Essential oils, when inhaled or applied to the skin, bring important antioxidant substances from the terpene family that, once they enter the blood flow, reach the brain where they can carry out their beneficial action. What is interesting is that essential oils can be helpful at all ages, both for improving memory and concentration in case of students or people who carry out intellectual activity and for limiting cognitive impairment in older people. Not all essential oils are equally beneficial, so let's see which essences can help and in which cases.
Essential oils for students and for those engaged in intellectual activity
Some essential oils have been shown to improve cognitive performance, memory and concentration. Rosemary essential oil has proved to be one of the best at supporting the work of the brain. In fact, as evidenced by scientific research, inhaling rosemary essential oil spread in the room has made the mind more active and receptive and improved memory (Moss et al, Int J Neurosci, 2003). Peppermint essential oil has also been shown to be useful in improving cognitive performance and reducing the sense of mental fatigue following intellectual work (Kennedy et al, Nutrients, 2018).
Essential oils and Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease and current medical treatment involves the use of drugs capable of inhibiting enzymes involved in the development of this disease, such as acetylcholinesterase, responsible for the degradation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Several studies (Agatonovic-Kustrin et al, Neural Regen Res, 2019 - Ayaz et al, Front Aging Neurosci, 2017) have observed that some essential oils are able to act by inhibiting the cholinesterase enzymes and are therefore useful in case of Alzheimer's. However, in any case, it should be emphasized that these essential oils can represent an extra help but do not represent a cure. For example, the essential oil of thyme, thanks to its active ingredients such as thymol, carvacrol and linalool, is able to inhibit aceticolinesterase as observed in vitro, while the essential oil of Spanish sage, scientific name salvia lavandulifolia, has shown to inhibit this enzyme both in vitro and in vivo. Salvia officinalis, which is the most commonly sage essential oil found on the market, thanks to its content in rosmarinic acid, is able to counteract the toxicity of beta amyloid aggregates that characterize Alzheimer's disease and that damage neurons. Lavender is also able to act against aceticolinesterase.