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12 Best Essential Oils to Beat Brain Fog & Boost Focus

brain fog Mar 13, 2023
Diffuser on table diffusing essential oils for brain fog into the room.

Looking for natural ways to reduce stress, improve your focus, and beat brain fog? Essential oils have been used for centuries to improve mental clarity and boost energy levels. In this article, well explore 12 essential oils that can help you beat the brain fog.


What is Brain Fog?

Brain fog is a term used to describe the feeling of mental fatigue, sluggish thinking, and lack of focus. It can be caused by stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, or chronic illness. 

Common symptoms of brain fog include difficulty concentrating, poor recall and memory problems, feeling overwhelmed, and persistent exhaustion.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated plant compounds that contain medicinal properties. They are used as aromatherapy, or an alternative medicine that has been used for centuries to improve mental focus, health, and brain function.

Common conditions in which essential oils have been used include:


How Essential Oils Help Cognitive Function

It's no secret that smell and memory are intricately tied together. You know those moments when a smell triggers a sudden memory? It happens when you catch a whiff of something familiar, like the scent of a fresh cut Frasier fir tree around the holidays, mom's homemade chicken soup, or the smell of a newborn baby and it takes you back in time.

Using essential oils to stimulate focus and memory is yet another way your senses can support you. Essential oils are natural and powerful substances that have been used for ages to improve mental clarity and focus. Many essential oils have calming and energizing properties that can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and boost energy levels.

Let’s discuss which oils are the best for brain fog.


12 Best Essential Oils to Beat Brain Fog and Improve Mental Performance


1. Rosemary oil

Rosemary essential oils has an earthy and woodsy scent. Rosemary helps improve memory function, boosts alertness, energy and focus. The effect of rosemary on cognitive function has been compared to a powerful stimulant that improves your concentration and cognitive performance.

2. Peppermint oil 

Peppermint oil is a popular oil known for its ability to improve mental clarity and focus, boost memory retention and alertness.

In this recent study, peppermint oil with high concentration of menthol improved performance on demanding cognitive tasks in healthy adults. It also reduced the level of mental fatigue that would typically accompany extended cognitive testing.

Adding a few drops of skin safe peppermint oil to pulse points or the back of the neck has also been shown to combat headaches.

3. Lemon oil 

Lemon is a popular scent in cleaning products for good reason. Citrus oils are uplifting to your mind and mood. The refreshing fragrance of lemon essential oil can reduce stress and boost your mood and focus. Sweet orange oil has a similar effect.

4. Lavender oil

The scent of lavender essential oil is calming for your nervous system. Diffusing lavender oil has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, even during cognitively demanding tasks.

In addition, lavender oil has been used to treat anxiety. In this study, lavender oil was administered against a placebo group to individuals with generalized anxiety disorder and it was found to ameliorate symptoms of anxiety comparable to prescription medication Lorazepam.

Keep this one on hand for stressful days!

5. Bergamot oil

Bergamot oil has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is known for its ability to reduce stress and tension, improve moods, and promote relaxation.

6. Clary Sage oil 

Clary sage oil, derived from the clary sage plant, has a sweet, nutty, and herbal scent, and is often used in aromatherapy. Clary sage oil is known for its calming, uplifting, and energizing properties. 

It is believed to help reduce stress and tension, improve moods, and boost energy levels. It is also known for its ability to help hormone imbalances and clear mental confusion, making this a great oil for women with menopause induced brain fog.

7. Frankincense oil

Frankincense essential oil is extracted from the Boswellia tree. This great oil has been used for centuries. It has been shown to improve concentration, focus, and short-term memory function, even in individual with dementia.

8. Ylang ylang oil

Ylang ylang oil, derived from the flowers of the ylang ylang tree, has a sweet, floral aroma and is often used in aromatherapy. 

It is known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and promote relaxation. However, due to it’s calming effect, studies demonstrate that Ylang Ylang can lengthen processing speed and reaction time compared to peppermint oil, which enhanced memory and thinking skills.

9. Thyme oil 

Thyme oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the thyme plant. It has a warm herbal aroma and is often used in aromatherapy. 

Thyme oil is known for its ability to improve alertness and clarity of thought, reduce stress, and boost energy levels. It is also believed to help with respiratory issues and improve digestion. Thyme oil can be used in a variety of ways, including aromatherapy, massage, and topical applications.

10. Vetiver oil

Vetiver oil is an excellent choice for reducing stress and anxiety. Studies demonstrate that use of this oil has positive effects on the limbic system, which is responsible for experiencing emotions.  

Vetiver oil is also known to reduce inflammation throughout the body and brain which can lead to better cognitive function.

11. Basil oil

The smell of warm basil leaves growing in my garden on a summer day is my absolute favorite stress reliever. Basil essential oil concentrates this glorious scent, which has been shown to reduce mental fog, improve concentration, and boost energy levels.

12. Spearmint oil

Spearmint oil has a pleasant scent that can reduce stress levels and improve mental alertness.

Studies also indicate that spearmint extract may be a beneficial nutritional aid for cognitive function in older adults, as it was shown to improve working memory in adults with age associated cognitive impairment.


How to Use Essential Oils for Brain Health

When choosing essential oils, be sure to do your research and pick high-quality, therapeutic- grade oils. Essential oils should be made with pure ingredients.

All the oils listed in this article can be found individually, while some may also appear in an essential oil blend.

To use these oils, fill a diffuser with water according to the directions and add 3-6 drops of oil. Some (not all) oils can be placed on the skin or in an Epsom salt bath. Be sure to check for safety before using products on your skin.


Final Thoughts

While essential oils aren't likely to cure your brain fog on their own, they can be a powerful tool in your toolbox to boost focus, mental clarity and memory.

Essential oils are a natural way to reduce stress, improve focus, clear brain fog and get an energy boost. If you’re looking for natural ways to beat stress and fuzzy thinking, try keeping these oils in your home and office.

*This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases when you purchase a product from a link in my blog post, at no additional cost to you.

Questions? Contact Francine Here

Meet the Coach

Hey there! I'm Francine, a speech-language pathologist turned memory health coach with a passion for helping you overcome your memory problems.

In my practice, I help women just like you trade memory problems for confidence and clarity everyday so you can think clearly and remember easily, without constant self-doubt weighing you down. 

If you're struggling with poor recall and foggy thinking, you're in the right place and I want to help you!


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