Can Aromatherapy Improve Memory?

Have you ever sniffed a fragrance and instantly been whisked away to a distant memory that had been repressed in the deep abyss of your mind? Such scents as lavender can remind men of when Aunt Betty used to tweak their cheeks and hug them tightly with the strong scent of lavender surrounding them from her perfumed hair and body.

Other smells can evoke pleasant memories such as the woodsy smells that remind you of childhood hikes or sun lotion smells that remind you of lazy summer days spent at the beach.

Studies on Essential Oils Say Yes

Certain scents relax you such as lavender and others stimulate you such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) unless of course you have a memory that stirs the opposite emotion in you. Essential oils have been the subject of many studies that explore the various scents and the response they conjure up in those who are being studied such as hospital patients, or dental patients.

These studies have also been used to discover if scent can have a role in memory recall when memory has been impaired. In one particular study participants given the rosemary scored significantly higher than those who received the lavender essential oil. Those given lavender were less alert. The results support the theories that lavender is calming and rosemary has a stimulating effect on individuals.

It has been found that some essential oils actually can temporarily improve lethargy or fatigue and that some essential oils have been shown to improve one’s concentration and level of mental alertness.

Lavender and Rosemary

There have been some studies using lavender and rosemary where study participants were tested on a cognitive level to see is essential oils such as sage could improve word-recall on tests given to the participants where one group was given the essential oil sage and the other a placebo. Those participants who received the essential oil sage scored significantly better than the group receiving the placebo.

Certain essential oils have been studied and found to be able to clear the mind and improve upon test scores as well as to improve upon writing skills and to increase productivity such as frankincense, peppermint, and rosemary.

At about this point, you are wondering how exactly, does essential oils have the power to influence the brain in such a way as to improve mental clarity, alertness and abilities?

The essential oils mentioned above nourish your body’s systems when they carry oxygen and other nutrients to the cells of the body such as when essential oils are inhaled or absorbed by the skin cells. There are both large and small compounds contained in the essential oils themselves.

These molecules cross over into the blood and are carried to the brain. Essential oils cleanse toxins and remove heavy metals leaving cells that are better able to function without these dangerous substances. Essential oils also trigger certain areas of the brain that control emotions, can effect pleasure and evoke memory. Essential oils have been used in therapy to release tension, relieve stress and release fears. Students who use aromatherapy can improve fact recall.