Essential Oils, Fertility

Essential Oils For ‘Mom Brain’ & Improving Your Memory

Updated on 25 July 2021 • 9 minute read
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Overview

Are you struggling with ‘Mom Brain’ or fuzzy thinking, mama?  Are you having trouble focusing? Some essential oils may help you improve your memory and concentration.

A 2018 study discovered that rosemary essential oil may help improve short-term memory in students and teens to focus on their studies and have better cognitive performance. (1)

Aside from rosemary, what other essential oils are good for memory and focus? Find out below.

 

Essential Oils For Memory

For centuries, EOs (essential oils) have been used by people to stay calm or boost their mood. 

As early as 4500 BC, the Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use these oils for various health benefits. (2)

Cleopatra, called the “Queen of Flowers”, supposedly loved using essential oils from ward (rose) petals for her skincare routine. (2)

But did you know that these EOs can be used to improve memory and cognitive performance, too?

The uplifting effects of these oils may improve brain health and the central nervous system

They may also help slow down memory loss often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that affect cognitive function.

The following EOs might help you improve your mental clarity and combat ‘Mom Brain’/brain fog (symptoms that can affect your thinking ability):

 

Rosemary Essential Oil

  • Researchers discovered that rosemary EO may significantly improve students’ short-term memory to help them remember their lessons, particularly memorizing numbers. (1)
  • Rosemary EOs combined with lemon, lavender, and orange may help improve cognitive function, especially in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. (3)(4)
  • Researchers determined that study subjects with higher 1,8-cineole levels (aromatic component in rosemary and other EOs) may have better cognitive performance and mood scores than those with lower levels. (5)(6)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Not safe for babies and children under 6 years old
  • Not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have epilepsy 
  • Toxic if ingested (topical use only)

 

Lavender Essential Oil

  • Lavender EO may help you balance strong emotions. (4)
  • It has a calming effect. (4)
  • This oil may also help you concentrate on your tasks. (4)
  • It can be sprayed on linens, used as a massage oil, or inhaled directly and through a diffuser.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • No contraindications are known. 
  • Don’t use it in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Don’t use it on infants under three months of age. 
  • Discontinue use if you experience an allergic reaction. 

 

Peppermint Essential Oil

  • This essential oil is an energizer that may help stimulate your mind. (6)(7)
  • It might also help calm your nerves so you can focus more on your tasks. (6)(7)
  • It may also help improve your memory quality by enhancing visual attention (a cognitive function that helps you focus and filter out irrelevant information). (6)(7)
  • It can be used with a diffuser or as a massage oil.
  • This oil can also be used in your bath or sprayed in the air.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Use only with children 6+ years old
  • Can be neurotoxic (toxic to the central and peripheral nervous system)
  • May irritate mucous membranes
  • Can be choleretic (can affect bile secretion from the liver)
  • Don’t use it if you have epilepsy

 

Bergamot Oil

  • This oil comes from the rind of citrus fruits called bergamot orange.
  • It may help relieve mild depression and anxiety. (4)
  • It could help improve your mood and memory. (4)
  • This uplifting oil might also help you relieve insomnia. (4)
  • This citrus oil may help you improve focus and increase concentration. (4)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • It’s a phototoxic oil that can cause burns when skin is exposed to sunlight
  • It may irritate sensitive skin
  • It’s safe for use in pregnancy
  • Avoid using with children below 6 years old

 

Lemon Balm Oil Or Melissa Oil

  • It’s made from the leaves of the lemon balm plant, Melissa officinalis.
  • This oil may have memory-enhancing effects. (8)
  • It could also be used for its antiviral and antioxidant activities. (8)(9)
  • It may help relieve depression, insomnia, and body malaise (lack of energy or extreme tiredness). (8)(9)
  • It can be placed in your bath.
  • It can be applied topically directly to your skin after dilution with a carrier oil.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin sensitization
  • Potentially teratogenic (can disrupt your baby’s development in the womb); avoid use during pregnancy
  • Safe for use with children 2+ years old
  • May interact with certain drugs; consult a doctor before use

 

Lemon Essential Oil

  • Lemon essential oil is different from lemon balm.
  • It comes from the Citrus limon plant or lemon plant.
  • It’s classified as one of the citrus oils used in foods and medicinal purposes. (10)
  • Its antioxidant activity may help in improving cognitive function. (10)
  • It may also reduce anxiety. (10)
  • This classic citrus oil may be topically applied to your skin.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Cold-pressed lemon oil is phototoxic; steam distilled lemon oil is not. 
  • If you’re using cold-pressed lemon oil, avoid sunlight exposure 12 hours after use. 
  • Topical use may irritate sensitive skin. Perform a patch test. 
  • Use within six months of purchasing. 

