The effect of the rose essential oil aroma on university students’ learning and short-term memory: A randomized controlled trial

Elif Ok 1 * , Vildan Kocatepe 1, Vesile Ünver 1
More Detail
1 Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Acıbadem Mehmet Ali Aydinlar University, Istanbul, Turkey
* Corresponding Author
J CLIN MED KAZ, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp. 32-37.
Download Full Text (PDF)


Aim: This randomized controlled experimental study analyzes the effect of the rose essential oil aroma on university students’ learning and recalling of information in short-term memory.
Material and methods: The study sample consisted of 131 students who had never attended hypoglycemia management education (first year), who had recently attended this education (sophomore), and who had attended this education a long time ago (third year). The experimental group was administered a pre-test before the education, and rose essential oil aroma was administered for all tests during and after the education. The control group only received the education and was administered the tests.
Results: No statistically significant differences were found between the pre-test and post-test mean scores of the experimental and control groups in third year students but the differences between the mean scores on the tests administered on the 7th and 30th days were statistically significant. A statistically significant difference was found between the post-test mean scores obtained by the experimental group students who had (second and third year) and had not (first year) attended this education on the 7th day.
Conclusion: This study found that the smell of rose extract did not affect immediate learning (working memory). However, it also indicated that people can remember previously learned information more easily when they repeat it using the essential oil of Rosa damascena. The study results suggest that students should review their studies between the 7th and 30th days after learning information in order to benefit from the effect of the odor of rose extract.


Ok E, Kocatepe V, Ünver V. The effect of the rose essential oil aroma on university students’ learning and short-term memory: A randomized controlled trial. J CLIN MED KAZ. 2021;18(1):32-7.


