Essential oils to boost your mood
Aside from smelling wonderful and fragrant, essential oils have many beneficial properties. One of the most profound effects is on our mood, with many studies showing that essential oils have the power to uplift and balance our emotions and even affect our cognitive performance.
Rosemary essential oil is an incredibly versatile oil with many ancient cultures using it to treat maladies and stimulate the mind. In recent years, studies have been conducted to better understand rosemary’s effect on the brain with promising results. A study done by researchers from Northumbria University in the UK found that the main active compound of rosemary essential oil, 1,8-cineole, has a direct effect on cognitive performance. The study included 20 volunteers who were exposed to different levels of the essential oil and then made to do a speed, accuracy and mood test. The researchers specifically looked at the amount of 1,8-cineole found in the blood and referenced them with the individual volunteers test scores. What the study found was the higher concentration of 1,8-cineole in the blood, the better the performance. They also found that the essential oil had an effect on the overall mood of the participants, with those exposed to a higher concentration reporting an increase in mental clarity and calm.
Like most citrus essential oils, lemon tea tree has been used traditionally for its invigorating, uplifting effect. The oil has been shown to reduce stress levels and even heart rate when inhaled. Studies done in 2012 looked at a major compound in lemon tea tree oil - citronellal and its effect on human physiology. Volunteers were exposed to citronellal vapour and then studied based on the response of their nervous systems, in particular their heart rate and blood pressure. The findings were measured against a control group who had not been exposed to the vapour. The study found that citronellal significantly decreased heart rate and blood pressure in the subjects who were exposed to it and they even reported feeling fresher and clearer.
One of the most common essential oils comes from lavender. It is well known for its sedative effects and is commonly found in many different products that promote relaxation from face masks to pillow sprays. Yet, lavender essential oil can also be used to boost focus. While it sounds counter-intuitive, a Japanese study done in 2005 found that lavender essential oil can boost productivity if it is used during breaks, rather than work periods. The study included 36 participants who were divided into 3 groups. One group was a control with no aroma inhaled, the second was exposed to jasmine essential oil and the third lavender essential oil. All groups were made to work on computer monitors for 5 study periods, each 60 minutes long with a 30 minute rest period in between. The essential oils were then diffused during the breaks. What the study found was that the lavender essential oil group had significantly higher concentration levels than any other group. It was concluded that this is because lavender essential oil helps to relieve accumulated stress during work periods and therefore reinvigorated the mind, preparing it for more work.
Not only do they smell incredible, the countless studies done on essential oils prove that they have powerful properties that alleviate stress and boost mental clarity and mood. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!