Whether you’re studying for exams or trying to keep better track of your work in the office, essential oils can enhance your memorisation and recall abilities.
Memory is an important tool that sometimes works better than others. It can often falter at crucial moments or fail us altogether when we need it most. Whilst essential oils can’t suddenly supercharge your memory, they can give it a helpful boost, and make sure your physiology is correctly set for effective memorisation. Here are our favourite essential oils for improving memory.
The refreshing citrussy scent of bergamot can increase alertness – a crucial factor in memorisation. It has also been shown to enhance the levels of amino acid neurotransmitters in the hippocampus. Amino acid neurotransmitters are critical in the formation, organisation and storage of new memories, and increased levels can allow our memories to function more effectively. Inhaling bergamot oil can give us the tools to recall large amounts of information.
Another citrus oil, lemon can provide a similar boost to attention. A study in 2005 found that lemon oil was able to increase alertness and focus in students. Attention is one of the most important parts in the memorisation process – we are not able to remember something if we don’t pay proper attention when we are first exposed to it. A lack of attention prevents the information from entering our short-term memory and we are then not able to access it when we need it. Diffusing lemon oil can help to prevent this problem by giving us the ability to pay attention effectively.
Rosemary has ancient ties to the concept of memory. The herb was once worn by Greek scholars in exams, as it was believed that it enhanced their memory. This association is more than just a superstition, however – there is scientific evidence to support it. A study in 2017 found that rosemary oil had a significant positive impact on alertness and quality of memory.
Sugary spearmint is known to increase alertness and is thought to improve memory, particularly in adults. Unlike stimulating peppermint, however, it also has a calming effect. A simultaneous state of alertness and calm is the ideal condition under which to memorise information. Inhaling spearmint oil can help to create these conditions and prepare our memories to store information effectively.
Inhaling these oils periodically whilst studying can help memory.
The ancient Greeks and Romans considered melissa oil highly beneficial for memory. A study in 2013 supported this association when it found that melissa essential oil was able to provide a general boost to cognition, enhancing memory among other cognitive processes. The same study also found that the oil could reduce stress, a common barrier to memory.
Grapefruit oil is known to be beneficial for relieving ‘brain fog’, an unpleasant experience during which we often struggle to remember facts and information. A study in 2001 found that grapefruit oil is able to increase the level and duration of neurotransmitter action, which in turn increases alertness and clarity of thought. This helps to lift brain fog and lets our memory work unencumbered.
Petitgrain oil is able to boost our cognition in a number of ways. A study in 2016 showed that petitgrain could significantly improve performance in the workplace and increase productivity, in which memory plays an important role. Petitgrain is thought to have a balancing effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, decreasing stress and increasing alertness. This sets our physiology correctly so that we can memorise information to the best of our abilities.
Essential oils have different effects on different minds, and it may take some experimenting to find the memory aid that works best for you. You may even find that these oils work best in combination with each other. If you’re not sure where to start, reach for our Memory Pure Essential Oil Blend, a memorable combination of bergamot, lemon, rosemary and spearmint that will give your brain a boost.
Shop it here.