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Essential oils and aromatic herbs for the health of the brain

December 16, 2019
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Essential oils and aromatic herbs for the health of the brain

In the last years several scientific studies have focused their attention on the possible remedies to heal or at least stem the degenerative illness of Alzheimer. This illness is characterized by deposits in the brain of particular proteins called beta amyloid and by high values of acetylcholinesterase, that indicate alterations in the brain synapsis and a decrease of neurotransmitters. Recent researches have instead highlighted that some essential oils and aromatic herbs of the mint family, or Labiatae, have a protective action on the brain. This is the result of a work published a few months ago by a team of Russian and Australian scientists on the journal Neural Regeneration Research (Agatonovic-Kustrin et al, 2019).

The scientists have observed that the inhalation of a beneficial blend given by the essential oils of chamomile, marjoram, lavender and rosemary may help soothe the anxiety that is often liked to Alzheimer. But the benefits of herbs and essential oils don’t stop there, indeed, according to a study, thyme essential oil contains substances called monoterpenes such as thymol, linalool and carvacrol, that play a role in inhibiting acetylcholinesterase with a protective effect against Alzheimer. This action was also observed with the use of the essential oil of Spanish sage, scientific name Salvia lavandulaefolia, and of lavender. For what concerns the aromatic herbs, the plants of the Lamiacae or Labiateae family such as peppermint, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, thyme and lavender, both in the fresh form and dry powder, have shown a neuroprotective action. In particular, sage, thanks to its content in rosmarinic acid, contributes to protect from the neurological damages induced by beta amyloid proteins, by the free radicals and DNA mutations. The scientists concluded that eating every day herbs containing rosmarinic acids, such as the plants listed above, may protect from dementia. Rosmarinic acid inhibits indeed the deposit of amyloid beta proteins.

Here is another proof that the dietary choices and lifestyles may have an impact on health, not just of the body but also of the brain. The study suggests also that, to get an even more powerful protection on the brain and a higher stimulation of memory, it is possible to exploit the synergy between aromatherapy and diet. For this reason, a good choice may be not only to serve every day aromatic herbs but also to use the proposed essential oils. The essential oils may be diffused in the room or applied with massages, indeed, the terpenes, the substances that determine their beneficial effect, enter the body both through inhalation and skin absorption.

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