Aromatherapy Can Improve Memory

Do you think of your childhood when you smell turkey and pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving? What about the smell of your grandmother as she makes cookies at Christmas? The same warm and comforting feelings you get from these nostalgic smells applies to increasing memory and helping you to remember things.

Aroma-memory associations have been proven to be powerful and long lasting, but can a scent actually improve your ability to recall? An abundance of research has indicated that it can, and that some smells can do more than just enhance memory. Why then would you not want to take advantage of this easy and natural memory improvement tip to improve yours?

Researchers ask participants in their study to compare their scores on cognitive assessment test as they were exposed to either lavender, rosemary or given no scent at all. Participants exposed to the lavender actually showed a decrease in memory performance and were less alert, while those exposed to the scent of rosemary showed enhanced memory function compared to those who were given no scent.

What was interesting is that the scented groups, lavender and rosemary, were slower in their recall of memory, compared to those with no scent exposure. This supports the traditional use of lavender as a more calming essential oil, and rosemary as a more invigorating and mentally stimulating essential oil.

The scent of rosemary has been proven time and again to be one of the biggest mental stimulators, along with sage, basil, bay laurel, peppermint and eucalyptus.   These spices have been proven to stimulate the brain cells connectivity, increase memory and improve concentration. Rosemary is being used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in many nursing homes to improve memory as well as regulate and balance blood pressure.

Another study also used lavender and rosemary to evaluate alertness and mood. Participants were attached to an EEG scanner and evaluated after three minutes of inhaling one of the scents. The lavender group felt calm, relaxed and less depressed. Their EEG activity showed an increase in drowsiness. Those in the rosemary aromatherapy group also felt more relaxed and showed less anxiety.

Participants in this study also were given a math computation test before and after aromatherapy. Those in the rosemary group did their test quicker and more accurately than those in the lavender group.

Exposed to a blend of the essential oils brandy mint, lavender and anise, flight controllers in a 1983 study who had worked a full and busy shift showed a significant decrease in feeling of fatigue. Those exposed to the oils also showed no indication of change in their cerebral circulation that would indicate fatigue, while those in the control group who did not have essential exposure did show signs of fatigue.

Another test group was given sage, a traditional memory enhancer, internally – through two essential oil-filled capsules. The young volunteers participating in the study either received the two capsules, or a placebo. Those who took the sage capsules performed significantly better on word-recall tests.

Other memory enhancing oils worth mentioning includes: ginger, lemon, grapefruit, thyme, black pepper and coriander. Calming oils other than lavender are jasmine, rose and neroli.

Essential oils are concentrated smells that should be used in small amounts, and moderation. Elderly and children should use ½ the strength of the average person. Those with serious illness should consult their physician before starting an aromatherapy regime.

To prove it to yourself, try this experiment. While studying for a test or preparing for a presentation, smell some essential oil from rosemary, sage or basil. While you are taking the test take another whiff from a handkerchief dabbed in the oils. See for yourself if you feel as if you have done better than you would have without the scents.

Here are a couple essential oil blends that help relieve the fog of confusion and clear your mind, aiding in memory enhancement:

Confusion Blend

  •  5 drops black pepper oil
  • 4   drops ginger oil
  • 8 drops grapefruit oil
  • 5 drops helichrysum
  • 7 drops basil

Mix these in an amber bottle and apply a drop or two to a cotton ball and attach to the collar or lapel. Apply once daily. A diffuser can also be used.

Concentration Blend

  • 20 drops lemon oil
  • 6 drops basil
  • 2 drops rosemary

Mix oils and place in diffuser to put into the air.

 Memory Training

About the author:

Ron White is a two-time USA Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life.


Science Channel: Which Essential Oil Can Help Improve Your Memory?

Wavelength Natural Health: Essential Oils May Aid Memory Recall, Concentration, & Alertness:

Birch Hill Happenings: Helping Memory Loss with Essential Oils:

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