 

Ylang-Ylang Oil

  • This oil has a calming effect that may help a person with Alzheimer’s Disease have a better sleep. (4)
  • It’s also an oil that may be used for memory improvement. (4)
  • Even if it’s a calming oil, ylang-ylang may help boost alertness and attentiveness. (4)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin sensitization
  • Safe to use during pregnancy
  • Safe with children 2+ years old
  • Excessive use can cause headaches and nausea

 

Ginger Oil

  • This oil may help promote good eating habits. (9)
  • It’s an oil that might also help improve memory function. (11)(9)
  • It may be helpful as a cognitive enhancer. (11)
  • These positive cognitive benefits can be attributed to the oil’s antioxidant properties. (11)
  • Ginger could be used for topical application (as massage oil).
  • It may be used by inhalation using a diffuser or placed on a compress.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin irritation
  • Safe for use during pregnancy
  • Safe for use with children 2+ years old

 

Spearmint Oil

  • This oil, especially when mixed with rosemary, might help improve memory and learning. (12)
  • This oil may also help you focus and relieve symptoms of anxiety. (12)
  • It has antioxidant properties and can provide emotional support. (12)
  • It may be used with a diffuser.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Safe for use during pregnancy
  • Safe for use with children 2+ years old

 

Eucalyptus Oil

  • The 1,8-cineole compounds in this oil may help stimulate your brain. (9)
  • It might also help you have more energy. (9)
  • This oil can also promote a better mood and help you focus. (9)
  • It’s an oil often used in essential oil blends.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Not safe for babies and children under 6 years old
  • Not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas
  • Don’t use it if you have high blood pressure
  • Unsafe to use if you have epilepsy 
  • Don’t use it if you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines

 

Frankincense Oil

  • This oil may help balance your central nervous system. (13)
  • Frankincense oil might be useful for improving your spatial memory (remembering locations). (13)
  • It’s an aromatic oil that can make a grounding experience while meditating or doing yoga.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin sensitization after exposure to sunlight
  • It’s safe to use during pregnancy
  • It’s safe for children 2+ years old

 

Basil Oil

  • This oil contains linalool, an aromatic compound that may help reduce memory loss. (16)
  • It might help reduce symptoms of anxiety. (6)
  • It can be used through direct inhalation. (6)
  • It may be used as a bath mixture with a carrier oil and Epsom salts.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin sensitization
  • Unsafe for use during pregnancy
  • Avoid using with children below 6 years old

 

Sandalwood Oil

  • This oil comes from the sandalwood tree native to Oceanic Southeast Asia.
  • It’s a popular oil used for scented candles and perfumes.
  • This oil may help promote attentiveness and mental clarity. (16)
  • It may be more effective when used as a massage oil and placed in your diffuser.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Safe during pregnancy
  • Safe with children 6+ months old
  • May react with certain drugs; consult your doctor before use

 

Sage Oil

  • This oil may improve memory function, cognitive performance, and mood. (4)
  • These improvements might be attributed to 1,8-cineole and other aromatic compounds in this oil. (16)
  • It can also help you start alert and calm. (17)
  • You can use this EO to massage your feet. It may work better when used with reflexology.

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Unsafe for use during pregnancy
  • Use only for children 6+ years old
  • Not to be used by people with epilepsy
  • Not to be used by people with high blood pressure
  • Should only be used for short periods

 

Clove Oil

  • This oil may help reverse long-term and short-term memory issues. (9)(18)
  • This oil has antioxidant properties that can help fight oxidative stress (imbalance of antioxidants and harmful free radicals). (9)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Unsafe for pregnancy
  • Safe for children 2+ years old

 

Black Pepper Essential Oil

  • A well-known spice, essential oil from black pepper, may help enhance memory. (19)
  • This oil might increase neurotransmitter activity in your brain. (19)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin sensitization if exposed to sunlight
  • Safe for use during pregnancy
  • Safe for use with children 2+ years old

 

Juniper Berry Oil

  • Research shows that juniper berry oil may enhance your working memory. (20)
  • This oil might be a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and other chronic neurological disorders. (9)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • May cause skin sensitization if exposed to sunlight
  • Safe for use during pregnancy
  • Safe for use with children 2+ years old

 

Cedarwood Oil

  • This oil may help slow down the progress of neurodegenerative diseases (neurons can lose their function). (21)
  • It might also help with neuropsychological disorders. (21)
  • This oil can also help you focus. (21)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Don’t use it if you have epilepsy
  • It’s safe for use during pregnancy
  • It’s safe for use with children 6+ months old

