If you use essential oils, you’ve probably heard they can help boost memory. Now, where did you hear that again . . . ?
One of the classic uses of essential oils is memory and mental acuity.
Some plants have been used this way since ancient times, and recent research is revealing just why their essential oils are so effective for memory.
A big essential oil player in memory performance is rosemary. In ancient Greece, students would wear rosemary garlands while taking exams. They believed it would help them get better grades. And Ophelia may have been a little off her rocker, but Shakespeare wasn’t when he gave her the line, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
It turns out that rosemary does improve mental performance. Here’s how:
One of the main chemical neurotransmitters in the brain is acetylcholine. It helps synapses fire. However, the brain also produces an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase (Try saying that five times fast! We like the acronym “AChE” better.), which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, meaning slower synapses and reduced brain performance. The constituents of rosemary essential oil block AChE, meaning more acetylcholine is present, and more synapses fire at a quicker rate.
Some of the most popular pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for Alzheimer’s contain AChE inhibitors.
In rosemary essential oil, these constituents include 1,8 cineole, a-pinene, and (to an extent) camphor.
It’s also been shown to increase the release of dopamine, which not only helps you feel better, but boosts brain power.
Peppermint is another popular essential oil for memory.
In a recent study, researchers compared the effects of peppermint, ylang ylang, and no essential oil on test takers. Peppermint was found to significantly improve both performance and mental alertness, while ylang ylang seemed to slow both down (ylang ylang is more of a calming oil, popular for insomnia blends). A similar study compared rosemary and lavender, and found that rosemary boosted mental performance and mood, but lavender—while boosting mood—slowed mental performance down a little.
Other oils that enhance memory and brain power include sage (especially clary sage), basil, and juniper berry.
You can use these brain-boosting essential oils by diffusing them through your home, or blending them in a little jojoba and rolling them on your skin anytime you need to focus and think clearly. Our Tazeka “Concentrate” blend is great for this!