalp massage or the gentle strokes used in Swedish massage are ideal for de-stressing the body. Adding aromatherapy to the mix will provide added benefits.

Discover other ways to relieve stress at Remedies.news.

Sources include:



APA.org 1

APA.org 2



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