Best Essential Oils for Focus

More focus—pun intended—has recently been put on using essential oils for memory and concentration. Since 3500 BCE, ancient civilizations have used essential oils in aromatherapy, though the process has evolved drastically. We now know oils can be broken down into their constituents, each with different properties.

As more people turn to natural alternatives, we’ve been inundated with people looking for the best essential oils for focus, the best essential oils for anxiety, and even the best essential oils to improve memory.

As research continues to advance, we are seeing more studies looking into the effects of essential oils. We’ve gone and researched for you, finding the top 5 best essential oils for focus, memory, and concentration.

Brain Fog: Symptoms

Brain fog is usually characterized by forgetfulness, lack of focus, and confusion. 

What Causes Brain Fog?

For many, brain fog can be a symptom of everyday life. Too much stress, long hours at work, and too little sleep. Too many hours in front of a screen can often cause brain fog. This might be because you have been overstimulated, or equally that screens put out positive ions into the atmosphere. These can make some people feel quite fuzzy and confused.

For some, it may be a symptom of something more distressing.

Many women complain of brain fog during the hormonal changes taking place during menopause. Again, brain fog can be a symptom of the early neurological changes that take place in dementia. Thyroid imbalance can also masquerade as either of these through its brain fog.

Some psychiatric conditions such as depression and schizophrenia also present as mental clarity changes.

Since that is a very scary list, if you are not feeling any changes from using some of the oils on our list after about two weeks, it might be worth having a chat with your physician, so they can do some bloodwork to put your mind at ease. . 

Natural Mental Aid With Essential Oils

Essential oils can help on several levels. Reducing stress and allowing the mind to slow and rest, oils that you would not necessarily think of as the best essential oils for focus may be the most helpful for calming the mind.

Oils such as vetiver, chamomile, lavender, and valerian still allow your thoughts to concentrate on your work and help you sleep.

Also Read: How does Stress Affect the Body?

How Do Essential Oils Help with Focus & Concentration?

Our sense of smell interacts directly with a part of our brain known as the limbic system. This ancient and highly evolved structure deals with emotion, mood, learning, and memory.

What Essential Oils are Best for Concentration and Focus

1. Rosemary Essential Oil

If you are trying to find the best essential oils for focus, rosemary should be number one on your list. Numerous studies show rosemary essential oil to be an effective way to stimulate the brain and increase alertness.

Another study looked at the differing effects of lavender and rosemary on the brain. They found students who were subject to the aromas of rosemary were able to memorize numbers more efficiently, while the lavender group of students found their memory weakened.

Further research supports rosemary as one of the best essential oils for focus, showing that it can increase concentration, speed, and accuracy. For all these reasons, we consider rosemary one of the best essential oils for focus and memory.

To sum it up, if you have a crushing deadline or a project to finish, you may benefit from rosemary essential oil. Studies show the best way to achieve the effect is through inhalation, which we will discuss in further detail.

Safety: Rosemary has a profound effect on the brain and can be problematic for some people with epilepsy and people with schizophrenia. We would suggest avoiding this oil if either of these applies unless you have the support of a qualified aromatherapist. Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

2. Spearmint Essential Oil

Rosmarinic acid is a polyphenolic compound that is present in spearmint. Evidence strongly indicates rosmarinic acid may be an effective way to treat Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as possibly dementia and Parkinson’s.

Studies also show spearmint may be one of the best essential oils for energy and focus, which makes it a perfect addition to our list! Place a few drops of spearmint oil in your diffuser, or even inhale directly from the bottle for a burst of mental clarity.

Spearmint is a great choice for people who find peppermint too aggressive.

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Also Read: Essential Oils for Postpartum Depression

3. Lemon Essential Oil

Third on our list of the best essential oils for focus is lemon essential oil. We love its fresh, citrusy scent and its components show indications of being effective in treating dementia. Furthermore, a university in Turkey also ran an experiment whose results indicate lemon oil may lead to improved achievements in the study.

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

4. Peppermint Essential Oil

If you are looking for essential oils for focus and memory, peppermint oil may deserve a spot on your shelf. A study comparing peppermint and ylang-ylang essential oils concluded that peppermint enhances memory, whereas ylang-ylang seems to impair it. (Moss, 2008)

Anecdotal evidence shows peppermint essential oil to be a favorite for increasing mental alertness, and it looks like the research might just back it up. If you’re searching for essential oils to help focus, peppermint oil seems like a solid choice.

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

5. Marjoram Essential Oil

Marjoram is native to the Mediterranean area and is a perennial plant. You will often see it on your plate as a garnish, and it is common in the use of traditional medicines.

Studies on rats involving marjoram essential oil found them to have improved cognitive function after inhaling this oil for 21-days. (Postu, 2020)  While much more research is necessary, these preliminary results are enough to earn marjoram a slot on our list of the best essential oils for focus.

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Sleep

DIY Essential Oil blends for Focus and Concentration

So, we are starting to understand what some of the best essential oils for focus might be. Let’s see if we can begin to put that to practical use.

Clear Head

While essential oils don’t have essential oils; they do have many effects. Therefore, blends will often do more than one thing. I like how this one also seems to help with headaches. Put this into a rollerball bottle and carry it in your handbag. 

Method of Use: Rub onto the temple, back of the neck and forehead. It’s also nice to put a bit on your hands and inhale it. Wash your hands before using the computer, though. Oil on the keyboard is never good! 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy 

The Best Essential Oils for Focus: How to Use Them

When using essential oils, it is crucial to know how to use them correctly. This will help you prevent the occurrence of adverse reactions. Due to their potency, essential oils can be particularly irritable to the skin if you don’t first dilute them.

In addition, be sure to keep essential oils away from curious pets, who may have stronger reactions than humans. The following are a few ways to safely reap the benefits of our best essential oils for focus and memory.

Topical Application

Refers to applying oils to the skin and different joints of the body. As most essential oils are very potent, you need to dilute them with a carrier oil to soften or neutralize their side effects.

If you wish to apply essential oils topically, it’s best to do a test patch 24 hours prior. If your skin shows no signs of irritation, you can go ahead with topical use. One popular way to apply an essential oil topically is to add it to massage oil and rub it directly into the skin.

Additional options include adding a couple of drops to the bath or favored products such as lotions and creams.


The safest and quickest way to achieve the benefits of essential oils is to inhale them. You can use various methods, but the most popular ones are:

    • Sniff directly from the bottle 
    • Add to a vaporizer
    • Reeds
    • Add a few drops to a handkerchief for easy access
    • Essential oil candles
    • Room spray

Also Read: What are the Best Essential Oils for Insomnia?

Potential Risks & Safety Concerns of Essential Oils for Focus

In particular, rosemary essential oil can be problematic for people with epilepsy, high blood pressure, or who suffer from any psychotic condition.

In all of these cases, it would make sense to use calming oils to quieten the mind rather than ones that make thoughts louder and more acute. 

Other Ways to Improve Your Focus

In all cases, quieting the mind will help. Reduce caffeine and energy drinks, get more sleep and consider taking Epsom salts baths. Epsom salts are a skin-absorbed magnesium supplement that supports the body’s natural processes of rest and restoration.

Wrapping Up

Now, you know a little more about the best essential oils for focus and memory and a few oils that can decrease cognitive function. When using essential oils, use care and caution, and remember, less is more.

If unsure, always consult a doctor or holistic health therapist, and never ingest any essential oils. If any irritation or discomfort occurs, it is best to stop use immediately.

Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Depression


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