  • Mary S. The Art of Aromatherapy in Nursing Practice. Int. J. Psychiatr. Nurs. 2019; 5(1):88-91.
  • Kato Y, Endo H, Kobayakawa T, Kato K, Kitazaki S. Effects of Intermittent Odours on Cognitive-Motor Performance and Brain Functioning During Mental Fatigue. Ergonomics. 2012; 55(1):1-11.
  • Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Ducked P. Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differently Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults. Int. J. Neurosci. 2003; 113(1):15-38.
  • Martin GN, Chaudry A. Working Memory Performance and Exposure to Pleasant and Unpleasant Ambient Odor: Is Spatial Span Special? Int. J. Neurosci. 2014; 124(11):806-811.
  • Tildesley NTJ, Kennedy DO, Perry EK, Ballard CG, Savelev S. Wesnes, KA, Scholey AB. Salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish Sage) Enhances Memory in Healthy Young Volunteers. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003; 75(3):669-674.
  • Filiptsova OV, Gazzavi-Rogozina LV, Timoshyna IA, Naboka OI, Dyomina YeV, Ochkur AV. The Essential Oil of Rosemary and Its Effect on the Human Image and Numerical Short-Term Memory. Egyptian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 2017; 4:107–111.
  • Filiptsova OV, Gazzavi-Rogozina LV, Timoshyna IA, Naboka OI, Dyomina YeV, Ochkur AV. The Effect of the Essential Oils of Lavender and Rosemary on the Human Short-Term Memory. Alexandria J. Med. 2018; 54:41–44.
  • Esfandiary E, Abdolali Z, Omranifard V, Ghanadian M, Sararoud RB, Karimipour M, Mahaki B, Dabiri S. Novel Effects of Rosa damascena Extract on Patients with Neurocognitive Disorder and Depression: A Clinical Trial Study. Int J Prev Med. 2008; 9:57.
  • Broughan C. Odours, Emotions, and Cognition- How Odours May Affect Cognitive Performance. Int J Aromatherapy. 2002; 12:92-98.
  • Carvalho-Freitas MI, Costa M. Anxiolytic and Sedative Effects of Extracts and Essential Oil from Citrus Aurantium L. Biol Pharm Bull. 2002; 25:1629-1633.
  • Savic, I, Berglund H, Gulyas B, Roland P. Smelling of Odorous Sex Hormone-like Compounds Causes Sex-Differantiated Hypothalamic Activations in Humans. Neuron. 2001; 31:661-668.
  • Johnson AJ. Cognitive Facilitation Following Intentional Odor Exposure. Sensors. 2011; 11:5469-5488.
  • Mohebitabar S, Shirazi M, Bioos S, Rahimi R, Malekshahi F, Nejatbakhsh F. Therapeutic Efficacy of Rose Oil: A Comprehensive Review of Clinical Evidence. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2017; 7(3):206–213.
  • Özçelik H, Korkmaz M. Roses of Türkiye with Various Aspects [in Turkish]. SDU Journal of Science (E-Journal). 2015; 10(2):1-26.
  • Martin C, Gervais R, Messaoudi B, Ravel N. Learning-Induced Oscillatory Activities Correlated to Odour Recognition: A Network Activity. Eur J Neurosci. 2006; 23:1801-1810.
  • Rezvani-Kamran A, Salehi I, Shahidi S, Zarei M, Moradkhani S, Komaki A. Effects of the Hydroalcoholic Extract of Rosa Damascena on Learning and Memory in Male Rats Consuming a High-Fat Diet. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2017; 55(1):2065–2073.
  • Özçelik H, Muca B, Özavcı AGM. The Effects of Flowers and Oil of the Isparta Oil Rose (Rosa × damascena Mill.) on Headaches Caused by Stress in the Patients of Neurology and Psychology [in Turkish]. Biyoloji Bilimleri Araştırma Dergisi. 2011; 4(2):99-105.
  • Igarashi M, Ikei H, Song C, Miyazaki Y. Effects of Olfactory Stimulation with Rose and Orange Oil on Prefrontal Cortex Activity. Complement Ther Med. 2014; 22:1027-1031.
  • Neumann F, Oberhauser V, Kornmeier J. How odor cues help to optimize learning during sleep in a real life-setting. Sci. Rep. 2020; 10(1):1-8.
  • Nayebi N, Khalilib N, Kamalinejadc M, Emtiazya MA. Systematic Review of the Efficacy and Safety Of Rosa Damascena Mill. with an Overview on Its Phytopharmacological Properties. Complement Ther Med. 2017; 34:129-40.
  • Shirazi M, Mohebitabar S, Bioos S, Yekaninejad MS, Rahimi R, Shahpiri Z et al. The Effect of Topical Rosa Damascena (Rose) Oil on Pregnancy-Related Low Back Pain a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Evidence-Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 22(1):120-126.
  • Fernandez MLF, Ferrer MVP, Flores KAB, Florido AIA, Foronda KIL. The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy to Junior Nursing Students’ Anxiety, Concentration and Memory Retention. Int Arch Nurs Health Care. 2018:102.
  • Tyng Chai M, Amin HU, Saad MN, & Malik AS. The influences of emotion on learning and memory. Front. Psychol. 2017; 8:1454.
  • The Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism of Turkey (SEMT) Diabetes Mellitus Working Group. Clinical Practice Guideline for Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up of Diabetes Mellitus and Its Complications – 2019. English Version of the 12th Edition. Ankara: BAYT Bilimsel Araştırmalar Basın Yayın ve Tanıtım Ltd. Şti, 2019; 15-64.
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA). Diabetes Care. 2019; 42(1):61-70.
  • Razipour M, Irandoust K, Taheri M. Effect of aerobic training and Rosa damascene supplement on the memory of obese women. Int. Arch. Health Sci. 2019; 6(3):136.
  • Mohammadpour T, Hosseini M, Asieh A, Karami R, Sadeghnia HR, Soukhtanloo M, Vafaee F. Protection Against Brain Tissues Oxidative Damage as a Possible Mechanism for the Beneficial Effects of Rosa Damascena Hydroalcoholic Extract on Scopolamine Induced Memory Impairment in Rats. Nutr. Neurosci. 2015; 18(7):329-336.
  • Kavurmacı M, Küçükoğlu S, Tan M. Effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing test anxiety among nursing students. Indian J. Tradit. Knowl. 2015; 1(1):52-56.
  • Johnson CE. Effect of aromatherapy on cognitive test anxiety among nursing students. J Altern Complement Med. 2014; 20(2):84-87.
  • Hawiset T, Sriraksa N, Somwang P, Inkeaw P. Effect of orange essential oil inhalation on mood and memory in females humans. J Physiol Biomed Sci. 2016; 29(1):5-11.
  • Sulung N, Aulia FF. Effect of Rosemary Aromatherapy (Rosmarinus Officinalis) To Memory of Short-Term Memory in Elderly. Jurnal Endurance. 2018; 3(2):247-252.
  • Yildirim TA, Kitis Y. The Effect of Aromatherapy Application on Cognitive Functions and Daytime Sleepiness in Older Adults Living in a Nursing Home. HOLIST NURS PRACT. 2020; 34(2):83-90.