Research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience had found that while Lavender essential oil can be marvelous for inducing a sense of relaxation and calm in those inhaling it… it is detrimental when it came to memory retention, speed of accomplishing mental tasks and reaction times.
The Clinical Study
You see the researchers divided their 144 test subjects into 3 groups. Each group was given the same set of memory and cognitive tests to undertake under exam like conditions in separate cubicles. They were instructed that the tests were being given to to develop a baseline for future tests. Unbeknown to them one group was exposed to Lavender Essential Oil in their cubicles, another Rosemary Essential Oil ad the third group had no essential oils diffused into their cubicles.
And the results were very interesting.
As we saw above the Lavender Oil Group had a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention based tasks than the control group.
The Rosemary Group had markedly ” improved enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors” It was noted that the this group was also a little slower at the time it took to recall memory but that the quality of the memory was significantly improved over both the control and the lavender group.
When it came to mood then both the Lavender and Rosemary Groups easily outperformed the Control Group.
So what does this mean in our day to day life?
- DON’T USE Lavender Oil when studying you’ll be too relaxed and you’ll have a harder time retaining your learnings
Lavender is best reserved for times when you want to relax
- DO USE Rosemary Oil when studying to help remember your material later
- DO USE either oil to uplift and improve your mood.
*This research was published in the International Journal of Neuroscience 2003 Jan;113(1):15-38.
Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults.
Moss M1, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P.