The month of September is all about back-to-school, so this month we've been talking about herbs that support mental focus and brain health. We all want to be on top of our game, but when we're stressed or anxious, mental performance takes a nosedive. Fortunately, aromatherapy using pure plant essential oils is a simple way to not just reduce stress, but also boost our mental powers.
Simply inhaling certain essential oils can have a profound effect on our ability to concentrate. That might sound too good to be true, but I found three scientific studies that showed a dramatic reduction in both test-taking and job-related stress.
In the first study, graduate nursing students were given lavender and rosemary essential oil sachets before a test. Students that received the aromatherapy sachets had lower pulse rates and lower anxiety measure scores afterward.
In a very similar experiment, a different group of nursing students were given aroma lamps with lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and clary sage. Their results were compared to students that received no aroma lamp. According to this study, the students with the aroma lamps had less signs of physical and psychological stress.
Finally, a group of nurses working in an intensive care unit were given lavender and clary sage essential oils to apply topically (side note: dilute the pure essential oils in a carrier oil such as coconut or almond before applying to the skin.) The nurses who applied the essential oils had less perceived stress after three twelve hour shifts than those who didn't use any essential oils.
Besides lavender, rosemary and clary sage oils, there are many other essential oils that can help with concentration and focus. Vetiver essential oil has a deep, rich aroma that is immediately grounding and calming.
Another essential oil with a proven ability to enhance focus, concentration, and overall productivity is lemon essential oil. Researchers in Japan diffused lemon oil into an office environment, and, according to the study, there was a dramatic reduction in workplace errors. Inhaling lemon oil is believed to help with memory, and provides a natural lift to the mood and emotions.
If you have a big test coming up or are starting to feel the crunch from deadlines at work, try any of these essential oils. Apply a drop to the palms, rub your palms together, inhale, and relax.
Do you have any tried and true methods of staying focused? Share in the comments below!
If you're interested in looking at any of the above referenced studies, here they are.