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Makes Scents (sense) – Memory boost

Inhaling a pleasant aroma during sleep has been linked to a “dramatic” improvement in memory, early research suggests.

In a small, randomized control trial, researchers found that when cognitively normal adults (60 to 85 years old) were exposed to the scent of an essential oil – via a diffuser for 2 hours every night over 6 months – they experienced a 226% improvement in memory compared with a control group who received only a trace amount of the diffused scent.

In addition, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that those in the enriched group had improved functioning of the left uncinate fasciculus – an area of the brain linked to memory and cognition – which typically declines with age.

Lavender & TBalm photo blog

The intervention group was exposed to a single odorant for 2 hours nightly, rotating through seven pleasant aromas each week. They included rose, orange, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender scents.

It’s exciting to see research backing up the ancient wisdom about “rosemary for remembrance”.

If you want to try this simple, enjoyable memory improver, it’s best to use unadulterated pure essential oils rather than the synthetic aromas available at a cheaper price.

Lifestyle factors such as a Mediterranean style diet, enough sleep, social connection, appropriate exercise, attitude like ‘tragic optimism’, herbal medicines and supplements all contribute to enhanced memory and cognition as well.

Check with your local Naturopath for the latest research which may help you with your individual needs, age well.


These 100% essential oils are often used to enhance sleep. Perhaps this aids in facilitating the enhanced memory associated with exposure to these aromas. A few drops can be dabbed neat on your pillow or diluted in oil or moisturiser and applied to your skin.

(My patients and customers love to use Jen’s Skin Magik Moisturiser which I make in small batches to keep fresh.)

Make sure you trial any new essential oils or product on a small patch of sensitive skin like the inside of your wrist or elbow to make sure there is no obvious irritation. Some people are just more sensitive to oils than other people.

Keep essential oils away from your eyes and mouth. Generally essential oils are about 70 times more concentrated than the plants from which they are extracted – so treat them with respect.

Consult your Naturopath to determine the most appropriate blend to enhance your health and well being and improve your memory and sleep.

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