 

Pine Oil

  • This oil may help improve brain function. (21)
  • This oil has antioxidant properties that might protect your brain against harmful free radicals (harmful, unstable molecules). (21)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • Don’t use it if you have epilepsy
  • It’s safe for use in pregnancy
  • It’s safe for use with children 6+ months old

 

Lemongrass Oil

  • This uplifting oil may help change your mood and make you feel happy. (4)
  • It can boost circulation and improve memory. (22)

 

Safety & Caution:

  • It’s potentially teratogenic (can disrupt a baby’s development in the womb)
  • Unsafe to use during pregnancy
  • Safe to use in children 2+ years old
  • Keep away from pets

 

Benefits Of Essential Oils 

Aromatherapy Benefits For Memory

  • Studies show that inhaling aromatic oils such as ylang-ylang, rosemary, and lemon balm can trigger your brain to focus on the tasks you’re doing. (1)(4)
  • These oils may help in higher cognitive processing and better memory retention. (9)
  • That’s why memories accompanied by scents are easier to store and remember. (9)

 

How Essential Oils Impact Memory

  • Scents can trigger memories and have an impact on memory. 
  • Odor receptor neurons signal the release of neurotransmitters (the brain’s chemical messengers) that affect memory and emotions. (21)
  • These neurotransmitters may also help you focus. (6)
  • Essential oils may help increase ACh (acetylcholine), a neurotransmitter responsible for encoding new memories into your brain. (6)

 

Low levels of ACh can lead to long-term memory loss and conditions that may include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Memory disorder
  • Mild cognitive impairment

 

How Essential Oils Can Help with Productivity

  • Certain essential oils may help you stay alert so you won’t feel sleepy at work.
  • These essential oils may also help you stay focused. (6)
  • Scent plays a big role in memories, so you may remember more details about your tasks by using EOs while you’re working. (9)

 

Essential Oils & Dementia

  • These oils may help ease brain fog and anxiety. (6)
  • EOs may provide relief for depression. (6)
  • These oils may help improve the quality of life of dementia patients. (6)

 

How To Use Essential Oils

The following are the common ways of using essential oil blends:

  • Direct inhalation using an individual steam inhaler
  • Indirect inhalation using a room diffuser or spraying the EOs on bed sheets and pillows
  • As a massage oil diluted with a carrier oil and applied to your skin
  • In your bathwater

 

Essential Oil Best Practices: Safety & Precautions

These EOs are not regulated by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration). But you can stay safe by following these precautions:

  • Always use a carrier oil, especially for topical applications.
  • Always do a patch test before putting essential oil blends on your skin.
  • Only buy 100% pure essential oils from a reputable source.
  • Never drink essential oils unless you got one that’s formulated for drinking.
  • Citrus oils can cause light sensitivity. So, if you’re using citrus oils on your skin, don’t expose your skin to the sun.
  • It’s best to consult your wellness or healthcare provider before using essential oils, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • If you have kids at home, be extra careful with essential oils.
  • Talk with your child’s pediatrician if you’re planning on using essential oils with your child.
  • You should also be careful in using EOs if you have cats or dogs in the house.

 

DIY Memory-Boosting Blend

You can mix and match EOs to create your essential oil blends at home. 

You can also try this DIY memory-boosting blend:

  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of black pepper essential oil
  • 3 drops of royal Hawaiian sandalwood essential oil
  • 1 tbsp jojoba oil

 

This blend can help you stay focused:

  • 2 drops of rosemary essential oil  
  • 2 drops of peppermint essential oil  
  • 2 drops of cedarwood essential oil  
  • 2 drops of lemon essential oil 
  • 1 tbsp jojoba oil

 

Inhaler blend:

  • 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops of spearmint essential oil
  • 3 drops of frankincense essential oil
  • 3 drops of cedarwood essential oil

 

You can opt to add more drops of essential oils or choose other EOs for your blends. But make sure to dilute with a carrier oil and do a patch test before any topical application.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090506816301944

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5694587/

(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20377818/

(4) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ptr.6854

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736918/

(6) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103722/

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871149/

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447774/

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5543433/

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253463/

(12) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27527000/

(13) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21479965/

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029680/

(15) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14765284/

(16) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12895683/

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318325/

(18) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21157682/

(19) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286875042_In_vitro_biological_activities_of_black_pepper_essential_oil_and_its_major_components_relevant_to_the_prevention_of_Alzheimer’s_disease

(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6726717/

(21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246407/

(22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198031/

 

 

 

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